As winter ebbs and the days lengthen into spring, there comes a hint of thaw, and the trickle of water is heard on the land. One of the great opening acts of spring is the sky dance of the American Woodcock. Listen! Peent . . . It’s doing it again! Robert Finch has described this dance as a ‘crepuscular (dawn and dusk) ballet performed on the teasing edge of visibility.’ The woodcock, a migrant/resident bird of bogs and young woodlands, is a most interesting wooing artist. As the annual cycle of courtship begins, his aerial technique, bizarre and mysterious, places him up front as a strange suitor.
Mike Shannon is a lifelong naturalist, storyteller, educator and Registered Maine Guide. Whether in the forest prowling for owls or aboard boats scanning for pelagic birds, he continues to lead outings for local groups. He currently serves as a naturalist on board the Schooner Mary Day in June. He is retired from Unity College, where he taught ornithology and ecological education. A former director of the Audubon Ecology Camp in Maine (Hog Island), he has worked and lived on Audubon sanctuaries for many years. Mike loves sharing his passion and enthusiasm for the natural world.