The woodcock is a species of wader. They are a breeding resident in the UK, with our own population being boosted every autumn by migrants from northern Europe, Scandinavian countries and even Russia. They come here for our milder winter climate to escape the winter freeze, which makes feeding for invertebrates in soft ground impossible. Nocturnal by nature, they spend the day roosting on the ground, dependant on their incredible camouflage which renders a resting woodcock almost impossible to see in deciduous woodland leaf litter. They only take flight at the very last moment, often from almost under foot. They leave their woodland roost sites at dusk, to feed on open moors and heathland all night. During their breeding season, at dusk on any early summers evening, woodcock can be seen “roding” in their distinctive display flight over the wood, calling with their strange unbirdlike croaking whistle, a truly wonderful sight to behold if you are lucky enough to see it.
Woodcock are a sporting gamebird here in the UK, their season is October 1st to Jan 31st, except Scotland, where it starts Sept 1st. They are normally flushed from woodland, along with pheasants on driven days, or they can be walked up over trained gundogs. Flying sometimes low, fast and very erratically “jinking” as they go through the wood, they can be a challenge to the most experienced gun. I have seen them fly the length of the shooting line and escape deservedly unscathed to the bemusement of the line. The elusive “right and left” at a pair of walked up woodcock demands both skill and luck. The privileged few who do achieve it join a very select club, as few guns will even get the opportunity. If the opportunity arises to try it, Woodcock are something of a delicacy, but they are not a huge challenge to cook well and the effort is well worth it should you get one. Recipes are easily found online.
Few taxidermists relish doing woodcock because they have a very thin and fatty skin which, very annoyingly, will tear like wet tissue paper if not treated very delicately throughout the process of mounting. Washing the skin is also an exercise in patience and they can test even the most experienced bird taxidermist. That apart, they are a stunning and unusual bird when mounted well.
This pair are presented to display them in a carefully designed habitat setting. As there were two birds we mounted one to be on the flooded floor of a deciduous wood, the other bird to be rising flying up and away from the scene. The flying pose, with the wings and tail open, shows the truly stunning cryptic camouflage of the woodcock in a dynamic pose. The habitat designed to be more natural and sculptural than the usual token bunch of dead leaves of most woodcock mounts. A large piece like this must be cased to ensure its longevity.
This mount consists of the following components.
Notes on our bespoke glass cases
N.B. We do not use the inferior cheap 2mm glass in our cases. They are structurally inferior and not safe in a domestic situation. Larger cases are in 6mm toughened.
THIS MOUNT IS A COMMISSIONED PIECE AND IS NOT FOR SALE.