All Things Maine
All Things Maine

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

The Woodcock's Spring Spectacle

April is the time to see the American woodcock's mating dance at the Wells National Estuarine Research Reserve at Laudholm Farm.
On a clear night, you can see the American woodcock take off into the air and circle its "dance floor" before it hovers, like a tiny UFO, and then whistles and descends in a rocking, fairy-like way.

It floats down, like a piece of paper, until - plop - it lands back on its stage, very near where it stood before.

And that comical, absurd honking begins again.

The dance is completed when the female comes out of the woods, and the two woodcocks mate.

Then she retires back into the woods to create her ground nest, a shallow depression she'll guard, and the promiscuous male is off again. [Link]

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