Estimating Population Trends in American Woodcock (Scolopax Minor) Using Population Reconstruction Models
West, Brent Hopkins
Bowerman, William W
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The American woodcock (Scolopax minor) population index in North America has declined 0.9% a year since 1968 prompting managers to identify priority information and management needs for the species (Sauer et al 2008). Managers identified a need for a population model that better informs on the status of American woodcock populations (Case et al. 2010). Population reconstruction techniques use long-term age-at-harvest data and harvest effort to estimate abundances with error estimates. Four new models were successfully developed using survey data (1999 to 2013). The optimal model estimates sex specific harvest probability for adult females at 0.148 (SE = 0.017) and all other age-sex cohorts at 0.082 (SE = 0.008) for the most current year 2013. The model estimated a yearly survival rate of 0.528 (SE = 0.008). Total abundance ranged from 5,206,000 woodcock in 2007 to 6,075,800 woodcock in 1999. This study represents the first population estimates of woodcock populations.