Timber Doodle

At dusk this evening we walked in the park. The red wing blackbirds had quieted down. We saw 2 young raccoons up high in a gingko tree, eating those fruits. And a timber doodle, aka woodcock, flew across the path in front of us. Here is what R.I. Brasher says of the woodcock in Birds of America:
“During the day the Woodcock sits quietly in a shadowy retreat, usually in the swamps, but often in open upland woodlands. …The swampy coverts which “Mr. Big Eyes” prefers are clean, sweet localities, where alders and willows like to grow. …Some of our birds are enveiled in mystery and the Woodcock is not the least strange of this coterie. It often lives where its presence is unsuspected. One of the best Woodcock covers I have known was within the limits of the city of Brooklyn. Fortunately this knowledge was not shared by others, so the birds were little hunted. Into this retreat the birds would come silently some April night, and from it they would disappear some October day as mysteriously. …The mother Woodcock has a curious and interesting habit of flying off, when disturbed, with a young chick grasped between her feet or between her thighs. If she has an opportunity, she will convey all her babies, one at a time, to a place of security. …At courting time, and all through the period of incubation, the male indulges in a curious aerial dance. Soon after sunset he whirls up in spirals, chirping and twittering, to a height of fifty or sixty feet, then circles horizontally and descends, giving voice to his ecstasy in a continuous “cheeping” until he reaches the ground where he struts like a tiny turkey-gobbler, with drooping wings and upright spread tail, changing his notes to a series of rather hard paiks. “

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