Maine Audubon’s mission is to conserve Maine’s wildlife and wildlife habitat by engaging people in education, conservation, and action. Today, that mission seems more important than ever. Our educators, scientists, advocates, and naturalists are committed to keeping you connected to the natural world as we deal with the coronavirus situation together. Check in every weekday on our Connections page for family activities, parent/teacher tips, backyard birding, nature exploration at our sanctuaries, and more.
Perhaps one of my favorite avian vocalizations is the American Woodcock’s “peent”, given at dusk and dawn on early spring days. With a little patience, and warm layers, you’ll also be treated to their aerial displays, explained in the video below. Woodcocks are more abundant than I think most people realize, and without much effort I bet you can find one near your home!
David Allen Sibley has a free pdf about these displays if you want to learn more.
Apparently calling an American Woodcock a lekking species is “speculative”. Only after recording this video did I find this quote from their Birds of the World (formerly Birds of North America) species account: “Claims that American Woodcock exhibit lek system (Ellingwood et al. 1993), dispersed lek (Ziel et al. 2010), or resource-defense polygyny (Dwyer et al. 1988, Mcauley et al. 1993a) remain speculative; only that males select particular territories and that male territories occur near nest and brood cover, respectively.“
The Maine Bird Atlas needs your woodcock reports! Hearing a “peent” is considered the song (possible breeding), and the full aerial display can be submitted as a Probable breeding record using the code “C-Courtship, Display, or Copulation”. Below is a breeding map, showing current results for American Woodcocks (check out the great work by Jeff Cherry filling in blocks around Damariscotta!). Click on the map to access the source.