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Breeding woodcock (PhiJohela minor) were studied in North Carolina during the winters and springs of 1974-75 and 1975-76.. Measurements of testes and ovaries from 19 male and 30 female woodcock suggest that gonadal recrudescence in many woodcock occurs on the wintering grounds. In males, testicular recrudescence occurred as early as December and was accompanied by territory selection and courtship activity. Of 15 females collected in February, 5 had shelled eggs in the oviduct. Seven woodcock broods, located from 1 March to 30 April, were banded, aged, and released. From estimated clutch completion dates it appears that broods were successfully hatched from clutches completed as early as 21 January. Because of the early nesting of woodcock in North Carolina, hunters and land managers need to be aware of woodcock breeding habits and their need for protection during late winter.
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Reproductive maturation and breeding of woodcock in North Carolina