Project History

Spring 2018 Update

  • We’ve expanded our evening courtship surveys.  During 2018, we have 3 teams operating independently at each site on the west-east urban gradient. Teams will be monitoring behavior and banding woodcock. Later in the season we will be placing transmitters on woodcock to continue tracking their habitat preferences as long as they remain in the area.

Fall 2017 Update:

  •  Tracking: Continued to monitor transmitting woodcock until departure on fall migration.

Summer 2017 Update:

  • Migration went ~ 2 weeks longer in 2017 compared to 2016. Now that migration has wrapped up, we are focusing on the landscape itself and how the woodcock with transmitters are using it.
  • Tracking:  Six woodcock received transmitters are were monitored from release until they left the site.  Birds were tracked weekly to assess home range and habitat preference.
  • Landscape: Visually, post-industrial landscapes and post-agricultural  landscapes  can be similar. They can be filled with similar plant species. However, other features which may be different across the landscapes may impact survival.  We will investigate these features including earthworm abundance predator presence, and vegetative assemblages.
  • Food availability: We are continuing to sample food availability across the sites monthly.

Spring 2017 Update

  • We focused our evening courtship surveys across three sites on a west-east urban gradient in New Jersey representing, rural suburban, and urban habitat options for woodcock.
  • Courting males: We will use  nocturnal mist-netting to capture males. Captured males will be aged, weighed, banded, and tagged with a radio transmitter. Why do all this?  Age and weight will allow us to understand territory acquisition. Typically older healthier males are capable of defending better territory. If males are older and healthier on one type of site than the  other  this is important for management planning. With sufficient funding we will place tiny radio transmitters on the males. This will allow us to see how many males survive to the following year and if they change territory as they age.

Spring 2016 Update

  • The research team is currently investigating sites throughout Bergen, Passaic, Essex, Hudson, Middlesex, and Morris counties for woodcock populations.  We are looking for sites that are post-agricultural sites — the historical  habitat of woodcock as well as post-industrial landscapes — areas that have been used and abandoned by humans. These sites include brownfield, former industrial sites, landfills, closed superfund sites.