How to Evaluate Woodcock Habitat Management: are Landowners the Answer?

  • Anna C. Buckardt Department of Wildlife, Fisheries, and Conservation Biology, University of Maine
  • Amber M. Roth Department of Wildlife, Fisheries, and Conservation Biology and School of Forest Resources, University of Maine
  • Jessica E. Leahy School of Forest Resources, University of Maine

Abstract

Loss of young forest, also termed early successional forest, in North America is negatively impacting wildlife populations that rely on this regenerating forest type, especially birds. The Wisconsin Young Forest Partnership (WYFP) targets young forest management efforts to benefit American woodcock (Scolopax minor; hereafter, woodcock) on private lands in Wisconsin. The WYFP uses an adaptive strategy to iteratively evaluate and adjust their habitat management activities. Citizen science can be a valuable evaluation tool in this process. The WYFP aims to develop a citizen science program whereby landowners monitor woodcock in management areas on their properties. We explored the woodcock monitoring preferences and abilities of landowners through questionnaires, interviews, and pilot woodcock surveying to inform the development of a citizen science woodcock monitoring program. Landowners were enthusiastic about participating in woodcock monitoring. When creating a citizen science program for monitoring woodcock it is important to use English units for estimating distance, evaluate landowners’ physical ability to hear peenting woodcock, provide in-person monitoring training, and have flexible data submittal options. Development of a successful citizen science program for monitoring woodcock requires balancing researcher goals with participant preferences and abilities.

Published
2019-12-02
Section
Communication Strategies