Study reveals woodcock wintering grounds

Study reveals woodcock wintering grounds

They are part of an ongoing review of the migratory forest birds that hopes to drop a lot more light on habitat requires, not only the place they nest in the summer time, but also wherever they spend almost half the calendar year down south.

3 woodcock hens were being fitted with little satellite transmitters final summer season around Hackensack, Minnesota. One disappeared within a week, with no indication of the transmitter. But the other two survived, taking care of to avoid predators all summer season and hunters in the slide, with just one now wintering around Shreveport, Louisiana, and the other not considerably absent near Texarkana, Texas.

Debbie Petersen retains an grownup feminine woodcock she captured in close proximity to Hackensack, Minn., in summer season 2021 so it could be equipped with a satellite transmitter. The antenna from the transmitter can be noticed sticking out over and above the bird’s tail feathers. The transmitter is supplying places for the bird every single five days, displaying it paying out the winter season in the Gulf Coastline location.
Contributed / Debbie Petersen

Two young obtained their transmitters in September in the vicinity of Remer, Minnesota. A person is now wintering around Muskogee, Oklahoma. The other is the outlier in the team, heading east to Ohio ahead of heading south to expend the winter season in Alabama.

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Minnesota woodcock usually will remain north until snow handles the ground, and consequently handles their source of earthworms to take in. They will return north in late March or early April.

The study, headed by Alexis Grinde at the University of Minnesota Duluth’s Purely natural Means Research Institute, begun in 2019. It’s been deciphering the form of forest that woodcock require to raise their youthful and identified that the tiny birds with the extensive expenditures need to have plenty of logs and branches on the floor to disguise from predators.

The unique analysis made use of shorter-length radio transmitters to track the birds across a rather compact area near their nests for just a several months. Now, satellite transmitters will provide exact, prolonged-distance places each and every 5 days for practically a calendar year.

Scientists realized Minnesota woodcock liked the Gulf Coast in standard in wintertime. But it hadn’t been distinct exactly where by they go and what type of habitat they use when they get there.

The birds didn’t choose long to make their vacation south. Because the transmitters report only as soon as every 5 days, to preserve battery existence, it’s unclear accurately how direct their flights have been, but they took between five and 15 days to vacation about 1,000 miles.

Debbie Petersen holds an adult hen woodcock that she and her Gordon setter, Bogie, found and captured. The bird was fitted with a satellite transmitter that is reporting the bird's location every five days.  
Contributed / Ashley Peters, Ruffed Grouse Society

Debbie Petersen retains an adult hen woodcock that she and her Gordon setter, Bogie, discovered and captured. The hen was equipped with a satellite transmitter that is reporting the bird’s location each individual 5 days.
Contributed / Ashley Peters, Ruffed Grouse Society

“It’s appealing that a few of them ended up pretty close to each individual other. … Then we have that other immature male fly way off to the east, in close proximity to Columbus, Ohio, prior to likely south,’’ Debbie Petersen reported.

Petersen, a certified bird bander, science trainer and naturalist from Walker, Minnesota, has educated her Gordon setter hunting canine to come across woodcock not just in the fall for activity, but in the spring and summer time for analysis. It is the dog’s skill to locate the birds, and Petersen’s ability at capturing them by hand or in nets, that permits researchers to attach the transmitters to analyze the birds.

The transmitters weigh just 4.1 grams, or .15 ounce. An common woodcock weighs about 7 ounces. The units are mounted to the fowl with a product built to have on out so the transmitter falls off just after numerous months.

Gary Meader / Duluth News Tribune

Gary Meader / Duluth Information Tribune

The total goal of the research was to uncover out why woodcock are performing rather properly in northern Minnesota forests, but are declining steadily throughout much of their U.S. variety. It appears that Minnesota presents enough young forests, produced by continual logging and the demand of the region’s wood products business, which can help build just one vital element of woodcock habitat.

The birds seem to be to do greatest wherever they can get to many distinctive styles of forest in close proximity — youthful, medium and previous trees, massive and small, made use of for feeding, nesting and go over at various times of summer time and early drop. If researchers can figure out what varieties of forest habitat market much better nesting and survival, then they can provide those people results to foresters and land administrators to assistance preserve the species in other states, Grinde reported.

Now, with satellite transmitters, the aim is to “fill in even a lot more of the unknowns about the existence cycle of this chicken,” Grinde said. “We know what type of habitat they nest in. But we genuinely did not know anything at all about what variety of places they want the rest of the calendar year.”

Grinde mentioned the facts presented by the satellite transmitters presently has revealed an interesting quirk. Two of the woodcock in the examine 1st flew farther north in Minnesota just before later on heading south. It’s not known if this is an unusual go or is a popular characteristic maybe birds scouting out new territory for nesting the next 12 months.

A tiny satellite transmitter fitted on a Minnesota woodcock in summer 2021 as part of an ongoing Natural Resources Research Institute study. The female bird is spending the winter in the Gulf Coast region, with the transmitter sending location reports every five days. 
Contributed / Ashley Peters, Ruffed Grouse Society

A little satellite transmitter fitted on a Minnesota woodcock in summer season 2021 as portion of an ongoing Normal Means Research Institute study. The woman bird is paying the winter season in the Gulf Coastline location, with the transmitter sending area studies every 5 times.
Contributed / Ashley Peters, Ruffed Grouse Modern society

“We’re also looking at some actually wonderful-degree knowledge on where they are shelling out the winter,’’ Grinde explained, noting the researchers get exact places from the transmitters and then can test these spots on Google Earth and other land address web sites.

“There’s one of them hanging out in what appears to be like like a housing growth. … And we’re contemplating, what the heck is it doing there?’’ Grinde said. “But the other ones are in what glimpse like wildlife administration places, places the place you may possibly anticipate them to be.”

John Myers stories on the outdoor, surroundings and pure assets for the Duluth News Tribune. He can be achieved at [email protected].