For over a month now, the woodcock have been making their way further into New England. They arrived in southern Maine a few weeks ago. As the snow has melted away, they’ve crept further north.
It amazes me how far these little birds travel each year. I’ve read that some them start in New Brunswick and make it as far south as Louisiana. Then they turn and repeat–every fall and every spring. That’s an incredible trip for a bird that’s the size of a softball.
Puck and I start chasing woodcock as early in the spring as we can. Even though we can’t hunt them, I love to get the dog out, give her some birdwork, and just see the woodcock. By the end of April the birds start nesting up, so we leave them alone. We’ll go back into the woods around the fourth of July, the same time we start looking for grouse again.
In this series of pics, you can see how much snow is still in our covers, plus the kind of spots where we first find woodcock this time of year. Since woodcock feed heavily on earthworms, they need open, unfrozen ground to forage and feed on.