Timberdoodling Time

COOKOUT AND TIMBERDOODLING-18 MARCH

The Friends of Turkey Run and Shades St. Parks will have their 3rd annual Timberdoodle outing on 18 March at Shades St. Park to hear and see American Woodcocks perform their spring courtship ritual. The birds have cooperated quite well the past two years, even landing almost at our feet.

These birds can be heard at dusk and dawn in late winter through mid-spring giving their “peent” calls prior to rising into the air in twittering flight, circling, and returning to their starting point. They are classified with shorebirds but are usually seen away from lakes and ponds, nesting in damp woodlands such as occur near the entrance to Shades St. Park where they probe the soil for earthworms and such with their long, flexible-tipped bill. They are very difficult to see as their cryptic plumage is perfect camouflage for living on the ground among leaf litter and debris. Due to their crepuscular habits, their eyes are proportionately large and are set closer to the back of the head than the front, allowing them almost 180-degree field of vision on each side to watch for predators while probing their bill three-four inches in the ground. When caught in the open or drawing attention from young they do what is called a “swivel walk” involving taking a step then swaying the entire body forward and back, taking a second step, swaying, and repeating until out of danger.

All activities will begin and end at the Pine Shelter parking lot just north of the gatehouse.

Schedule

4:00 p.m. – Trail cleanup or leisurely hike.

6:00 p.m. – Weiner Roast – join us for hot dogs and more.

7:00 p.m. – check out progress of nesting Bald Eagles up the road at Lake Waveland or look for owls in

pines.

c. 8:00 p.m. – Timberdoodling – we will position ourselves in the middle of the courting grounds

where the American Woodcock begin courting at sunset.

Be prepared for cold or wet conditions with proper footwear and clothing.

Weiners, drinks, plates, condiments and eating utensils will be provided. Please bring your favorite cookout finger food to share.

We look forward to spending an evening with you. We hope you will join us for what has been a very enjoyable experience.

In order to help us prepare food and to allow us to notify you if the weather causes us to cancel the event, please let us know if you plan to attend. But don’t stay home if you forget to notify us!

Alan W. Bruner – Chair, Friends of Turkey Run and Shades St. Parks. abbird@att.net (765-562-2741).