R. Montague Whiting Jr.

Population Characteristics of American Woodcock Wintering in Texas

Despite recent stabilization in measured indices, American woodcock (Scolopax minor) populations have demonstrated long-term population declines since 1968 as measured by the Federal Singing-Ground and Wing-Collection surveys. We quantified long-trends in annual sex and age ratios, recruitment index, and changes in body mass of 3,022 woodcock harvested in eastern Texas during winters of 1977-78 through 2002-03. The mean juvenile:adult ratio was 0.58 and none of the annual values exceeded 1.0. This ratio declined significantly over time for females. The male:female ratio for all birds also...


Microhabitat Characteristics of Nocturnal Roost Sites of American Woodcock in East Texas

Long-term declines in American woodcock (Scolopax minor) populations may be partially the result of low survival rates on wintering grounds especially in nocturnal habitats. We compared microhabitat characteristics of woodcock nocturnal roost sites to random sites in eastern Texas. We located woodcock roost points by nightlighting in winters of 2000-01 (45 points) and 2001-02 (74 points). Percentage bare soil, sapling-size tree canopy cover above 0.5 m, and sapling density were greater at roost than random sites. Conversely, shrub ground cover (i.e., below 0.5 m) was lower at roost than...