Woodcock Singing Grounds and Diurnal Habitat in North Central Oklahoma

The use of tall grass prairie singing sites and associated diurnal habitat by American woodcock was analyzed on the Oklahoma State University Ecology Preserve near Stillwater, Payne County, Oklahoma. The effect on woodcock use of breeding display habitat via artificially creating singing sites by mowing was observed in conjunction with an extensive study of display behavior. Woodcock preferred sparsely vegetated singing sites, regardless of their floral composition, aspect, shape, size, area, perimeter, soil texture, and pH. Preferred singing sites were well drained, had moderate slopes and were close to water or diurnal cover. Distances between singing grounds ranged from 150 to 300m. The mowing of plots proved successful in setting back succession and creating new display sites. The essential components ofdiumal habitat were moderately dense over story and understory, adequate ground cover, and moist loamy soil. Overgrazing appeared to be incompatible with good diurnal woodcock cover.

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