All Things Maine
All Things Maine

Sunday, October 15, 2006

American Woodcock Losing Cover

It's a rare treat to see a woodcock in the wild, and now I know one reason why: they thrive in young and undeveloped forests.
Woodcock covers are disappearing fast due to suburban sprawl and aging forests, particularly in central and southern Maine.

According to White, a U.S. Department of Agriculture district conservationist in Skowhegan, young forests rarely stay that way -- they are either allowed to grow old, as most farm fields and clear-cuts have in Maine, or they become housing developments. There is little in between.

Declining woodcock populations are the result. Since the 1970s, numbers have dropped steadily, up to four percent per year. [Link]

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