Cooper, T. R., J. R. Kelley, Jr., S. J. Williamson, M. Banker, D. R. Dessecker, D. G. Krementz, D. G. McAuley, W. L. Palmer, and T. J. Post. 2011. Development of habitat goals for the American woodcock conservation plan and recommendations for implementation. Pages 13-23. In (Stewart, C. A., and V. R. Frawley, eds.) Proceedings of the Tenth American Woodcock Symposium, Roscommon, MI. Allen Press, Inc. Lawrence, KS.
American woodcock populations have experience long-term population declines. In response to the declines, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service developed national American woodcock management plans in 1985 and 1900. Both plans outlined general objectives and strategies for woodcock population and habitat management; however, they lacked quantifiable population and habitat goals, or overall objectives to guide woodcock management. In 2002, the Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies charged the Woodcock Task Force (Task Force) to develop a more comprehensive conservation plan. The Task Force used data from the American Woodcock Singing Ground Survey and the U.S. Forest Service's Forest Inventory and Analysis Program to estimate woodcock densities during two time periods: 1970-1975 and 2000-2004. Differences between time periods were used to estimate woodcock population deficits for each Bird Conservation Region (BCR) throughout the species' core breeding range. The Task Force calculated population and habitat goals for each BCR by estimating the amount of habitat that needs to be created to return woodcock densities to levels observed during 1970-1975. We conclude with some recommendations for implementing the American Woodcock Conservation Plan.