Certain aspects of woodcock usage of summer fields were studied in Maine. Findings were as follows: ....1. On two study fields in 1968, numbers of woodcock first began spending nights in the fields during the second week of June. During 1968 and 1969, the number of birds flushed from the fields varied greatly between nights. Use of fields continued into the first week of November......2. Woodcock started flying into summer fields approximately 26 minutes after sunset. Unless disturbed, birds remained on fields throughout the night and started departing for diurnal covers about 48 minutes before sunrise. The duration of evening and morning flight periods averaged 13 to 15 minutes.....3. Woodcock did not necessarily use the same field throughout the summer. Five of the 36 birds taken as repeats were caught on fields other than where originally banded. However, it was believed that flights to and from fields were essentially local movements.....4. Vegetation appeared to have been a critical factor influencing the distribution of woodcock in fields. Areas of low ground cover interspersed with taller and denser cover were used most frequently.....5. Immatures, especially immature males, were the predominant age-sex class captured on Maine summer fields. The question of whether the age-sex composition of birds using summer fields is atypical of the total woodcock population requires additional study.
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Some patterns of woodcock activities on Maine summer fields