One of the smallest birds you can find on the Salem campus is the American Woodcock:
(Original image licensed Creative Commons Attribution)
What They Look Like: These little birds are kind of fat with no neck showing. They have a very long bill, like a sandpiper, that can dig up earthworms easily. They are usually brown and black all over, but they have been seen with a white belly.
Most of the time, these birds are hard to spot because of their camouflage skills. You will most likely see them either in the morning time or dusk, but rarely the afternoon.
Where You’ll See Them: This tiny bird is very hard to find, but if you do it’ll probably be on or near the ground. They also lay their eggs on the ground or in the soil. They live all through forests, mostly near water. This is why the forest behind our school is the perfect environment for these birds.
What They Eat: Woodcocks are supposedly omnivores, but they are seldom seen eating plants. They enjoy earthworms, centipedes, spiders, beetles and many others.
What They Sound Like: These birds are only heard at dusk or during the night in the forest. Only males call, usually sounding like chirping. We did not hear their call, but we did spot one on the forest floor near the “scum pond”.
Written by Bennie G.