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The Game & Wildlife Conservation Trust (GWCT) and the British Trust for Ornithology (BTO) is seeking 1,000 volunteers to help count birds for the national woodcock survey in May and June.

GWCT ecologist Dr Andrew Hoodless said: “Our first national survey [in 2003] posed some interesting questions about abundance. In our repeat survey this year, we need to identify why Wales and south-west England support so few breeding woodcock and why areas such as Kent and Hertfordshire appear to hold rather low densities of woodcock despite having relatively large areas of woodland.”

Dr Hoodless, who is a world authority on woodcock, added: “This countrywide survey will help us measure the change in the size of the breeding woodcock population since our first major count. This will help us produce new country population estimates and assess breeding distribution and abundance changes in detail.

“Woodcock have very specific habitat requirements in the breeding season and the survey will enable us to investigate how changes in woodland habitat and general land use over the past 10 years have affected their numbers.”

The rest of this article appears in the 13th February issue of Shooting Times.

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