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Evidence is given to support Iow selectivity in choice of nest sites by woodcock (Philohela minor). Habitat characteristics measured at 30 woodcock nest sites were compared with non-nest control sites in Huntingdon County, central Pennsylvania. Mean nest density per year was 1/4.8 ha within the 54-ha study area. Of 14 characteristics measured, higher shrub-stem density at nests was the only variable significantly different (P < 0.05) from controls by univariate t-test. A multivariate t-test showed no significant difference (P > 0.05) between habitat characteristics at nests and controls. A computed discriminant function also indicated little distinction between nests and controls. Spatial distribution of nests for each of the three years did not depart significantly (P :> 0.05) from a random distribution. Although evidence is given for little overall selectivity, greater shrub-stem density at nests and associations related in part to 'edge' habitat may be important in the location of substantial numbers of woodcock nests. The mean distance from nest site to nearest tree (1.0 ? 1.1 m) and to nearest shrub (22.8 ? 17.8 cm) was significantly less (P < 0.01) than for control areas. Additional research on woodcock nest-site selection may lead to enhanced woodcock production in a variety of habitats.
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Federal Government Series
Examination of woodcock nest sites in central Pennsylvania