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Woodcock Watch

Thursday, April 15, 2021, 7:00pm – 8:30pm Save to Calendar

Walk at sunset with Reserve Director Paul Dest to watch the aerial courtship sky dance of the famed timberdoodle!

Program Full



Please call Suzanne at (207) 646-1555 x 116 or email to reserve your space.


  • Members: $6.00
  • Non-Members: $8.00


Visitor Center

Woodcock enthusiast Paul Dest leads this walk in search of the famed timberdoodle. Paul is well versed in the woodcock’s life history, conservation status, and management, and is an engaging presenter.

In early spring, just before dawn or just after sunset, landscapes of field and young forest come alive with the unique sounds of the American woodcock. This migratory bird is a sure sign of spring, but is not so obvious as the robin or the red-winged blackbird.

These woods-dwelling shorebirds begin to claim their territories around the middle of March. Over just a few weeks, the male performs a display that impresses both female woodcocks and lucky human observers. The bird spirals high above the earth while creating a high-pitched twittering with its wing feathers. The display, soon cloaked by darkness, can last many seconds. Back on the ground, the woodcock repeats nasal “peent” notes as it prepares for another flight.

The reserve manages grasslands and early-succession forests with woodcocks in mind, so it’s a great place to experience this fascinating ritual of spring.

We will be maintaining safe physical distance throughout the program, but please also bring your own face covering and hand sanitizer with you. If you are traveling from out of state for this program, please read the latest state regulations before registering. Maximum of eight participants.

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