Last time I wrote on early territorial calling behavior, several people wrote and "definitively" asserted that this breeding behavior is day light-dependent. ...but if it is "definitively" dependent on the amount of light in a day, then why would the woodcock be showing up a week or so earlier?Could there be a gene that tells a woodcock to migrate when the fat reserves are high enough? and if these woodcocks are from a coastal location, as suggested by Pete, then it seems to me that the coastal woodcocks are responding to temperature, or is this a random group of woodcocks who have enough fat reserves and are willing to be hungry in order to get the best breeding spot, so.... maybe it's worth it? And are they eating if they show up in a snow storm? Very interesting to ponder!
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