|Woodcock are good at hiding out. Photo by T. Oots|
Kyle Daly is a wildlife biologist working for the Service in Minnesota. Kyle conducted research on American woodcock breeding ecology and survey assessments for his M.S. degree from the University of Minnesota. Here, he shares some tips on seeing this elusive bird’s stunning dance.
American Woodcock are a highly cryptic bird species and are rarely seen by people because they avoid harm by sitting down and remaining perfectly still, letting their camouflage do its work. However, this bird exhibits one of the most conspicuous breeding displays in the avian world -- the “sky dance.
Every spring, males “dance” to attract mates by spiraling through the air while making a twittering sound with their wings. They then land, give a series of nasally “peents,” or vocal calls, and return to the skies to repeat the process.