Presented by Willistown Conservation Trust

Woodcock Walk with Aaron

Registration is closed

About This Event

Aaron Coolman | Motus Technical Coordinator

Have you ever seen a bird dance? Many species engage in complex choreographies designed to impress a potential mate. The birds with the best moves are the ones chosen to pass along their genetic code, which is a strong motivator for these species to practice the historic rituals and put their best wing forward. The Birds Of Paradise in Papua New Guinea are famous for this behavior (you're welcome for the new YouTube rabbit hole). Laysan Albatross of the central Pacific and Hawai'ian Islands reaffirm life-long pair bonds with ancient movements that would make even Michael Jackson jealous. Sharp-tailed Grouse of the American Plains engage in multi-bird leks, where the males gather on a small stomping ground, all displaying their best breeding plumages and providing the smoothest footwork you have ever seen (complemented by testosterone-fueled fueds) while the females watch from outside the ring, lying in wait for the best fit bird.

Consider, though, the American Woodcock. A lumpy, dopey, long-billed, owl-eyed, leaf-litter camouflaged shorebird that breeds throughout eastern North America. Found in wetlands, meadows, and wet forests, this enigmatic character provides possibly the best example of a true "dancing bird" in the US and Canada, and certainly in the East. This crepuscular (active at dusk) resident begins its breeding process late in winter. As night approaches, the woodcock emerges to commence a brilliant sky-dance. Giving it's famous "peent" call from the ground, it furiously erupts into flight, gaining altitude further and further until finally- ..well, I guess you just have to be there to experience the ensuing magic.

Locations are to be determined, either at Ashbridge Preserve or Rushton Farm. These bird walks will start shortly before dusk, but we won't venture too far onto the trails. The walks should last approximately 45 minutes or less. I will be scouting the locations the night before the event and will notify those who have signed up via email, so be sure to check your inbox in the mornings to learn where we will be meeting that evening!

About This Event

Aaron Coolman | Motus Technical Coordinator

Have you ever seen a bird dance? Many species engage in complex choreographies designed to impress a potential mate. The birds with the best moves are the ones chosen to pass along their genetic code, which is a strong motivator for these species to practice the historic rituals and put their best wing forward. The Birds Of Paradise in Papua New Guinea are famous for this behavior (you're welcome for the new YouTube rabbit hole). Laysan Albatross of the central Pacific and Hawai'ian Islands reaffirm life-long pair bonds with ancient movements that would make even Michael Jackson jealous. Sharp-tailed Grouse of the American Plains engage in multi-bird leks, where the males gather on a small stomping ground, all displaying their best breeding plumages and providing the smoothest footwork you have ever seen (complemented by testosterone-fueled fueds) while the females watch from outside the ring, lying in wait for the best fit bird.

Consider, though, the American Woodcock. A lumpy, dopey, long-billed, owl-eyed, leaf-litter camouflaged shorebird that breeds throughout eastern North America. Found in wetlands, meadows, and wet forests, this enigmatic character provides possibly the best example of a true "dancing bird" in the US and Canada, and certainly in the East. This crepuscular (active at dusk) resident begins its breeding process late in winter. As night approaches, the woodcock emerges to commence a brilliant sky-dance. Giving it's famous "peent" call from the ground, it furiously erupts into flight, gaining altitude further and further until finally- ..well, I guess you just have to be there to experience the ensuing magic.

Locations are to be determined, either at Ashbridge Preserve or Rushton Farm. These bird walks will start shortly before dusk, but we won't venture too far onto the trails. The walks should last approximately 45 minutes or less. I will be scouting the locations the night before the event and will notify those who have signed up via email, so be sure to check your inbox in the mornings to learn where we will be meeting that evening!