The American woodcock, also called the timber-doodle, lives in young forest and shrubby areas often near streams, rivers, and wetlands. Woodcock eat worms, which they catch by probing in the soil with their long bills. They breed across eastern North America from Atlantic Canada to the Great Lakes, and spend the winter in lowlands mainly in the southern and Gulf Coast states.
The American Woodcock has a plump body, short legs, a large, rounded head, and a long, straight bill. Adults are 10 to 12inches long and weigh 5 to 8 ounces. Females are considerably larger than males. The bill is 2.5 to 2.75inches long.
The plumage is a cryptic mix of different shades of browns, grays, and black. The breast and sides vary from yellowish white to rich tans. The nape of the head is black, with three or four crossbars of deep buff or rufous.The feet and toes, which are small and weak, are brownish gray to reddish brown.
Woodcock have large eyes located high in the head, and their visual field is probably the largest of any bird, 360° horizontal and 180° vertical.
On March 18 & 19 from 6:00 to 8:00 p.m. visitors to Caledon Natural Area will get a chance to dance the Doodle!
What exactly is a Timber Doodle Dance? In late winter males begin their courtship dance by spreading their wings and walking like a chicken! Then, the male takes to the air and begins a complicated aerial display to attract the female. If she likes his dance then she will pick him as her timber-doodle!
If you would like to join the fun and learn something new too, please call the park to make a reservation (540)663-3861 or [email protected] Cost: only $3 per person or $8 per family. Parking fees apply.