Little is known about the migration ecology of the American woodcock (Scolopax minor). From 2001 to 2003, we began a 3-year study to document woodcock fall migration routes, rates, and habitat use from Minnesota, Wisconsin, and Michigan, USA. Some 586 radiomarked woodcock initiated migration. During 224 hours of aerial telemetry, we located 42 radiomarked woodcock in 6 states. Using locations of radiomarked birds, we speculated woodcock migration routes in the central United States. Stopover duration often exceeded 4 days, with some birds stopping longer than a week. Radiomarked birds were located in upland habitats more frequently than bottomland habitats, and used a higher proportion of mature forest than expected. A Geographic Information System was used to map potential woodcock habitat in the Central Region. Based on our results, we identified possible fall migration routes and priority areas for woodcock management in the Central Region. Our results should be used by land managers to prioritize future land acquisition and management of woodcock habitat.
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Fall migration and habitat use of American woodcock in the central United States