The behavior of the woodcock

In ethology – the science of animal behavior, there is a provision that has the most direct relationship to traction. From this it follows that the males occupy different ranks in the hierarchy prevailing in the deadlift.

The behavior of the woodcock

photo: Michael Semin

However, some individuals can have the same rank. Depending on of the levels that take the birds in a hierarchical system, they have different rank-order potentials, in other words, unequal-confidence. The highest ranked potential inherent in adult individuals.

It involves conflict and the amount of tension on draught. The higher the rank of the participants thrust, the greater the struggle between them. In the early stages of a hierarchical system, the group of birds involved in tension inherent in the collision, which establish this system are mitigated.

Woodcock – the bird, which area is defined by a space seemingly with no clear boundaries, where the willingness of birds to fight is highest in the centers of the most familiar «hub» sites. The conclusion is that the aggressiveness of a woodcock on different sites ways the thrust can be varied.

With distance from the centre of the plot gradually decreases aggressiveness. When approaching the center «habitat» (maybe the females and nests?) aggressiveness increases exponentially so that compensates for differences in size and strength of the individual.

It is possible that when one dominant woodcock haunts the other, then the closer to the center pursued his aggression increases, and the Stalker she is, on the contrary, decreases. This fact also can affect the period of thrust. Whether so it, remains to be seen.

The behavior of the woodcock

Unfortunately, we have not had the opportunity to observe one bird with high hierarchical rank, i.e. dominant adult individuals along the way follow the route of thrust. It may be a provocation and a planted subject of the same male at different parts of the thrust to react differently.

On the nature of the flight of the woodcock, that depends on the period of draught and age of the birds, we can say, figuratively speaking, «flies» he or «pulls». Under favorable weather conditions, as a rule, dominant individual. «pull» in contrast, juveniles are most often «fly». Adult flight of the woodcock corresponds more to the classical idea of hunters on thrust. It flies relatively slowly, turns his head, looking for movement on the ground and in the air. Young same, regardless of the weather, flying fast, do not pull, as it were, trying to quickly cover the distance, hurry to fly on the highway until they do not hurt.


Woodcock was produced from under the counter pointer in the birch forest, overgrown with willow 200-300 m wide in Slavuta, Khmelnitsky region, Ukraine. Remained alive, and I didn’t have the heart to finish it, as it is a very beautiful and interesting bird behavior. Decided to watch it. On the second day he began to eat the worms in the cage took from the hands of the chicken, bacon, snails. Kept it initially together with quails, prepared especially for him the soil with the worms, so that he could get them out of there. But when the snipe pecked at the soil, quail came and took away his food. So he was transplanted into the cell. No one just did not hit the mesh, although able to fly.

If we talk about hunting snipe at us, that three hours of hunting I got 5 woodcock. You can stop at two, but did not do so for the sake of the dog that she enjoyed the hunt (the hunt because we only open on weekends), and because of the fun that delivers incomparable work Poynter. You can get more, but don’t see the point to be greedy.

Author: Visuk Yuri, g. Slavuta, Khmelnitsky region, Ukraine

The behavior of approaching in the air the snipe varies depending on the thrust stage, age and hierarchical structure of its participants. The term «marmoset» adopted to denote the resulting traction on groups of two or more birds does not reflect the behavior of males, vary throughout the spring. In one case, it may be a manifestation of aggression, when one bird attacks another, flies to the future, actively pursues.

In this case, at least one of the members of such a group is a dominant male. He is ready to chase and harass any bird, seen them in the air, whether it be a duck, Seagull, etc. Even a small dog on the ground when semolina can cause aggressive reaction and trigger an attack.

In another case, when traction is absolutely dominated by young individuals, who do not show to each other pronounced aggression, they are getting closer together and fly a short distance or very close. It is highly likely that woodcocks voice can determine the hierarchical rank of each other.

Very entertaining and dramatically different reaction to a decoy, that is at the voice pulling woodcock, dominant adult males and young birds occupying the lower level of the hierarchy. Young woodcock, hearing, decoy, trying as quickly as possible to escape. In extreme cases, this is reflected in the fact that he throws himself to the ground and immediately sits down where he had caught the sound, even at a great distance from the observer. The impression that the sound decoy operates on such a bird, hit with a stick.

The woodcock literally stunned, pauses, stands still in the air, and sverkaet as marmosets. If he is near, at the distance of the shot, the stone falls to the ground. Often young people as it ignores decoy: hears it, but tries to quickly fly past and be away from the source of hostile sound.

The reaction of dominant birds is qualitatively different from that described, although the shape may recall. Aggressive adult male clearly identifies the source of the sound, hears it at a distance of 150 – 200 meters, trying to visually locate and attack an alleged rival. It does deviate from the original path, nose-dive, declining to a height of human growth, lays the turns.


Woodcock was produced from under the counter pointer in the birch forest, overgrown with willow 200-300 m wide in Slavuta, Khmelnitsky region, Ukraine. Remained alive, and I didn’t have the heart to finish it, as it is a very beautiful and interesting bird behavior. Decided to watch it. On the second day he began to eat the worms in the cage took from the hands of the chicken, bacon, snails. Kept it initially together with quails, prepared especially for him the soil with the worms, so that he could get them out of there. But when the snipe pecked at the soil, quail came and took away his food. So he was transplanted into the cell. No one just did not hit the mesh, although able to fly.

If we talk about hunting snipe at us, that three hours of hunting I got 5 woodcock. You can stop at two, but did not do so for the sake of the dog that she enjoyed the hunt (the hunt because we only open on weekends), and because of the fun that delivers incomparable work Poynter. You can get more, but don’t see the point to be greedy.

Author: Visuk Yuri, g. Slavuta, Khmelnitsky region, Ukraine

Not seeing anything, not knowing what was happening, woodcock can sit on the nearest edge, or the bushes, and then walk confidently to head to semolina, to restore order. This is not surprising, when you consider that the male voice on earth sounds like in flight. If the aggressor, having done corresponding to the manipulation and found nothing, not true, and flies away, he well remembers the place – the segment of track where you have imaginary opponents, and in the process thrust, repeatedly returns to and repeats the attempt to find him.

So, our experiment showed that dominant male clearly fixes in memory the place where he heard, saw and attacked the other pulling woodcock. Later, he builds the trajectory of its flight, so hard to control this territory.

Some hunters reported that woodcock don’t care about flying by competitors and that, having met in the air, each continues to fly his way. In the early spring in the period of mass hunting drawn such a picture possible, and most likely when dominant individuals embossed, or ceased operations, and they were replaced by young birds.

I think that now it is clear that the meeting in the air the snipe a meeting discord. It all depends on the date and pull on who’s Dating who.

If the observer is thrust, in order to make an inventory of woodcock, he should not experiment with a decoy. It is not compatible, at least in the beginning of spring and at the third stage thrust, when flying a dominant male. Decoy will distort the thrust of increasing the frequency span excited they are aggressive birds. When working with a decoy some of them, the most aggressive and persistent, ‘ve seen as many as five times a night.

These birds, with bright individuality, we literally learned to learn «in the face» the manner of flight and behavior. In two cases we were lucky: the snipe was with «holes» in the wings, they lacked the feathers.


We have heard the opinion of hunters, sounded extremely skeptical about electronic semolina used by their friends, and say that he scares rather than attracts snipe. I think we were able to convince them otherwise.

A decoy, as a highly harmful device, is prohibited correctly. Its use at certain stages of traction leads to the removal of the most valuable producers, actively participating in reproduction. About the ethical side of hunting with a decoy we not talking.

When comparing the schematic plans of sites for the traction, which caused the flight paths of all birds participating in it, revealed the following picture.

During the spring, change the trajectory of the flight of birds, which deviate from «trunk» (constant from year to year) of the traction paths or routes do not coincide with them. This occurs during the period of participation in the thirst of a large number of young woodcocks. Then traction is detected even where it is at the beginning of the breeding season were not, i.e. where there are no dominant males.

This happens in the North also after or during extreme weather events and in case of death of females on nests after a heavy snowfall and the establishment of a multi-day deep snow cover, as happened in the spring of 2000.

Marina KOZLOVA, Yuri ROMANOV, the science team «Woodcock»

Marina Kozlova March 2015 at 00:00

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