• Nov 11, 2018

the Pine-forest sandpiper whose official name – the Eurasian woodcock, is one of the most desired trophies for hunters. Small birds (up to 500 g of live weight), in the Middle Ages were considered in Russia as a delicacy. Their ancient name – "imperial bird" demonstrates to it. Woodcocks were really served to Ivan the Terrible's table along with other pine-forest game. In the 18-19th centuries neither representatives of a dynasty of Romanov, nor the Russian aristocracy disdained hunting for a woodcock.

Eurasian woodcock: description, way of life and habitat

distribution Area

The name "woodcock" directly indicates the place where most often it is possible to see this surprising bird: "der Wald" in translation from German is the wood. Really, a woodcock – a forest sandpiper. Favourite places of its dwelling are old forests where there is a lot of vegetation of the lower tier (raspberry brakes, thickets of a fern and a bush). The Valdshnepiny forest it is considered to be the low mixed massif where there are cuttings or the sites which are tumbled down by wind overgrew young trees, standing superficial reservoirs or bogs with an osier-bed. Often they inhabit and the inundated woods and grew (urema).

In the damp and friable soil of such places, among a moss and rotten last year's leaves imperial birds find the main food: small invertebrates, insects, snails and earthworms who are especially loved by them. In small reservoirs they eat also clams.

In spite of the fact that the bird is subject to hunting , it is widespread in huge territories . The area of a woodcock covers countries of Western Europe, reaching the Finnish woods in the north of the continent, to the East of birds it is possible to meet both in Moscow area, and in a midland of Russia, in the Urals and in Altai Krai, in Western Siberia and Primorye. In cold season the Russian woodcocks migrate to warmer regions (to Great Britain, France and Spain). Inhabitants of the countries of Europe live settled, fly only over populations from Scandinavia and Finland.

Eurasian woodcock: description, way of life and habitat

Appearance of a forest sandpiper

Habitats of a woodcock have characteristic scale of shades of brown, gray, brown colors. The forest sandpipers possessing patronizing coloring combine in plumage of a spot, strip, pestrina which make them so imperceptible against the background of rotten leaves, branches and a grass that the bird can be not seen, being all few steps away from it.

the Hidden woodcock sits quietly and not movably until the predator does not approach too close . The bird sharply soars up into this moment up. Bright sites of plumage under wings sometimes give her similarity to fire language, and unexpected emergence enters into short-term catalepsy of any animal and even the person. During this time the bird manages to disappear and hide in other place.

The size of a woodcock is close to the size of a city blue rock pigeon, but it is a little proportion of a body others: shorter tail and roundish trunk. As well as any sandpiper, a woodcock possesses the beak adapted for getting of food in a deep laying or in water. Disproportionately long nose (about 8 cm) gives to a small bird a peculiar shape. Externally quite massive, it is actually almost weightless and does not bring upon a sandpiper special trouble when flying. However, during draft the woodcock lowers a beak down as if pulls it to the earth. In such pose it is more convenient to bird to make the spitting sounds.

Eurasian woodcock: description, way of life and habitat

Unlike the sandpipers living mainly at water a forest bird the woodcock possesses quite short paws. For movement on shallow water and a forest laying of it it is enough, and quickly the imperial bird is not able to run.

Large eyes of the forest hermit testify to a nocturnalism. it is valid, birds in twilight are fed, and prefer to have a rest in the afternoon. Leading mainly lonely life, the bird does not need voice communication with fellows. Imperceptible, silent woodcocks quietly move in an underbrush, hiding on all daylight in inaccessible places. Whistle, spit or they shout only when it is really necessary: calling the partner or warning posterity about danger.

Eurasian woodcock: description, way of life and habitat

Marriage period of a bird

Birds come back to the Russian forests at the end of April beginning of May. Approximately at this time in the majority of regions of Russia also the romantic hunting on draft described by A. Tolstoy, V. Dahl, I. Turgenev and other writers-hunters begins. the Draft is a marriage flight of a woodcock, during which the male tries to find to himself couple.

The draft begins in twilight, and the flying forest sandpiper does not see dried. It only gives to him signals, is characteristic whistling from the earth. The male makes the sounds reminding a kryakanye, – spits. The grunting sounds are replaced by whistle. Slowly flying about attractive glades and cuttings, the woodcock defines the place where there is a female. Often she takes off towards, but usually the male itself goes down in a thicket of young trees or a bush where he with impatience is expected by darling.

Sometimes two applicants respond to its call at once. In this case imperial birds behave as a real man, organizing a duel in the face of the great lady. Business usually does not reach injuries: weaker competitor leaves the battlefield, and the successful rival straightens a tail and sticks out a breast. Courtings continue several days then the woodcock abandons the beloved and moves off in searches of new impressions. During the marriage period he manages to get acquainted with several females, with one of them without forming steady couple.

Hunting for a woodcock in the spring (video)

Females leave to deaf places of the wood where the person and farm animals cannot disturb them. There they build nests, digging out a superficial pole in a forest laying, covering it a grass and a moss. Most often in a laying 4 eggs possessing brownish coloring from pestrina. It does them imperceptible when lonely mother has to leave to have a bite.

Nasizhivaniye proceeds 23 days . In several hours after removal baby birds dry and become the fluffy, floridly painted independent creations. They actively move near a nest, and mother sharp-sightedly watches their safety and trains in ways of getting of a forage.

At emergence of a predator baby birds hide, becoming almost invisible. Mother of family, flying over the earth, tries to take away a dangerous being from a nest. In three weeks baby birds feather and begin to fly, without needing guardianship of mother. At this time the young growth still keeps small flocks, gradually becoming more and more independent. In the middle of the summer the brood completely breaks up, and sandpipers live one by one till the fall when migration time approaches.

Gallery: Eurasian woodcock (35 photos)

the Interesting facts about birds

Forest sandpipers are recognized as the slowest birds. During current flight, on draft, they fly with a speed about 8 m/s. Average values of flight at migration are higher, birds can gather speed to 50 km/h. They use and a fair wind: skilled hunters know that flight of a bird at northwest wind can not take place, and its favorable direction is the southwest, corresponding to movement birds from places of a wintering.

Long time occurred belief that the female of a sandpiper transfers the cubs from the dangerous place. Scientists found out that these stories – from a series of hunting baizes. When the predator approaches a nest, the female flies, lowering a short tail between legs because of what her silhouette and reminds the bird bearing something fluffy in paws.

Old woodcocks fly young people a little earlier. It is noticed that when leaves of birches are dismissed in the spring, there is the second flight of a bird which can be even more intensively than the first, to a proklevyvaniye of kidneys. I even within one evening can notice 3 waves of draft:

  • after flight of a single sandpiper in daylight of a bird pull highly, along the region of the forest;
  • in early twilight they fly low over glades and cuttings, in a large number, and with nightfall disappear;
  • after darkens, the third wave of a tokovaniye which beginners most often pass begins.

Experienced hunters recommend not to hurry to leave the place, and to make fire. Its light attracts birds who begin to pull in the dark.

Recipes of preparation of a woodcock (video)

There is a version that wounded birds or the injured woodcocks who survived impose on the broken paw or a wing a peculiar bandage for an extremity immobilization. They can do multilayered bandages of the feathers and blades fastened with clay and saliva. Such way of treatment allows bones to grow together quickly, fixing them in one situation as a medical plaster bandage.

On each wing of a woodcock there is a special feather which is called picturesque. The bird not especially is fond of art, but these plumelets long since use for the most delicate works: iconography or miniatures. The quality of such brush surpasses the well-known kolonkovy brushes, but the picturesque feather costs very much.

Even hunters who well know habits of a bird, considered that the horkanye of a male on draft is the sound made by feathers on wings as "bleating" of a snipe. But ornithologists were convinced that the woodcock after all sings some kind of love song. Both the horkanye, and whistle is the real voice of a bird.

The loner sandpiper living in deaf places not especially seeks to catch sight to people. The ordinary mushroom picker or the resident of the village can meet never for all life a woodcock in the forest. Even being near it, it is very easy to take a bird for lots of rotten leaves.

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