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WI Outdoor Nut

The Woodcock dance

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WI Outdoor Nut

It just never get's old for me.  Last night I was at my brother's land finishing up some turkey blind work for the upcoming youth hunt.  We made it out of the woods about 20 minutes after sunset and the woodcock were going nuts.  Must have been 10 males doing their song and dance in the sky.  I watched and listened until I could not see them anymore.  What was cool, this was happening in a little subdivision and I bet most of the residence don't even know what they are.  Fun little buggers I say!

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Larry Brown

We just got about a foot of snow in northern WI, and we had quite a bit left before that fell.  I'm hoping the woodcock are not hurrying to get here.  Maybe by May Day!

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WI Outdoor Nut

Ya know Larry, I was just thinking of that - are some of the birds we are seeing, staging a bit south due to the amount of snow in Northern WI?  But then again, we are predicted to get 6-12" here by Tuesday. 

 

Where was all this snow in winter?  Love it then.  Now, not so much. 

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quailguy
2 hours ago, WI Outdoor Nut said:

Must have been 10 males doing their song and dance in the sky.  I watched and listened until I could not see them anymore.  What was cool, this was happening in a little subdivision and I bet most of the residence don't even know what they are.  Fun little buggers I say!

 

  Ah, the sky dancers! How neat to see them.

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mccuha

I wish I could see it more often. I have witnessed it several times but it's been a while.

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RuffChaser

I've see it a bunch of times. It never gets old. Last year I was on a an old armory site in the twin cities and there were more males displaying than you could accurately count. We had been told prior we could hear upwards of 40 males and thought they were crazy. We were sure they weren't too far off after witnessing it. It was cool. I have been told at about 18 minutes after sunset is when they start. Some people swear that number is dead on accurate. Confirmed sightings/flushings of them on line about even with Duluth, MN and they got hit big time with snow a few days ago and it's going to really bring it today. I fear they shall perish with the temps not getting above freezing all week and numerous single digit lows. I hope it was just a few early risers. I only found two last week, 1 Friday and 1 Thursday and both were about 45-50 South of the Minneapolis.

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JCJ

There were a bunch in Northern suburbs of Mpls-St. Paul this past week. They are going to struggle this week. 

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Hub

Do you think they just bounce back south when the the weather sours?  Geese sure do.  Pretty nasty around here right now....maple syrup us 3 weeks behind at my place up North.

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RuffChaser

I’m not sure they do Hub. I hope they did but my fear is they didn’t. Not sure they can ride this out. What a terrible way to go.

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WI Outdoor Nut

Last night I went to my local "honey hole" to see if there were woodcock there.  Sure enough, must have been about 30 over the course of a 1/2 hour, until I could no longer see.  Brought my Vizsla with and she pointed two which was a bonus, but she was in overdrive and could not handle the massive amount of birds.  I noticed this one guy who landed in the same place over and over again.  Not sure if that is "his" place for the females to meet him or what, but I went to that spot and ducked down.  Sure enough, after his dance of about 2 minutes in the sky, same place.  I was only about 10' away.  At that distance I could hear him make a "cue" sound similar to what a quail does but quieter.  1st time I heard that. 

 

The night ended with a fox making the shriek noises.  I don't know fox biology enough to know if it was a male or female, or if it is mating season or why they do it.  But with my 35# dog running around, thinking of potentially sharing the woods with maybe a male fox, I decided to pull out.  But what a great experience and close enough I just run down with my ATV.  Maybe go see their dance again tonight to see what happens after this snow. 

 

Ruff - you have me curious.  I will have to look at my watch to see what time they start. 

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RuffChaser

Many of the dancers I have seen will land in the same place over and over again. Actually many times when they take flight we'll use that opportunity to get a little closer to them before they land again. You can actually get quite close to them many times and see them if it isn't too dark. AT 10' you were closer than I have ever been. That's pretty cool. Some people even set lights out and many times the males perform they'll as if nothing changed. Nothing too bright but enough to see them on the ground better. One of the best parts is to see them corkscrew downward. It's the hardest thing to see though.

 

Good for you. I would be willing to bet about 0.5% or less of the population even know what they are much less see them display.

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WI Outdoor Nut
6 minutes ago, RuffChaser said:

Many of the dancers I have seen will land in the same place over and over again. Actually many times when they take flight we'll use that opportunity to get a little closer to them before they land again. You can actually get quite close to them many times and see them if it isn't too dark. AT 10' you were closer than I have ever been. That's pretty cool. Some people even set lights out and many times the males perform they'll as if nothing changed. Nothing too bright but enough to see them on the ground better. One of the best parts is to see them corkscrew downward. It's the hardest thing to see though.

 

Good for you. I would be willing to bet about 0.5% or less of the population even know what they are much less see them display.

On the corkscrew - last night alone I must have seen 20-30 corkscrews.  Sometimes the same bird - like the one I saw land in the same place.  Must have seen him do that 3-5x's.  When I went last night, it was a last minute decision.  But if I go tonight, I will need to bring a light with me.  I know in fall, when the birds are at a puddle on a two track road, they don't move from the vehicle, even with lights on and motor running.  So I could see a small light not bothering them. 

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walt lister

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Hub
16 hours ago, RuffChaser said:

I’m not sure they do Hub. I hope they did but my fear is they didn’t. Not sure they can ride this out. What a terrible way to go.

A buddy of mine just sent me a snap of a woodcock sitting on a snowbank outside his house in Prescott, WI.  That one is a goner I think.  I hope his buddies had more sense.

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Kre

I think the little guys are tougher than you're giving them credit for.

 

If the darned Robins can make it through this, the timberdoodles should be able to.

 

We have about 7" of "spring" on the ground since morning.

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