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Monday, October 17 • 4:40pm - 5:00pm
Wildlife. American Woodcock (Scolopax minor) Movement Ecology and Habitat Selection in Louisiana, USA

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AUTHORS: Elisa Elizondo, Louisiana State University; Jeff Duguay, Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries; Bret A. Collier, Louisiana State University

ABSTRACT: The American Woodcock (Scolopax minor) is a game bird species that has experienced steady population declines across its breeding range. Loss of early successional habitat is thought to be one of the greatest drivers of this population decline. Although American Woodcock habitat use and movement has been studied on the breeding grounds, there are few data regarding the migratory and wintering ground habitat use. We conducted a study in Louisiana to assess the habitat use of wintering American Woodcock in the state between November 2015 and February 2016. We utilized backpack style GPS transmitters programmed to record time-specific spatial data during both diurnal and nocturnal periods. We recovered data for 9 woodcock and generated Minimum Convex Polygons (MCPs) for each period (43 diurnal, 49 nocturnal) to estimate day-specific ranges, which I then sampled to identify and evaluate vegetation structure. VHF generated locations and MCPs were sampled for vegetation structure. We found that American Woodcock regularly utilized mixed-pine habitats within 1.5 km of nightly foraging habitat. The overall area covered by GPS-tagged birds was 0.110 ha during the day and 0.239 ha at night. Woodcock moved on average 1.03 km from their diurnal habitat to their nocturnal habitat when moving from a forested area to an open field, a movement attributed to their foraging strategies. These GPS data allowed for a finer scale examination of woodcock movement and habitat use to better inform management decisions.

Monday October 17, 2016 4:40pm - 5:00pm
Riverview B

Attendees (8)