Woodcock migrants are arriving daily. They have or soon will start their unique courtship display. In the right habitat, these birds can be found in the metro area.

 

You are more likely to find them with your ears rather than your eyes.

 

Male woodcocks, on the ground, make a brief quite-audible buzzy sound known as peenting. The bird then “spirals up high on twittering wings with melodious chirping,” according to the Cornell Lab of Ornithology. It circles back to repeat the cycle.

 

This courtship begins soon after the migrant birds return from wintering in the southern parts of the country. Displays can continue into June.

 

This occurs in old meadows, abandoned ag fields, pastures, orchards — places with open vegetation. Roadside ditches are used. 

 

The peenting sound can be audible from more than 150 feet. (The bird will make calls while oriented away from the listener, rotating, so it can be difficult to pinpoint the sound.) 

 

The displays are made at dawn and dusk, each bout lasting about 30 minutes.

 
 

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Real-time migration maps available -- birdcast.info