By classifying records of dominant trees and vegetation at count sites into stand types, we were able to examine woodcock densities in relation to different habitats. This revealed that, in conifer forests, stands of Scots/Corsican pine supported higher densities than those of Douglas fir/larches or Norway/Sitka spruce, whereas among deciduous woods, alder/willow had higher densities than oak/ash or beech. Overall alder/willow woodland was the best habitat, supporting woodcock densities eight times higher than in spruce, the worst habitat.
It should be borne in mind that this information relates to displaying males and does not necessarily reflect where females choose to nest, although males are thought to rode most intensively over the best nesting habitats. These results are in broad agreement with our earlier intensive studies of radio-tagged woodcock, which showed that stand use was related to habitat structure and earthworm availability.
Figure 1: Male woodcock density in relation to woodland stand type
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