American Woodcock Walks 2016
American Woodcock Walks hosted by or known about by RGS/AWS are listed below. These are spring events to listen to the male woodcocks' breeding calls (peents) and to watch their aerial courtship flights. Just after twilight the males fly to their singing grounds, and then approximately 15 minutes later at precisely 0.05 candlelight hours they perform the sky dance. While each event is different, often participants will learn about American woodcock habitat, behavior, and observe the male woodcock's nuptial flight. It's a unique experience to see and hear the male woodcock 'sky dance' at dusk in the spring.
Aldo Leopold wrote in A Sand County Almanac '...
No one would rather hunt woodcock in October than I,
but since learning of the sky dance I find myself calling one or two birds enough.
I must be sure that, come April, there be no dearth of dancers in the sunset sky.'
NOTE: Suggested dress for most of these events would be sturdy hiking or other waterproof footwear and warm subdued/dark-colored clothing. Binoculars come in handy for looking at other wildlife during any hike into the observation site and possibly for watching the 'sky dance' participants. Take a small flashlight for the hike/walk out after dusk.
If you know about any such events, please provide the complete details below so our members and site visitors in the area may take advantage of this unique spring phenomenon.
- March 12, 2016; Cape May Bird Observatory, Goshen, NJ; 5:00 pm to 7 pm; Event Details; Contact: 609-861-0700 to register. Host: NJ Audubon Cape May Bird Observatory; Press of Atlantic City article about woodcock feeding and this event: Cape's undulating woodcocks a favorite of birders
- March 18, 2016; East Fork State Park, north of Bethel, OH; 6:45 pm to 8:00 pm; Contact: Mark Jones, 513-734-0582 or firstname.lastname@example.org; Hosts: U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Ohio State Parks and East Fork State Park, AWS and RGS
- March 24, 2016 - Friday rain date; Norman Bird Sanctuary, Middletown, RI; 6:30 to 7:30 pm slideshow followed by evening "interpretive" walk; is appropriate for ages 8 and older. The cost is $8 for members, $10 for others. Space is limited; register in advance at 846-2577, ext. 25, or at normanbirdsanctuary.org under Public Programs.
- March 29, 2016; Fairfax SRA (Monroe Lake), Bloomington, IN; 8:00 pm to 8:45 pm; Contact: Jill Vance, 812-837-9967 or JVance@dnr.IN.gov; Host: IN DNR. The SRA entrance is free for the free event but pre-registration is required by March 27 - currently registration is full (15 people) but email to be added to waiting list.
- March 29, 2016; Long Pasture Wildlife Sanctuary, Barnstable, MA; 6-7:30 pm; begins with a brief slideshow and then walk out to the field for this special, live performance; for cost and other details: http://www.massaudubon.org/get-outdoors/program-catalog#program:program_code=42740; hosted by Massachusetts Audubon Society; email@example.com.
- March 30, 2016; Ward Pound Ridge Reservation, Cross River, NY; BAS Bird Walk, 7:15 to 8:30 p.m., Dance of the Woodcock with Tait Johansson. Watch the mating ritual of the American woodcock. Meet in parking area just before toll booth. Free. Easy-moderate. Registration: Jeanne Pollock at 519-7801.
- March 30, 2016; Kettle Creek Environmental Education Center, 8050 Running Valley Rd, Stroudsburg, PA. 6:30 p.m. Stalking the Wild Woodcock, learning about the history of the American woodcock and its amazing courtship displays. $5, $3 children. 570-629-3061.
- April 2, 2016; Cemex Reserve, 1100 Sanctuary Dr., Fairborn, Greene County, OH; 7 pm; participants will learn how to identify the American Woodcock, its life history, cool facts, calls and sounds. The hike is free to all participants; donations are accepted. Please dress for the weather. For more information, call Greene County Parks & Trails at 937.562.6440 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
- April 9, 2016; Nescopeck State Park, 1137 Honey Hole Road, Drums, PA; 7:30 p.m. Tumblin’ Timberdoodles, an indoor and outdoor program on the elusive American woodcock and its amazing courtship ritual called the “sky dance.” Free. Registration: 570-403-2006.
- April 11, 2016; Minnesota Valley National Wildlife Refuge, Carver, MN (south side of Twin Cities metro area); 6:30-9:30 pm CDT; There will be a short presentation with light refreshments and then participants will hike out to the dancing grounds to see this fabulous mating ritual. Please dress appropriately for the weather because you will be outside for the viewing. Although these events are free, space is limited (out of respect for the birds) and we need you to register. For more detailed information and to register: https://woodcock2016refuge.eventbrite.com/.
- April 12, 2016; Carlos Avery, Forest Lake, MN (north side of Twin Cities metro area); 6:30-9:30 pm CDT; There will be a short presentation with light refreshments and then participants will hike out to the dancing grounds to see this fabulous mating ritual. Please dress appropriately for the weather because you will be outside for the viewing. Although these events are free, space is limited (out of respect for the birds) and we need you to register. For more detailed information and to register: https://woodcock2016carlos.eventbrite.com/.
- April 12, 2016; Mahoosuc Land Trust hosts Mr. Timberdoodle’s Sky Dance at Valentine Farm Property, 162 North Rd., 0.8 miles from Route 2 in Bethel, ME; 6:45 pm to 8:15 pm; Recently retired National Park Service Naturalist Paul Motts will show us this unusual mating spectacle. Easy guided walk. A small flashlight is recommended and it is best to wear warm dark clothing. All ages are welcome. Please pre-register for this event by going to www.mahoosuc.org and clicking on the Events tab or calling Annie at 207-824-3806. Pre-registration is requested but not required.
- April 16, 2016 at Saugatuck Dunes State Park, 6575 138th Ave., Saugatuck Dunes; Holland, MI; Go on a Woodcock Walk hosted by DeGraaf Nature Center; 8 pm; Guests will seek out the American woodcock, or timberdoodle, and witness its mating courtship dancing and fighting. Participants should wear warm, dark-colored clothing and meet on the entrance road leading into the state park parking lot. Cost is $3/person and free for Friends of DeGraaf Nature Center. For more information, call 616-355-1057 or visit degraaf.org.
- April 16, 2016; Sarett Nature Center, 2300 Benton Center Rd, Benton Harbor, MI; 8:30 pm; http://sarett.com/ Call 269-927-4832 to register; cost $5 for non-SNC members, $2 for SNC members.
- April 22, 2016; Missisquoi National Wildlife Refuge, Swanton, VT; 6:30 - 8:30 pm; hosted by Missisquoi NWR/Friends of Missisquoi NWR; Register with Dave Frisque, 802-868-4781 or email@example.com; http://www.fws.gov/refuge/missisquoi/; Join refuge volunteer Greg Simard at the Stephen Young Marsh area for this evening walk. Participants will meet at the parking area on Tabor Road, one mile past (south) refuge visitor's center. Look for roadside signage "Refuge Trails Parking".
- April 23, 2016; Houston Nature Center, 215 W Plum St, located one block north of the intersection of Hwys. 16 and 76 in Trailhead Park, Houston, MN; 7 pm to 9 pm; Woodcock Skydance Program led by Ken Fordahl, free and open to the public. Meet at the Houston Nature Center to get familiar with the American Woodcock before the show starts and then there will be a carpool to a location a few miles outside of Houston to wait patiently for the bird. Binoculars will be available to borrow for the evening. Donations are accepted. For more information call 507-896-4668 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
- May 6, 2016; Missisquoi National Wildlife Refuge, Swanton, VT; 7:30 - 9:00 pm; hosted by Missisquoi NWR; Register with Dave Frisque, 802-868-4781 or email@example.com; http://www.fws.gov/refuge/missisquoi/; Join Park Ranger, David Frisque at the Stephen Young Marsh area for this evening walk. Participants will meet at the parking area on Tabor Road, one mile past (south) refuge visitor's center. Look for roadside signage "Refuge Trails Parking".