If you're lucky enough to spot one of these birds here in Iowa, put on the brakes. They're quite the entertainers.

I must admit I don't believe I've been lucky enough to see one of these in person but after seeing a photo online I decided to do some investigating. What I found can't help but make you smile.

The birds above are the American Woodcock. They have a bill that definitely isn't in proportion to its body. According to the Iowa Department of Natural Resources, the bird is typically 10 to 12 inches long. North Carolina Wildlife says the bill of an American Woodcock is 2 1/2 to 2 3/4 inches long.

Native to Iowa, the DNR says the American Woodcock is uncommon. They live on the ground in the woods, and nest in Iowa between March and June, with peak migration to the south in October and November. As you can see in the photo above, their coloring would make them very difficult to see this time of the year, with all the leaves on the ground.

If you're lucky enough to see an American Woodcock, you'll notice a unique flight path. The Iowa DNR says, "When it takes to flight, it flies straight up before flying outward in an attempt to avoid tree limbs." At dusk, they take to a spiral flight pattern.

Another very unique part of the American Woodcock is the way it walks, or should I say dances. It's definitely my favorite thing about this bird. The National Audubon Society says they're "back-and-forth boogie (is) thought to be a way of rustling up worms. No matter the reason, it's a lot of fun to watch:

It's also a lot of fun when sped up a bit and set to music:

The cry of the American Woodcock even has its own name. It's called a peent:

A simple photograph online led me to discover all of this. Hopefully, you learned something too or, at the very least, got a smile or a giggle out of the American Woodcock. Someday, maybe I'll be lucky enough to see one in person.

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