A dancing woodcock is great, especially when caught on camera.
Although this woodcock, also known as a “timberdoodle” in some areas, appears to be “getting down” to the rhythm of the music, he’s actually just doing his funky mating dance in hopes of attracting a mate.
Despite the description noted with the video, this bird is in fact an American Woodcock and not a snipe (yes, despite the fact that some people think that “snipe” is a made up creature, they do exist).
Although closely related, the two are different, with the snipe having a longer neck and the woodcock having a longer bill.
It is not clear where this video was shot, but it was likely somewhere in the north or northeast, which is the core area for these birds. Check out the video uploaded by Beata Svengt, and turn your volume up to hear the tunes.
Each spring, male woodcocks may be found doing this courtship dance to attract a female, as well as an aerial version of it to achieve the same goal.
These displays, along with their distinctive “peent” calls, are seen as a harbinger of spring. As you can tell by the snow on the ground, this video was likely shot in early spring.
Woodcock are a popular upland game bird in some areas, and they are a tasty treat in the pan. They can be a difficult target to hit, though, as they tend up flush straight up in the air (and usually startle the hunter) before levelling off and flying horizontally.
If you can hold fire until the moment that the bird briefly hesitates at the very top of its vertical ascent, your shooting percentage will greatly improve.
As their diet consists mostly of earthworms, they are usually found in areas with damp, soft soil, where they can use their long bills to probe for food. Once the ground freezes, they are no longer able to do so, so these migratory birds are quick to head for warmer climes to the south with the first frosts of autumn.
Areas that contained good numbers of birds one day can be vacated literally overnight.
Have you ever seen a woodcock dance, or another bird doing their own version?