Nesting ecology of American Woodcock in Rhode Island

Justin Moore


The American Woodcock, Scolopax minor, has been studied since the early 1960’s; however, a majority of the studies have been on males with less attention on females and their nesting ecology. The goal of this study was to investigate and document success of the nests of these female woodcock over their entire nesting period along with the females themselves to give insight into how environmental variables come into play in impacting survival of these chicks and female birds. The temperature and precipitation were analyzed during this season using weather software, along with the chick bill length and mortality dates that we calculated ourselves. Other environmental variables that we looked into, including distance to open fields and water were found using the GIS software. This compilation of data allowed us to calculate not only fatality rates of the birds, but also what environmental variables correlated to this mortality. What we discovered is that although we tested multiple variables, distance to openings and time of nesting season were what had the strongest correlation with mortality and success rates (p>0.05). This could vary greatly with a bigger sample size in the future, therefore a greater sample size could result in a more inclusive and thorough investigation of nesting ecology in Rhode Island.