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Wildlife Outreach Program

  • birding
    Looking for birds at the Great Swamp Management Area.
  • buck hill
    A school group takes a closer look at wildlife habitat
  • RISD
    Public discussion on wildife in urban areas at RISD.
  • scouts
    A scouting group explores the outdoors!

The Division of Fish and Wildlife began our Wildlife Outreach Program in 2017. We serve students, families, hunters, and the public through a variety of unique, enjoyable programs. These programs provide participants with information about Rhode Island’s wildlife species and the work being done by our dedicated staff to protect, restore, and manage our state’s precious wildlife resources.

If you are interested in receiving updates about wildlife conservation and events through the Wildlife Outreach Program, as well as the Hunter Education, Aquatic Resource Education, and Volunteer Programs, be sure to sign up for our monthly outreach email newsletter! Subscribe here

Thanks to the Wildlife and Sport Fish Restoration Program and the RI State Wildlife Grant, all Wildlife Outreach programs are FREE of charge, including all materials.


PUBLIC OUTREACH

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Rev. 7/16/20

Wild RI Explorer
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Species Spotlight

AMERICAN WOODCOCK

Photo credit: Gerald Krausse

AMERICAN WOODCOCK (Scolopax minor)

HABITAT: American woodcock rely on a patchwork of different habitats that are located close together. They use young forest for breeding, wetlands and stream banks for feeding, and open fields for springtime mating displays.

FOOD: Woodcock use their long, flexible beak to probe in the mud for earthworms and other invertebrates like ants, snails, millipedes, spiders, and beetles.

FUN FACTS:

  • The American woodcock has many folk names, including timberdoodle, mudbat, Labrador twister, and bogsucker.
  • There are many videos of woodcock bobbing up and down, walking slowly while tapping their feet gently on the ground. This might seem like a funny way to walk. Some videos even have jazzy background music for comedic effect! However, this weird walk serves a purpose. It is thought that the bobbing and silly footwork actually serve to disturb worms in the soil, making them easier for the bird to find.
  • In the spring, male woodcock perform their annual "sky dance," sending out their buzzing "peent" calls at sunset, and then spiraling high into the air with a twittering of wings. It is amazing to witness!

Conservation Status in RI: The American woodcock is listed as a Species of Greatest Conservation Need in Rhode Island. This species is popular among hunters and birders alike, but is experiencing declines across its entire range due to habitat loss. The Young Forest Project is a collaborative effort among Northeastern states to improve and create young forest habitat for woodcock and other species. To learn more about our work on this project, visit: https://youngforest.org

Contact Wildlife Outreach Program
Mary Gannon, Wildlife Outreach Coordinator
Great Swamp Headquarters
277 Great Neck Rd., West Kingston 02892
Phone: (401) 789-0281
Mary.Gannon@dem.ri.gov