Band-recovery and wing-collection survey data have the potential to provide information on American woodcock (Scolopax minor) fall migration ecology in the Central Region of the United States, yet researchers have not recently analyzed these extensive data sets. We analyzed all direct recoveries of woodcock banded in Michigan, Minnesota, and Wisconsin, USA, as well as wing-collection survey data, to determine the progression of fall migration, the migration direction, and the final destination of woodcock migrating from these states. We did not observe migration initiation based on band recoveries until late October and early November, with most migration occurring during November. Wing-receipt data showed a similar trend, with most change in mean receipt latitude occurring from 1 November to 5 December. During November, wing receipts were spread through the entire Central Region. By 15–31 December, 92% (n = 26) of band recoveries were on the wintering grounds (south of latitude 33°N). Most banded woodcock from Michigan, Minnesota, and Wisconsin wintered in Louisiana, USA. Woodcock banded in these states will be exposed to harvest for most of the hunting season because they remain in these states through November. If the population status of local birds is a concern, managers should consider this migration pattern when setting season dates.
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Vol. 71 • No. 2