Numbers of American woodcocks (Philohela minor) were held in cages for experimental work lasting several months. Injuries caused by birds attempting to flush were greatly reduced by clipping feathers from one wing, by making cage walls opaque, and by using high cages or false ceilings of fabric. Size of cage was found not to be important, to judge from weight changes, so long as ample food was unmistakably available. Birds were kept in both large and small cages without social conflicts. Cages on the ground proved too unsanitary for long-term use; small steel cages with removable floors were practical but did not solve the sanitation problem. Living earthworms (Lumbricus terrestris) were provided daily in amounts roughly equal to weights of birds. Birds gained on this food when worms were offered in suitable ways. The feeding tray recommended is a large roasting pan with a snap-on metal rim that retards loss of worms. Trays contained moist peat in which birds probed for worms. Two efforts to keep woodcocks on a diet of red worms (Eisenia foetide) were unsuccessful; use of this worm was considered responsible. Woodcocks were handled and transported for short periods with least injury to them when they were rolled individually in soft bags.
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Effects of elk herbivory on vegetation and nitrogen processes