Sunday, March 27, 2011

American Woodcocks

We went to a preserve with Junior Audubon Club to look for the American Woodcock. We wanted to see the American Woodcock doing its air and ground dance. The male does the dance to attract females. It was very freezing. The males don't care how cold it is, but they only do their dance almost at night. We saw the American Woodcock do its sky dance. It wasn't easy to see the whole time because it was dark and it flew very high. We got kind of close to it on the ground. We heard its "zzzzzt" call on the ground. It makes a fluttering sound when the air rushes through its wings after it takes off and it's flying. We learned that wolves, dogs, coyotes, hawks and owls will try to eat the eggs because the nest is on the ground, so a lot of animals can get to it. The color of the American Woodcock is a browny woody color because its nest is sometimes near trees and in the forest, and this color gives it camaflogue. You can't tell the difference between the male and the female.

We found more information at home. The American Woodcock is 11 inches in length and it has an 18 inch wingspan. Its beak is long for probing in soft (wet) dirt and eating insects. We could see its long bill. It eats earthworms, larvae, ants, slugs and snails.

The nest is simple. It is made of leaves. The female will sometimes line the rim of the nest with a few twigs. The female lays about four eggs at a time.

They arrive in Michigan in the spring. They stay in the summer and migrate to Tennessee, Arkansas, and the gulf states for the winter.

Here's a picture:These two sounds are exactly what we heard.