The Efficacy of Thermal Imaging Technology for Documenting American Woodcock on Pine Stands

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Vol: 65, Issue: 1, Page: 173-175

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Long, A.; Locher, A.
Science and Technology Studies; Zoology
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Thermal imaging technology provides a useful tool to understand nocturnal activity of wildlife. We used thermal imaging to document American woodcock use of pine stands in Arkansas. A thermal imaging camera was used along logging roads on sampling dates ranging from December 2009 – February 2010 and in February 2011. We located 4 woodcock in 2010 in 20.27 hours of sampling within all stand types. For 11.55 h we only sampled pine seedling/clearcut stands due to vegetation structure inhibiting our ability to identify woodcock with the camera. In 2011 we found 2 woodcock in 7.42 hours of sampling on pine seedling/clearcut stands. Detection was highest during the peak in woodcock courtship and it increased by 75% when only pine seedling/clearcut stands were sampled in 2010. We detected almost 2 times as many woodcock per hour in 2010 than 2011. We feel that thermal imaging is a viable tool for documenting woodcock. However, we suggest that a handheld thermal camera be used as this would likely increase woodcock detection.