Woodcock are solitary for the most part except at mating time or during
migration, and it is worth commenting on the activities of the males of
the species at mating time, because it is at this time that researchers
have established that the act of "Roding" which is the term
given to the activities of male woodcock when they patrol their territory
at dawn and dusk during the mating season?
They fly slowly across the tree line and are known to utter a series of
sounds such as a croak to a shrill whistle, I personally have never heard
this sound but there is plenty of evidence to support this activity, dominant
males use this display to entice females to mate with them and to dissuade
lesser males which are in the area and are lower down the pecking order
from invading his selected area.
At this point it is worth mentioning the phenomenon of woodcock carrying
their young away from danger, there is ample evidence from reliable individuals
who have seen this most unusual defence mechanism at work, from game-keepers
and country folk, to wildlife-artists all have given eyewitness accounts
of woodcock lifting their chicks, held firmly between their upper/legs
and depositing them to an apparent position of safety and then returning
to remove the remaining chicks to safety.
There are those who have never seen this extraordinary sight and are sceptical
and possibly rightly so, but like the elusive left and right you never
know when it will appear in front of you.