Together with the British Trust for Ornithology (BTO) Ringing Scheme, the team has so far succeeded in ringing 84 woodcock in mid and west Wales — as many as in the rest of Britain and Ireland combined.Owen, who recently achieved his BTO ringing permit, explained that already the project is generating useful knowledge: “I was out ringing last night and of the eight birds I ringed, one was a retrap of a bird that I had ringed on 13 January last season. It was within yards of where it was last caught. I was absolutely over the moon. It makes sense of the whole project when you can build up information like that.”
The network, which covers the whole of the UK, is now keen to recruit and train others in ringing woodcock. “Shooters in particular seem to be interested in woodcock conservation. A lot of people have already made contact with me, but many more are needed if we are to make a success of the scheme,” said Owen.

The rest of this article appears in 27 November issue of Shooting Times.

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