May 21, 2012 — Every spring, a Department of Environmental Conservation biologist drives along north country highways at dawn or dusk, stopping every so often to pull over and listen. They're listening for the distinctive "peent" of the singing American woodcock, a brown speckled bird a little larger than a songbird with a long, narrow beak for pulling earthworms out of the ground.
The little game bird is under threat New York state, and the survey each year is meant to get a handle on what population trends are in this region. DEC regional spokesman Stephen Litwhiler is the happy host to several of the birds in his backyard in southern Jefferson County. He says the birds' appearance each year is his personal "harbinger of spring."
For this Heard Up North, reporter Joanna Richards donned camouflage and hid behind the birds' favorite tree in Litwhiler's backyard to get a close-up look - and listen. Go to full article