American Woodcocks are strange, secretive birds. The males come out at dusk in springtime to sing and dance for the ladies..They bob up and down, fly around, and make loud, nasal “peeent!” noises. I photographed this one at the edge of the local Walmart parking lot of all places. It’s an odd location to see such an interesting bird, but it lies adjacent to their preferred wet, swampy habitat. The ambient light from the parking lot let me get close enough to get a snap of this one.
When spring arrives, birds start chirping again, and animals of all kinds begin their mating rituals. One of the neatest courtship displays is that of the American Woodcock. For most of the year, Woodcocks remain hidden in dense brush, so they aren’t seen very often. But when spring rolls around, male Woodcocks can be seen fluttering around out in the open, hoping to attract a mate. They are only active when light is very low around dawn and dusk, and they make their presence known with distinctive, loud, nasal “PEENT” noises.
Around 7:20 PM last night, at the edge of the parking lot of the local Walmart, we heard some “peenting,” and we were treated to some Woodcock displays. Of all places, Walmart seems the least likely to be a birding hotspot, but the lights from the parking allowed for some great viewing. I was able to snap a picture of one that landed nearby…
The lighting was very tricky, so I will probably return to the Walmart parking lot at dusk soon to attempt some better photos of this awesome bird!