During hunting seasons from 1959 to 1962, age and sex determined from 45,444 wings were used to measure annual productivity of woodcocks (Philohela minor). Age of birds was determined by pattern and color of secondaries and by wear on primaries. Sex was determined by width and length of primaries. Overall age ratios, weighted by kill estimates, were the same each year and indicated no change in annual productivity. Immature sex ratios in the combined kill were nearly even each year, but kill of adult females was much larger than kill of adult males. The difference in sex ratios between immatures and adults thus suggests higher mortality of males than females after the first hunting season. Since woodcocks are promiscuous, an unbalanced adult sex ratio in favor of females probably does not reduce productivity. There are, however, factors affecting reliability of information deduced from wing collections, and further research is necessary to answer questions on differential vulnerability and mortality rates.
Additional publication details
Results of woodcock wing collections, 1959 to 1962