Woodcock

Woodcock (Scolopax minor) are migratory birds who's range covers the entire Eastern half of the United States and extends just across the border into Canada

The woodcock is a small bird with a long bill very similar to snipe. Woodcock are well camouflaged with a woody, leafy tan/brown mottled coloration that blends very well with the forest floor where they live.

Woodcock are solitary birds but they may be found in close proximit to each other due to them simply finding food in certain spots which tends to concentrate them.

Woodcock aka Timberdoodle require moist woodlands with streams and swampy areas. The feed exclusively on earthworms so as the land freezes up north it forces them to migrate south for the winter in search of moist non-frozen ground. The land most be moist so they can use their bills to probe the ground for worms.

Male woodcock are known for its courtship flight. After arriving on the breeding grounds the males establish a territory. The courtship flight, performed at dawn and dusk, begins on the ground with the male repeatedly making a bzzzt sounds while walking and and bobbing his head. He then flies vertically in decreasing spirals before leveling off and circling high above. He then lands while making another chickaree sounding call.

The female nests and raises the young on her own. The nest is a shallow depression in the ground, near a bush, tree or thicket that is scraped by the female. She lays three to four buff colored eggs that hatch in three weeks.

Woodcock population has long been on a steady decline due to loss of breeding habitat to logging and land development.

Hunting Woodcock season are time to the historic migration times of the birds. Woodcock are somewhat popular game birds. They hold tight before flushing. Woodcock are slow flyers but have a somewhat irratic flight when jumped so they make for a challenging target. Not to mention the dense brush that they are found in.

A male's woodcocks bill is rarely longer than 2.5 inches and a female's is almost always longer than 2.5 inches.

Hunting of woodcock is often done with a dog. If no dog then jumping them up in likely habitat can also be productive. If you have a good spot for it pass shooting just before dark can be quite productive for a few woodcock.

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