Aerial photography from the late 1960's and the late 1970's was used to study habitat changes along 78 American woodcock (Scolopax minor) singing-ground routes in 9 northeastern states. The most noticeable changes were declines in the amount of abandoned field, cropland, shrubland, and field/pasture. The amount of land in the urban/industrial type increased 33.4% from the late 1960's to the late 1970's. We examined relationships between the woodcock call-count index and habitat variables using multiple-regression techniques. The abundance of calling male woodcock was positively correlated with the amount of abandoned field and alder (Alnus sp.) and negatively correlated with the amount of urban/industrial type. However, only the change in the urban/industrial type was significantly (P < 0.05) related to the change in the call-count index. Urban/industrial area increased, whereas the call-count index declined on average in our sample of routes by 1.4 birds/route (40.5%).
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Woodcock singing-ground counts and habitat changes in the northeastern United States