April 17, 2023
American Woodcock: A Bird That Blends In
- as seen by -Bryan Kao
Camouflaged among leaf litter in New York City from February through April is the whimsical American woodcock (Scolopax minor). Among other birds of the eastern United States, this one stands out in particular. Unlike other shorebirds, it prefers forests and meadows, slurping earthworms out of the soil through the flexible tip of its bill. It walks with a rocking motion like it’s bopping to music. And the male’s call is a squeaky “Peent!”
Urban green spaces like Bryant Park, where I found this bird under bushes, are vital spots where woodcocks can rest and refuel on worms. Unfortunately, the urban jungle brings its perils. Woodcocks are frequent victims of window strikes because their eyes cannot see forward well enough. If you discover an injured bird in New York City, please contact the Wild Bird Fund or another licensed wildlife rehabilitator.
EDITOR’S NOTE: Check out our current assignment, In Disguise. Find and photograph animals hidden within their habitat.
Canon Eos Rebel T7 with 75-300 mm lens