Woodcock Madness

A few of the nine American Woodcock I saw on Thursday in Prospect Park. Or, in this one’s case:Outside the park. On Vanderbilt St. in Windsor Terrace. I herded this one off the street. A stalking cat gave me the side-eye for doing so.The bird landed in the only patch of open ground around. But then the door behind it opened and a dog and walker emerged from the apartment building.  There’s no rest for the winged.

Reports from around the city tallied dozens of dazed and confused and probably hungry birds. March is when they migrate. They seem to have been blind-sided by the storm. The Wild Bird Fund had 35 of them in the other day. I saw one snagged by a Red-tailed Hawk, and heard of another being so captured, as well as one being jumped by the Prospect Park Goshawk.

Spring arrives two weeks earlier now than it did when I was born.

9 Responses to “Woodcock Madness”

  1. 1 Libby Kesil March 18, 2017 at 8:47 am

    These poor babies. They’re so cute and sweet.

  2. 2 mthew March 18, 2017 at 11:23 am

    The ones turning up in animal rescues have been emaciated. Frozen and snow-covered ground means they can’t get those schnozes down to the worms and other invertebrates they eat.

  3. 3 Libby Kesil March 18, 2017 at 5:57 pm

    this really hurts my heart. Thank you for bringing attention to this.

  4. 4 Beverly Seaton March 18, 2017 at 8:25 pm

    Thanks–I have only ever seen one of these guys in my life.

  5. 5 Tom Bland March 22, 2017 at 2:21 pm

    We just disturbed one in our backyard here near the Palisades in northern NJ. It didn’t go far and we can still see it in our neighbor’s property nestled down under a shrub. Not something I ever expected to see here!

    • 6 mthew March 22, 2017 at 5:22 pm

      Heard from a friend that he had one in his Brooklyn backyard the other day. I think they can show up practically anywhere. Another friend coming to dinner the other night said he saw one flying over 39th St in my neighborhood, a truck route of unprepossessing nature.

  6. 7 mthew March 10, 2018 at 8:00 am

    Reblogged this on Backyard and Beyond and commented:

    I’m leading a bird walk in Green-Wood tomorrow for the Brooklyn Bird Club. The wind tonight is coming from N/NW, so I don’t think we’ll have a windfall of Labrador twisters or mud bats, as American Woodcock are also known, but you never know… http://brooklynbirdclub.org/event/green-wood-cemetery-2/ Here’s one from the archives to whet your timberdoodle appetite.

  7. 8 alaspooryorick March 10, 2018 at 8:34 am

    Aldo Leopold, (1887-1949) who is considered to be the father of wildlife ecology in the US, wrote that the woodcock’s mesmerizing sky dances were “a refutation of the theory that the utility of a game bird is to serve as a target, or to pose gracefully on a slice of toast.” (quote snitched from Cornell Lab of Ornithology website)

  1. 1 Woodcock Moon | Backyard and Beyond Trackback on November 5, 2017 at 8:01 am

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