- 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.
- Monitor woodcock migration through urban areas using Rutgers University – Newark to determine how the developed coastal environment impacts survivorship during migration.
- Pending the acquisition of funding (fingers crossed!), we hope to identify several promising post-agricultural and post-industrial landscapes to investigate for woodcock. This research will consist of three components:
- 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.
- Nestlings: With funding, we hope to rescue a shelter dog and retrain it to do conservation work. A dog is much better at finding hidden woodcock nests compared to any human. Upon locating nests we can age, sex, band and tag nestlings in order to determine how many nestlings survive in each habitat type and how many return the following year. This informational will allow us to see if young birds can successfully survive in human-altered environments.
- 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 and community, drainage, impervious surface, presence of deer, people, and other predators, etc.
- Continue to monitor woodcock migration through urban areas using Rutgers University – Newark to determine how the developed coastal environment impacts survivorship during migration.
- Relocate returning males by tracking radio transmitters from the previous spring.