Do singing-ground surveys reflect american woodcock abundance in the western Great Lakes region?

Wildlife Society Bulletin
By:  and 

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Abstract

The Singing-ground Survey (SGS) is the primary monitoring tool used to assess population status and trends of American woodcock (Scolopax minor). Like most broad-scale surveys, the SGS cannot be directly validated because there are no independent estimates of abundance of displaying male American woodcock at an appropriate spatial scale. Furthermore, because locations of individual SGS routes have generally remained stationary since the SGS was standardized in 1968, it is not known whether routes adequately represent the landscapes they were intended to represent. To indirectly validate the SGS, we evaluated whether 1) counts of displaying male American woodcock on SGS routes related to land-cover types known to be related to American woodcock abundance, 2) changes in counts of displaying male American woodcock through time were related to changes in land cover along SGS routes, and 3) land-cover type composition along SGS routes was similar to land-cover type composition of the surrounding landscape. In Wisconsin and Minnesota, USA, counts along SGS routes reflected known American woodcock-habitat relations. Increases in the number of woodcock heard along SGS routes over a 13-year period in Wisconsin were related to increasing amounts of early successional forest, decreasing amounts of mature forest, and increasing dispersion and interspersion of cover types. Finally, the cover types most strongly associated with American woodcock abundance were represented along SGS routes in proportion to their composition of the broader landscape. Taken together, these results suggest that in the western Great Lakes region, the SGS likely provides a reliable tool for monitoring relative abundance and population trends of breeding, male American woodcock.

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Additional publication details

Publication type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Title Do singing-ground surveys reflect american woodcock abundance in the western Great Lakes region?
Series title Wildlife Society Bulletin
DOI 10.1002/wsb.288
Volume 37
Issue 3
Year Published 2013
Language English
Publisher Wildlife Society Bulletin
Contributing office(s) Coop Res Unit Leetown
Description 11 p.
First page 585
Last page 595
Country United States
State Minnesota, Wisconsin
Online Only (Y/N) N
Additional Online Files (Y/N) N