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Saturday, March 14, 2015

Woodcocks Return (Blog 233)

This week, the woodcocks returned to our 38 acres in Botetourt County, Virginia.  For the first 22 years that Elaine and I have lived here, we never heard or saw one of these game birds.  But in December of 2010, we conducted two small clearcuts, and these birds have responded.

I first heard those chirped, whistling sounds of a woodcock's aerial display on Tuesday, followed up by the diagnostic peents while the male is earthbound.  Within a few days, I heard what may have been as many as four males performing their mating dance.

Several years ago, I encountered a woodcock in our front yard during the day.  He did not fly when I came near, apparently secure in his camouflage.  I quickly went inside and returned with my camera and was able to squeeze off one photo before the bird decided that this odd nearby creature might be a threat, which, of course, I wasn't.  Perhaps, I will have another opportunity to photograph another one this coming week.

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