How do I know, besides the muddy paws I wrote about last night? Yesterday at dusk I heard something, a bird call, I had not heard before when outside. Just one, just once. At least I had not heard it on our farm, even though I have been hoping I would hear it for decades. However, even so, I couldn't quite 'place it'.
Only because I belong to a group of local bird enthusiasts who share sightings and questions via the internet did I remember what I heard last night when the reports came through my computer this morning from two friends, including one who lives in my part of the county, both of whom heard the American Woodcock last night or early this morning saying its classic PEENT! The call I heard last night was much softer than what I have been 'playing in my head' all these hopeful years, which is why I probably didn't immediately recognize it, even though it seemed 'familiar'.
No photo of my own, but here is a link for you to go see a picture of this very cute bird and hear the PEENT! for yourself. Now my quest will be to look for a spot on our farm where the male does his 'sky dance' hoping for spring fling with a very lucky lady woodcock! Every year when I re-read Aldo Leopold's book A Sand County Almanac, I have always had a secret envy of his farm and his woodcocks. Just seeing and hearing one on our farm is enough for me. If I find a mating ground on our farm, I will be beyond happy. :)
A real reason to get up early, early, early!
Cultivate your life - you are what you grow - inch by inch, row by row,
Diana Dyer, MS, RD