Mr. Timberdoodle’s Sky Dance

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The Mahoosuc Land Trust invites all to experience the spring romantic dances of the American woodcock. Marvel as they spiral 300 feet into the sky and then make a series of dives to impress a mate. Recently retired National Park Service Naturalist Paul Motts will show us this unusual mating spectacle.

This easy guided walk takes place on Tuesday, April 12 at 6:45 p.m. on the Valentine Farm Property, located at 162 North Rd., 0.8 miles from Route 2 in Bethel. A small flashlight is recommended and it is best to wear warm dark clothing. The program is expected to go until 8:15 p.m. All ages are welcome.

Each spring the American woodcock (also known as Mr. Timberdoodle) returns to Maine following their northbound migration. This very stocky bird with a three inch bill has little resemblance to the other shorebirds in its family, making them quite the sight. Just after twilight, male birds come to their singing grounds, and then approximately 15 minutes later at precisely 0.05 candlelight hours they perform their three part sky dance. Woodcock are among the slowest of fliers, so they are easy to spot and typically land in the very spot where they took off. At one program they were so precise that they event landed on someone’s wool hat! The peak time to observe the sky dance performances is from now until mid-May. Please pre-register for this event by going to our website and clicking on the Events tab or calling Annie at 824-3806. Pre-registration is requested but not required.

The Mahoosuc Land Trust is an accredited community land trust encouraging public interest in conservation in central Oxford County and eastern Coos County, N.H., supporting a balance of growth and conservation and emphasizing sustainable and traditional land uses. For more information, visit www.mahoosuc.org or call 207-824-3806.

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