350 Wild Horse Road, Lawrence, Kansas 66044

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Join local naturalist Brad Williamson at the KU Field Station to learn about this unusual bird and have an opportunity watch the bird's courtship display. The appearance of this rotund little shorebird (also known as a timberdoodle or a bogsucker), is a sure sign of spring. Male American Woodcocks establish an individual singing ground where they display in the evenings to attract females. The display includes a repetitive nasal peent on the ground, followed by a dramatic aerial display, known as winnowing, when his wings produce a twittering sound. 

Listen to the American Woodcock's characteristic call. (Photo above: Robert Hamilton/Alamy from the Audubon website.)

We will begin inside the Armitage Education Center (directions) with a short slideshow about American Woodcocks, then move outside to try to catch them performing. The display grounds are a short walk (about 1/3 of a mile) along the gravel driveway and road from the Armitage Education Center. We will move off the road and into the prairie to settle in and wait for activity to begin. We need to carefully time our arrival near sunset. There is no guarantee that they will display during our program, so all we can do is get outside and hope the magic happens.

Woodcock displays are weather-dependent, so the event may be postponed or canceled if it is too windy or rainy for the birds. The day before the event, we will determine whether the weather looks favorable, and we will confirm or cancel the event at that time by emailing registrants. 

Sunset is at 7:34 p.m. Participants are welcome to leave when they wish, but Brad and Wendy plan to stay for 45 to 60 minutes after sunset, depending on bird activity. 

Please RSVP to Wendy Holman (wendyholman@ku.edu), KU Field Station education program coordinator, as space is limited. We will confirm your registration and provide further details about the event.

Bring: Binoculars (if you have them; we'll have a few extra pairs), sensible shoes, and a folding chair (if you want to sit rather than stand for the outdoor portion).  



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