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Hidden American Woodcocks

Posted on Mar 8, 2015

March is the month for the American Woodcock (Scolopax minor) as the species heads north to (hopefully) unfrozen earth, with males arriving as quickly as they can to set up on the best territory for their legendary display flights.

American Woodcock leaf litter hidden January-025

This year’s polar lock on the region may slow them down as feeding will be very difficult, if not impossible, for another week or two at least. Open fields and meadows adjacent to wetlands, marshes and scrubby/shrubby lands are good places to wait for their evening aerial dances later in the month. I photographed these two birds in the early winter, long before snow covered the landscape.

American Woodcock leaf litter hidden January-037

Their forest floor/leaf litter camouflage is spectacular, and those enormous eyes are perfectly situated on their head to keep an eye on predators like myself wandering around the woodlands. If you have any wet areas or warm springs that are unfrozen right now or usually thaw out early you should watch for woodcock!

Scott Kruitbosch
Conservation & Outreach Coordinator