Krementz, D. G., and E. E. Gbur, Jr. 2011. American woodcock wingbee reliability. Proceedings of the American Woodcock Symposium 10:195-201.
Recruitment indices are estimated annually for the American woodcock (Scolopax minor) using data collected through the Wing-collection Survey. Wings from woodcock harvested by hunters are identified to age and sex by participants at the annual woodcock “wingbee”. Steps are taken to insure that wingbee participants are competent at aging and sexing woodcock wings, but the efficiency of these steps have not been evaluated. We collected data on participants over 6 years to address their reliability in aging and sexing wings. Only about 65% of participants successfully passed a mandatory test in identification skills before scoring wings, and also, only about 60% of participants passed the same test on finishing scoring at the end of the wingbee. The most common mistakes included designating a wing from an immature bird as an adult or misidentifying a female as a male. We make a number of suggestions how to improve the wingbee operation.