Krementz, D.G., R. Crossett, and S.E. Lehnen. 2014. Nocturnal Field Use by Fall Migrating American Woodcock in the Delta of Arkansas. Journal of Wildlife Management 78:264-272.
The American woodcock (Scolopax minor) population has declined since the late 1960s across its range and is now considered a species of special concern. Research on woodcock habitat use during migration and migratory routes through the Central Flyway has been limited. We assessed woodcock phenology, estimated density, and nocturnal habitat use in fields on public lands in the lower Mississippi Alluvial Valley portion of Arkansas during November and December of 2010 and 2011. Using ATVs, we surveyed transects in 91 fields of 8 field types, recording the perpendicular distance from the transect centerline for each woodcock observed. Woodcock were detected from the first week in November through the third week in December but in low numbers. No woodcock were detected in millet or rice fields whereas woodcock were most frequently detected and had the highest estimated densities in unharvested soybeans. All other crop type/post-harvest management combinations had lower woodcock densities. No woodcock were detected in fields < 8 ha or > 40 ha. Woodcock in the lower Mississippi Alluvial Valley may benefit from management for unharvested soybean fields of moderate size (~8-40 ha).