« All News

Timberdoodles Have Moves

timberdoodle photo featuring words: I Fly for Love

Just after dusk in late March and early April, the male timberdoodle (or American woodcock) performs a strange mating ritual.

diagram of a timberdoodle mating flight

In prairie openings along the edge of the woods, this chubby, long-billed bird:

  1. Stands in place while turning and emitting a periodic buzzing peent.
  2. Flies up in a spiral, its feathers creating a tweeting sound.
  3. Zig-zags back to the ground while singing.
  4. Waits for a mate, then starts over if necessary.

Each round can last a few minutes. If a female in the area is impressed, she’ll join him to breed.

Support for Bird the Preserves was generously provided by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service through Chicago Wilderness. Timberdoodle photo modified from Flickr user Fyn Kynd Photography.

Video

Ground display:

The Flight