9021, Wilmington, DE 19809, USA
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the Woodcock, or the "Timber-Doodle"
Armas Hill has presented the "Birdline", originally from Philadelphia, on the phone and internet for over 3 decades, and on the radio in Delaware for about 10 years.
A List & Photo Gallery of North American Birds, in 6 Parts
The Birdline on the Radio, as it was on March 8, 2000:
In Delaware, by the Bay and south of the Canal, there's some wonderful
countryside - of marshes, fields, and woods.
This past weekend, there, with a backdrop of a pink sky at sunset, and the sound of Spring Peeper frogs (RECORDNG), there was another sound (RECORDING) - although maybe not first recognized as that of a BIRD, it is.
There were about 10 of the birds doing the courtship display that they do in the late winter and early spring.
The BIRD, a most interesting one: the WOODCOCK, also known as the "Timber-Doodle".
Normally the WOODCOCK is a quiet bird that walks about on the ground, often in dense cover, eating worms with its long bill. It can be camouflaged to being almost invisible against the brown ground and cover.
But during its mating season, it can fly very high into the sky, again to almost being invisible, doing a display that's tremendous.
Before the flight, the male, on the ground, while seeking a female, bows and calls repeatedly. After rising high into the air, there's an erratic flight, and a variety of peculiar notes (RECORDING).
On returning to the ground, he struts about with lowered wings and a tail spread like that of a TURKEY. Sometimes the bird is so absorbed that it actually trips over twigs in its path.
He bows. and calls again (RECORDING), sometimes raising his bill as high as possible, and stretching his neck to the utmost.
All of this to get HER attention.
Regarding the flight, itself, of the bird eight-inches long, it rises as an airship does. With rapid wing-strokes and vibrant whistling-notes given at the same time.
When well into the air, the bird turns and goes higher and higher, continuing with teh rapid whistling-notes as it rises in diminishing circles.
When over 200 feet high in the sky, the whistling-notes change to louder and more distinct-calls, followed by a melody given in a descending scale.
The bird descends back to the ground with fluttering wings (RECORDING).
(end of the recording on the radio)