Saturday, April 09, 2005

American Woodcock

Timberdoodle Scare
As I was scouring our woods for the invasive (and sometimes evasive) garlic mustard (about which I posted 4 times last spring), I was startled by a Timberdoodle taking flight. I looked down where it flew from and eventually discovered the nest resting on a mound of moss with four shiny, brown spotted eggs.

So what looks like a shore bird (three inch bill) but nests on the ground in an emerging second-growth forest? Sometimes it is difficult to key out a bird, but with the long beak, unusual flight profile and ground nest with unusual eggs, this one was easy.

The more common term for Timberdoodle is American Woodcock. As I typed this, I realized that the same jokes could be made about both names. An internet search produced other common names: bog sucker, bog or wood snipe, and woody. I also learned that its brain actually lies upside down in its skull and its ears are in front of its eyes.

I also found a nest of garter snakes. They were wrapped around each other and I counted four heads. I thought it was some type of perverted reptilian activity or a Medusa in the making but hubby said they were keeping warm.

1 comment:

Jared Buckner said...

I had a similar experience at dusk which I recorded here. I stared at those birds and thought (at the time) that there would be be no way I could ever figure out what kind of bird it was. I hope I get to see one nesting the way you were able to!