American woodcock (Scolopax minor) population indices have declined since U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) monitoring began in 1968. Management to stop and/or reverse this population trend has been hampered by the lack of recent information on woodcock population parameters. Without recent information on survival rate trends, managers have had to assume that the recent declines in recruitment indices are the only parameter driving woodcock declines. Using program MARK, we estimated annual survival and recovery rates of adult and juvenile American woodcock, and estimated summer survival of local (young incapable of sustained flight) woodcock banded in Michigan between 1978 and 1998. We constructed a set of candidate models from a global model with age (local, juvenile, adult) and time (year)-dependent survival and recovery rates to no age or time-dependent survival and recovery rates. Five models were supported by the data, with all models suggesting that survival rates differed among age classes, and 4 models had survival rates that were constant over time. The fifth model suggested that juvenile and adult survival rates were linear on a logit scale over time. Survival rates averaged over likelihood-weighted model results were 0.8784 +/- 0.1048 (SE) for locals, 0.2646 +/- 0.0423 (SE) for juveniles, and 0.4898 +/- 0.0329 (SE) for adults. Weighted average recovery rates were 0.0326 +/- 0.0053 (SE) for juveniles and 0.0313 +/- 0.0047 (SE) for adults. Estimated differences between our survival estimates and those from prior years were small, and our confidence around those differences was variable and uncertain. juvenile survival rates were low.
Additional publication details
Survival and recovery rates of American woodcock banded in Michigan