The American woodcock is a migratory shore bird that uses several upland habitats, including fields and woods openings, alder swales, and young regenerating forests (early successional habitat).
Woodcock are best known for their spectacular spring courtship flights. At dusk and dawn from early April to mid-May, the males fly to their territories in open areas. Each bird begins his mating ritual with a series of nasal 'peents'. He then takes wing in a spiral flight that carries him several hundred feet into the air while he warbles a plaintive song to waiting females. He returns to the same spot after each flight and repeats his performance several times over the next half hour.