Saturday, January 8, 2011

Ornicopia 2: Is it true that a woodcock sings with its wings?


American Woodcock

578.  Is it true that a woodcock sings with its wings?

Many birds produce very musical sounds with their wings.  A mourning dove generally leaves its perch with loudly whistling wings, and a duck called the goldeneye produces such a loud sweet sound with its wings that hunters call it the "whistler".  The woodcock has an elaborate flight song and a good part of the twittering musical sounds are actually produced by air rushing through the special stiff, attenuated outer wing feathers.

Goldeneye Duck


Mourning Dove

579.  What bird sings with its tail? 

One may say the common snipe sings with its tail.  On rapidly vibrating wings, it gives its flight song high above the marsh.  It circles around and around, periodically dashing downward and producing an eerie ventriloquistic sound, as the air rushes past its unique rigid outer tail feathers.

Common Snipe

From:  1001 Questions Answered About Birds by Allan D. Cruickshank and Helen G. Cruickshank (Toronto, General Publishing Company, 1958)

Goldeneye family crossing the road

Video: The Lovely Goldeneye Courtship
Video: Common Snipe In Regent's Park
Video: American Woodcock (Move It, Move It)
Video: Mourning Dove on a brisk winter's day

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