It was a beautiful spring evening to hang out at Rolling Meadows in Boxborough. Temps were perfect for Woodcock Watching! Al Sgroi, Acton Conservation Trust member and local birder, shared pictures and lots of other information to guide us through the courtship ritual of the American Woodcock. Participants were very engaged and asked great questions! Right on cue, as the official time for sunset arrived (sunset 7:15 pm), we heard at least one male “peenting.” Following a series of peents, the bird quieted, then spiraled rapidly upward, circled over the field across the road and drifted down to start the display again.
Here are a few facts we discussed about woodcocks:
- They are a fairly slow bird, traveling about 5 mph
- They winter in Virginia, Florida, and as far west as West Texas
- Heavy winter populations in Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana and Georgia
- They summer east of Wisconsin to the Atlantic coast and as far north as Canada
- They are ground nesters, but nests can be disturbed if it rains a lot and the ground gets swampy
- They lay one clutch of eggs per year in spring/summer
Click below to listen to the woodcock “peents.”
Woodcock Flyby video by Dave Hardt
Check out the photo gallery, which includes pictures of the Rolling Meadow field, woods and stream taken earlier in the day.