A federal grant from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is allowing researchers at the University of Arkansas to track the American woodcock, which has been slowly disappearing across North America.
A long-range decline in population of the woodcock across eastern North America since the 1960s, has prompted research scientists to track the bird in an effort to understand its migratory behavior.
Since little is known about the American woodcock during its migratory period, birds have been trapped and fit with satellite transmitters so they can be studied extensively.
Though the woodcock has been studied in its breeding and wintering grounds, its migratory habits are what scientists know the least about.
Professor David Krementz, research biologist at the University of Arkansas said; “Understanding woodcock migration is a conservation priority because its migratory period is believed to be a period of high mortality.”
The data learned from tracking can be used to identify priority land management and habitat acquisition, thereby fine-tuning hunting seasons along migration routes.
Since the project began, a website has been created to show up-to-date locations of tagged American woodcocks across North America.