Unusual video! In Savoie, a hunter observes a woodcock perched on the branch of a tree

On April 21, a hunter from Savoie who had gone to observe nature near the town of Ugine, north of Albertville, was surprised to observe and be able to film a male woodcock perched at the top of a tree! A more than unusual behavior for this species, even during the slump. Narrative:

This Wednesday, April 20, 2022, I decide after my working day at the armory ” The Goupil” to Doussard to take a short walk in the mountains on the heights of the town of Ugine in Savoie, in the hazardous search of a deer antler or possibly with the hope of hearing the whistle of a discreet grouse. At 8:30 p.m., I did not find any deer antlers or hear the slightest reminder of grouse, but nevertheless I decide to wait until nightfall for a possible sighting.

So I stay there stationed without moving when my patience is rewarded ten minutes later by creaks that tell me that an animal is approaching. It’s a big boar coming down from the top of the mountain and passing 15 meters in front of me without seeing or feeling me, I film it and at the same time my ear is attracted by the characteristic song of a woodcock that is collapsing !

I am surprised, but delighted to attend so early in the season at an altitude of 1250m this spectacle of males looking for females on the ground at mating time. After 4 quick and active contacts at the height of the fir trees, two singing males who have come closer to the ground and whom I glimpse at the last moment, pass very close to me. It is 8:53 p.m. and it is the last passage of the evening. Very excited after this successful outing, I decided the next day to go back to the scene at the end of the day and I looked around for a clearer place than the day before, in order to have a better field of vision. A small flat clearing in an old cut with regrowth of jobs and raspberry bushes seems to me the ideal place and I post myself at the edge.

“Tssssiiiiii, tssitsitsi, tssssiii”

At last ! A grouse recalls its congener 20 meters from me, without my noticing it, because it is well hidden in the hollow of the branches of a large fir tree. I try to answer her to make her come…oops false note! Conscious of the trickery she takes fright and flies away loudly far from my gaze

8:50 p.m. here is a woodcock that arrives alone, collapsing, it passes twice over my head and the third time it lands at the top of the fir tree, where 1/4 hour earlier the grouse was hidden.

Incredible ! I can not believe it ! A woodcock has just landed at the top of a fir tree (as thrushes do in the evening before going to bed) and is perched without difficulty on this last narrow and vertical branch with the help of its legs which are not prehensile!

I had never heard of this phenomenon! Maybe isn’t it rare?

This male will stay plugged in without any difficulty until nightfall without emitting a single cry, he will sometimes open his wings to restore balance when the wind shakes the tree slightly, but he will give me time to revel in his presence and make videos using my laptop to immortalize this exceptional moment and above all to testify to this observation when I tell it.

It’s really dark now, I can’t see it anymore, when a flapping of wings tells me that the bird has finally left its perch and it’s time for me to come home by the light of my lamp. frontal!

Business to follow therefore because I have every intention of returning several times in the spring in these places with the hope of seeing again this male with such strange behavior!!! »

Tom Goussain

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