MOOSE-ie Birders watching and listening for woodcocks in the recently-burned blueberry fields up on Teneriffe Mountain.  Photo by Jenn McKown.

On a warm windy April evening, the MOOSE-ie Birders got together for their first monthly outing — a woodcock watch on the property of Steve Panish and Virginia Long on Teneriffe Mountain in Milton.  A little before sunset, our group of seven birders settled into lawn chairs in the driveway along the recently-burned wild blueberry fields and prepared to look and listen for signs of the male woodcock’s mating flight. As we patiently waited, spring peepers could be heard from a pond in the distance and a few colors of sunset were visible behind the clouds, while a few drops of rain didn’t discourage us.

Just as predicted, at twenty minutes past sunset the first ‘peent’ call of a woodcock was heard, followed by repeated ‘peents’ as the bird walked and turned, broadcasting its mating interest. Then the fluttering sounds of its wings as took off and flew in a wide spiral, higher and higher, followed by a chirping sound as it plunged precipitously back to earth to land in almost the same spot. Soon more ‘peent’s indicated that the woodcock was back on the ground, eliciting chuckles all ’round at the comical sound. The same ritual was repeated some twenty or more times. A few persistent and fortunate birders got glimpses of the bird as it walked or took off in flight in the dim light.

The evening had a nice camaraderie and the consensus was ‘Fun!’ Moreover, there was a pleasant anticipation of future birdwatching outings. The MOOSE (Members Only Outdoor and Social Events)-ie Birders were off to a great start!

To inquire about joining the MOOSE-ie Birders, please contact MMRG Public Relations Coordinator Virginia Long at virgina.mmrg@gmail.com. Click here to learn  more about this new member benefit from an article on page 7 of MMRG’s Winter Connections newsletter.