[CT Birds] Woodcock/"Timberdoodle"

david bingham dbbingham at sbcglobal.net
Thu Mar 22 23:24:20 EDT 2007

Sad to hear about the dead birds.

I flushed three Woodcock near my home today. So we can be sure some have 
survived the cold. The big wave of these birds is just under way.

There is always a  balance between "the early birds that get the worm" and 
the really early ones that get frozen out of their food supply. But I'm 
surprised if the deaths were really from the freeze because even in the 
coldest weather (like when it was below freezing for most of the month of 
February), I find when I try to cross swamps there are areas that remain 
unfrozen due to their location, and have a tendency stay warm. I also find 
that I sometimes flush Woodcock on our farm in mid-winter here in Salem 
almost every year, even at the coldest of seasons. When we get a thaw, and a 
full moon, I have even heard them doing their "peenting" and displays in 
both January and February in some years.

Other causes of death (collisions, viruses, toxins) should also be 
considered. If they are emaciated, that would make it unlikely that trauma 
or acute poisoning would be the cause, but a viral illness could linger long 
enough to get emaciated before the demise. Or the dead birds may be 
inexperience young birds that just haven't learned well enough how to find 
what sustenance is there when harsh weather sets in.

On the other hand, with two clutches in many summers and a reproductive life 
span of several years, the Woodcock population would explode if we could 
provide the habitat, warmth, safety and food supply to sustain them all. The 
balance of nature is more a teeter-totter than a steady state for most 
David Bingham

----- Original Message ----- 
From: "Kathy Van Der Aue" <kvda at optonline.net>
To: <ctbirds at lists.ctbirding.org>
Sent: Thursday, March 22, 2007 8:25 AM
Subject: Re: [CT Birds] Late for work again

> We've had sad reports of dead woodcocks at Birdcraft Museum and Sanctuary 
> in
> Fairfield.  A couple of dead ones have also been brought by.  I assume 
> they
> have starved to death with the frozen ground preventing them from getting
> worms.
> Kathy Van Der Aue
> Southport, Connecticut
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