Ray Duffy Reports: Ravens & Woodcocks at Laurel Hill

Ray Duffy reports:

We checked on the status of the raven nest and noticed a lot of progress. The nest looks as it did prior to being washed out by the storm and they appear to be defending it.

In this case, we got to see a battle royal for the territory. Not long after one of the ravens came to the nest, a red-tailed hawk flew along the ridge. One of the ravens went to intercept it and a dog fight between the two started with each maneuvering around to harass the other.

Eventually, the raven’s mate come out and they started double teaming the hawk. They chased it over the ridge and back. Not too long after returning to the park side of the ridge that a peregrine falcon bolted in and started going after the ravens.

Then the falcon decided it was time to harass the hawk. Then it kited over the ridge and gave a scolding call. The peregrine had enough fight for everyone as it decided to buzz an unsuspecting great black-backed gull that crossed its path as well.

More of Ray's report, including American Woodcocks, follows. (Thanks, Ray!)

We then camped out to listen for American woodcocks again. Reports of the birds had been coming in from around the state and we were concerned that with the construction of Field Station Dinosaurs last year, we weren’t sure the birds would return.

The woodcock is a shorebird that favors damp woodlands where it probes from worms in the leaf litter and soft mud. We waited for about 20 minutes, almost ready to throw in the towel.

A killdeer buzzed by, then almost 30 minutes after sundown, we thought we heard the twittering of the woodcock’s display flight. Then we heard the “peent” calls from their usual spot in the wooded area between the dinosaur parking lot and the first lot on the left in Laurel Hill.

We caught a glimpse of one of the timberdoodles as it went up for its spiraling display.

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