Tag Archives: woodcock

Loners Go A-Courtiin’ at Lathrop

Loners Go a-Courtin’ at Lathrop

By Barbara Walvoord

Originally published in the Lathrop Lamp Post for March 24-31, 2018

Woodcocks are loners.  The dads mate with multiple females and take no responsibility for child rearing. The moms lay their eggs on the ground.  If the eggs are threatened, mom may feign injury to draw away the intruder, but is quite quick to abandon the eggs. Mom feeds the babies for a week, and then it’s out on your own, kids.  During the summer, woodcocks mostly stay to themselves, walking along the forest ground, eating a paleo diet—meat (from worms, spiders, beetles, ants, and thousand-leggers), with a few salad greens on the side.  When disturbed, woodcocks remain still, their mottled coloring making them almost invisible. Continue reading Loners Go A-Courtiin’ at Lathrop


Dancing on our Lathrop Land

by Barbara Walvoord

from Lathrop Lamp Post, April 6, 2017

American Woodcocks are small, brown, woodland birds that you very rarely see.  They hang out in shrublands, old fields, and young forests, quiet and shy, superbly camouflaged against the leaf litter, walking slowly along the forest floor, probing the soil with their long bills in search of worms and insects.

Except now, when the courting males put on quite a show.  East campus residents have heard them behind Huckleberry and Mulberry.  You can find them in wood openings and fields at dawn or dusk.  Listen for their buzzing “peent” sound, and the whir of their wings as the males leap straight up into the air.  Hear them at https://www.allaboutbirds.org/guide/American_Woodcock/sounds

The male puts on a  dazzling, high-energy, aerial display, sky-dancing to impress the ladies, and mating with as many of them as possible.  Continue reading Dancing on our Lathrop Land