The Wildlife Management Institute and a host of partners – federal and state agencies, wildlife interest groups, municipalities and land trusts, and private companies and individuals – are working to create habitat for woodcock and other young-forest wildlife in eastern North America.
This effort is an early but large step in implementing the Woodcock Conservation Plan developed by the Woodcock Task Force and published by the Wildlife Management Institute in 2008.
Partners have set up more than 100 demonstration areas where foresters, habitat managers, and landowners can go see young-forest (or early successional) habitat created by up-to-date management techniques – habitat that has already begun boosting populations of woodcock, golden-winged warblers, New England cottontails, and more than 50 other species of mammals, birds, reptiles, and amphibians.
As of early 2010, partners have already created, restored, or improved more than 100,000 acres of young-forest and scrub-shrub habitat. Funding has come from the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation, the federal government, and a variety of other sources.
Four regional habitat efforts have been launched: the Northern Forest Woodcock and Young Forest Initiative (New England, the Adirondacks, and Atlantic Canada); the Appalachian Mountains Woodcock and Young Forest Initiative (southern New York, much of Pennsylvania, and parts of Maryland, West Virginia, Ohio, and Virginia); the Upper Great Lakes Woodcock and Young Forest Initiative (Michigan, Wisconsin, and Minnesota); and the Atlantic Coast Woodcock and Young Forest Initiative (coastal Maine south to the Delmarva Peninsula and mainland Maryland and Virginia bordering Chesapeake Bay).
More regional initiatives will soon come online across the woodcock’s range, which stretches from New Brunswick west to the Mississippi River and south to the Gulf Coast states.
Biologists have identified specific types of habitat – for breeding, feeding, rearing young, and roosting – that woodcock need. Radiotelemetry studies and population monitoring efforts bolster the science that is driving this continental habitat-creation effort.
A website, www.timberdoodle.org, explains the woodcock’s plight and details ways of improving and creating habitat for this beautiful bird and the guild of other wildlife species with which it shares the landscape.