In October of 1997, a woodcock hunter phoned and told me that he had bagged a banded woodcock in Pierreville (Quebec). This band was special, for it was two color. I quickly researched the Internet, I've sent an e-mail to the CWS "Canadian Wildlife Services" (Canada) and USFWLS (USA).. The CWS answered: no woodcock was banded with color bands in Canadian territory. Upon my next investigation, the USFWLS told me that this bird might have been banded in Massachusetts or Maine. Two possible American banders would have installed these special bands. Both use color bands: blue and white. In Massachusetts he uses plastic bands, in Maine he uses metal bands.
To make this story short, this woodcock was banded in Massachusetts. It's amazing, this woodcock was born and banded in Massachusetts and was recovered 300 miles up North in Quebec. This is not the first time woodcocks have been recovered in Quebec that had been banded the same year in the U.S. My question is: what's the percentage figure of juvenile woodcocks born in the U.S.? Particularly the ones in New England that fly up North in Quebec?
I have subscribed to a news group from France on the Internet that is dedicated to the European Woodcock. In mid November of 1999, I read a e mail from a French hunter who came to Quebec in the fall of 1999 for a Woodcock hunt. He brought back his Woodcocks to France and noticed that one of his birds had a band. He ask if anyone could help him find out more about this band. I replied to his e mail informing him that I have been banding Woodcocks since 1983, and that I would be pleased to fill in the formalities for him such as; name, address, circumstances, when and where the bird was recovered, routine stuff. I filed the form using his name, so that he could receive the certificate of appreciation at home in France. For strange reasons, on December 22,1999, I received in the mail his certificate of appreciation to my name. On the certificate the information was as follows:
Banding date: 15/02/1992. Location: West Virginia. Hatching date: spring of 1991.
If we add, date of birth and the date at which this Woodcock was recovered, we get a mere 8½ years. This is a record of longevity for a Woodcock, especially when we know that the average Woodcock has a life span of two years. I have been hunting Woodcocks since 1971, and I have never seen the likes of a Woodcock living that long. This Woodcock was banded in Virginia, and was bagged in St-Just de Bretenières (Quebec), close to the border of Maine. This is a good example of retro-migration.
On December 27, 1999, I wrote a letter to Mrs. Suzan Rice, the lady who banded the hen, to let her know that the bird she banded on the 15 of February 1992 was recovered in St-Just de Bretenières, (Quebec) the second week of October 1999. On December 29, 1999, Mr. Gérard Sanglerat sent me an e-mail to inform me that he had received Mrs. Rice’s certificate of appreciation.
About woodcock retro migration in Quebec. Three birds were killed in the Lanaudiere and Low Laurentides regions.
September 2, 1999 - 2 woodcocks from New Brunswick.
November 1, 2000 - 1 woodcock from Main
One of my woodcock correspondents who live in Pennsylvania baged two woodcocks' in the fall "2000".
This is Richard's adventure with "Dover" his English setter.
Michel, I have had my English setter, Dover, since I got him as a 7 week old pup on May 8, 1995. From the very beginning I wanted him to be a woodcock dog before all else. I was fortunate to have a good cover that recieves migratory birds in both the spring and fall located just 1/4 mile from my house. This made training for woodcock a lot easier. Dover was up to the task and became a wizard on woodcock. To this point he has 765 productive points on 'cock. This past season marked our 4th trip to the U.P. of Michigan, hunting the area East of Crystal Falls in Iron and Dickinson Counties. We left the cabin on the morning of Oct 8th having teamed up on 203 woodcock combined in our home state of PA and our trips to Michigan. In all these birds we had never as much as seen a banded bird. We hunted an area that morning that was one of the study areas involved in the Northern Michigan University woodcock research program. We had been hunting about 15 minutes when Dover went on point. I moved in and flushed the bird and got it with my 28 ga Arietta. Dover made the retrieve and I let out a whoop as I saw it had a band. We moved on and about 10 minutes later he pointed again. I got this one also and let out an even bigger yell as it was also banded. To go 203 birds with no band and then get two back to back was special. I phoned the band info in to the FWS but when I got the return info on the bands the letter stated that they had been banded fairly recent and the info was not returned as yet from the bander. I have not heard anything further. I am quite proud of him. Richard Miller Cranberry PA
One of my woodcock correspondents Mr. Edward Alsteens who lives in Michigan U.P.baged one woodcock on October 1, 1996.
It was one of those Indian summer days, bright blue skies with an occasional cloud slowly drifting by. The slight breeze was just enough to make the remaining leaves on the popple trees seem to shimmer.
I was hoping the scenting conditions would be good enough for Trigger, my 2- year old German shorthaired pointer, to locate a few woodcocks.
I put Triggers beeper collar on and loaded up my well-worn 870 with #7 1/2's. Although the grouse numbers are at there lowest there is always a chance to flush a few.
A few minutes into the sea of aspen Triggers collar switched to the point mode. I make my way to him and his body told me the bird was close. As I closed the distance the whirl of wings came from between us. It went almost straight up and just as it reached the tops of the trees I touched off the shot. A small puff of feathers confirmed the shot had hit its mark.
Trigger quickly located and brought to my hand our prize. As I admired the beauty of the timberdoodle I noticed its jewelry. It had been banded! This was my first banded and it brought me a great deal of pleasure to know someone else had the chance to enjoy this wonderful bird.
When I returned home I removed the band and called the USFWS to report the numbers on the band. I then placed the band on my lanyard as a momento.
Approximately 6 weeks later I received a letter from the USFWS & Canadian Wildlife Service thanking me for the information I provided. I also received a certificate with the information about the bird and when it was banded.
The woodcock was a 3 year old female. It was banded near Ralph, a small town in Michigan's Upper Peninsula. Ralph is about 15 miles from where Trigger and I were hunting. Three years of migrating and ending up approximately 15 miles from its birthplace is something that still fascinates me.
It has been over 4 years since that day but it is a day that will never be forgotten. Each time I slip on my lanyard I am reminded of just how fortunate I have been.
A French woodcock hunter sent me this e mail about a bagged woodcock he baged in France.
On 31 01 99 I bagged a woodcock at Calvisson in south France. She had been badgged in Smolensk in S.E of Moscow on 26.09.98. A distances 2818 km in 127 days.