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Woodcock tracking study aids shooting policies

Scientists from the Game & Wildlife Conservation Trust are using geolocators to track the secretive birds back to their breeding grounds across Scandinavia and Russia in a study that will help to inform future management and hunting policies.

The researchers attached 23 tags to woodcock in Cornwall and four in Wales in February and March 2010 and are busy trying to recapture birds on their wintering areas to download the daily location data.

Once satisfied that the technology works, the researchers hope to attach at least 100 tags per year to migrating woodcock.

Dr Andrew Hoodless, Head of Wetland Research at the GWCT, said: ?We still have limited understanding of certain aspects of the ecology of this fascinating migrant bird and particularly need to build up a more detailed picture of the links between breeding and wintering sites and of migratory routes.?

?This will enable us to evaluate the effects of changes in habitat, climate or hunting pressure at stop-over or wintering areas.?

Anyone who finds one of the geolocators should contact Dr Hoodless on 01425 651031 or email: [email protected]