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American Woodcock Habitat Occupancy and Migratory Origins in East Texas

Dan Sullins, M.S. Student
Stephen F. Austin State University

Project Supervisors:
Dr. Warren Conway
Dr. David Haukos

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
U.S. Geological Survey Stephen F. Austin State University

Texas Chenier Plain NWR Complex
Dr. Dan Collins
Patrick Walther

North America

December 2013

Recruitment index of American woodcock wintering in east Texas from 1978 – 2003.

Status: Completed

Measure patch occupancy of wintering American woodcock
Using band recovery and isotope data, determine harvest derivation for southern wintering grounds.

Progress and Results:
I am examining landscape scale American woodcock habitat use and availability during winter in East Texas. Specifically, I am quantifying and estimating occupancy and presence of American woodcock on 24 unique survey plots on public and private forest lands, using a trained pointing dog on GPS-tracked surveys. From these data, I will estimate survey area, detection rates, occupancy, and woodcock density as related to habitat quality and quantity as estimated using a revised habitat suitability index for wintering woodcock in the region. Finally, in an attempt to characterize migratory origins and connectivity, I am using stable isotopes from nationally harvested subadult woodcock, to delineate migration corridors and connections between natal and wintering grounds. Combined, these data will be important in updating and validating winter habitat models and migratory corridors for American woodcock.

Products Since 2010:
Sullins, D., W. Conway, C. Comer, K. Hobson, and I. Wassenaar. 2013. American woodcock connectivity as indicated by hydrogen isotope. Annual Meeting of The Texas Chapter of The Wildlife Society, Houston, Texas.

Sullins, D.A., W. Conway, and D. Haukos. 2012. American woodcock (Scolopax minor) habitat suitability and occupancy in eastern Texas. 48th Annual Meeting, Texas Chapter of The Wildlife Society, Fort Worth, Texas.