Habitat - Roosting Areas

  1. In northern regions, woodcock often leave their daytime feeding habitats at dusk and fly to openings such as clearcuts, old fields, pastures, and barrens, where they spend the night sitting on the ground. The birds usually begin to use roosting fields around the middle of July, and continue using them up to the time of the southward migration. (In southern wintering habitats, woodcock use roosting areas from the time they arrive in late autumn until they leave again the following late winter or early spring.) Woodcock do not generally feed in their nighttime roosting habitats; instead, they are seeking protection from predators. The vegetative structure of a roosting habitat needs to be open enough so that a woodcock can detect and escape ground predators, such as weasels, while offering some overhead protection against aerial predators, such as owls.
  2. What to Look For:
    1. Pastures receiving light to moderate grazing.
    2. Recent clearcuts and log landings.
    3. Newly established or herbicide-released forestry tree plantations.
    4. Revegetating gravel pits.
    5. Blueberry barrens or fields.
  3. Vegetative Structure:
    1. Mainly barren, with a light herbaceous ground cover.
    2. Some bare ground.
    3. Scattered weeds or brambles offering overhead protection.
    4. Clumps of grass rather than unbroken sod.