Woodcock watch

Game & Wildlife Conservation Trust

Game & Wildlife Conservation Trust logo

The Game & Wildlife Conservation Trust are running a project called Woodcock Watch following a number of woodcocks as they travel around Europe and beyond.

Using satellite tracking systems, tagged birds can be followed as they journey; this information is then used to generate KML files which power the website map and can be also be used in Google Earth (click here for the latest KML).

As stated on the project website:

Among some conservationists, the conservation status of woodcock is causing concern. In the UK we have a traffic light system for birds. Birds in the red category are in serious decline, while birds in the green category are of no concern. Woodcock are amber listed.

There has been a reported 86% decline in numbers between 1970 and 2007 and a 31% decline between 1968 and 1991. We expect to see greater declines in range when the next Bird Atlas is published in 2013.

Before our work, the national breeding population was thought to be between 5000 and 12500 pairs. In our last survey our estimate was 78,000 pairs. So some of these figures, although the best available, may need to be viewed with some caution.

What research do we need to do? We need to better understand the conservation status of woodcock and have a better estimate of their distribution and abundance. We particularly need to know what impacts, if any, shooting has on the conservation status of the bird.

You can follow the birds on the project website and even sponsor one or more of them, helping to contribute to this important research.