20/10/2015

Woodcock decline: our letter to The Times

Woodcock 1-wwwlauriecampbellcomSir,

We must thank the sporting community for initiating and funding most of our existing knowledge of woodcock (Nature Notebook, Oct 17).

The recorded decline in the resident population appears to be driven by changes in their forest habitat. To put it simply, further restricting shooting will not recover the species. To reverse declines we must start focusing on how to adapt our woodlands.

It would be ironic if, as suggested by Sir Hew Pike, we were to remove the sporting interest to fund this essential research and the motive to adapt our forestry to recover this elusive and cryptic bird.

Andrew Gilruth
Director of Communications, Marketing & Membership
Game & Wildlife Conservation Trust

Please help us reverse this decline

We need your help to discover why this startling decline is happening, so we can act before it’s too late. Please support our new British woodcock tracking project.

Comments

Woodcock decline?, not here

at 16:42 on 30/10/2015 by david johnson

In my locality of Wales there is certainly no shortage of Woodcock. There is a strip of boggy woodland here, for instance, about 1/2 mile by 50 yards, where on any given frosty morning from December on, I can work this ground with a springer spaniel and put up at least twenty birds, the same number roughly as I was putting up thirty years ago and each year since. I would guess that the milder winters up country ( not here ) are to blame for any shortage, and nothing at all to do with over-shooting. Of course, if numbers are less in milder areas then it's common sense to stop shooting what is actually there.

Woodcock

at 19:41 on 29/10/2015 by Charles Fearn

Woodcock numbers are down so they say, we see a good number through the season and have a good resident population. I think numbers that are claimed down are due to foxes,weasel,stoats and the crow family. Also lack of habitat due to woodland being stripped for commercial gains

woodcock

at 17:34 on 29/10/2015 by graeme sawyer

i would just like to add my agreement with ian whittaker comments

Re: WOODCOCK DECLINE

at 14:58 on 28/10/2015 by Rob Beeson - GWCT

Hi John. We are conducting research to determine the cause of the decline in resident numbers. We need to complete this work and crunch some numbers before we can confidently say what is behind the decline and advise people accordingly. In the meantime, this is the advice we provided the shooting community with in December 2014: http://woodcockwatch.blogspot.co.uk/2014/12/woodcock-working-to-provide-shooting.html

WOODCOCK DECLINE

at 13:02 on 28/10/2015 by JOHN CARTER

Any body with half a brain shoul d realise STOP SHOOTING WOODCOCK is the first obvious step Shoots that have 70/100 bird woodcock days are totally irresponsible. Put them on the protected list NOW I have been shooting 60yrs, and stopped shooting woodcock for 30 and discourage every body not to shoot them.

Native Woodcock

at 7:30 on 28/10/2015 by Tim Duncan

Foxes,Badger,Hedgehogs,(though not so many of the latter because of the former),Ground nesting birds need the return of the Polecat like a whole in the head.

Woodcock decline

at 7:08 on 28/10/2015 by Jeffrey brown

I am a shooting person but common sense would say let's have a ban on shooting woodcock for say two years and just see if it over shooting that is the problem,of course that would mean that it was illegal for woodcock to be sold in that time

Woodcock

at 7:02 on 28/10/2015 by N J Elsdon

The ANTI's/GREEN's don’t know diddly about conservation or animals, they get emotional when they see a dead animal and that's all, they do absolutely nothing for conservation in most cases and couldn't care less about animals just as long as they aren’t being killed. Hunters are true conservationists. Woodcock conservation along with Grey Partridge conservation AND restoration would be nowhere without the shooting community. Respect that.

Woodcock Decline

at 15:36 on 27/10/2015 by Knight

Ian Whittaker's comments must be implemented both as part of a well considered approach and as a precursor to any serious appeal for funding,

Re: Woodcock Decline

at 10:36 on 27/10/2015 by Rob Beeson - GWCT

We are conducting research to determine the cause of the decline in resident numbers. We need to complete this work and crunch some numbers before we can confidently say what is behind the decline. In the meantime, this is the advice we provided the shooting community with in December 2014: http://woodcockwatch.blogspot.co.uk/2014/12/woodcock-working-to-provide-shooting.html

Woodcock

at 10:12 on 27/10/2015 by Martin Wood-Weatherill

I couldn't agree with Ian Whittakers comments more.

Woodcock Decline

at 20:26 on 23/10/2015 by Ian Whittaker

While it is wrong to suggest that shooting might have an impact on woodcock declines without evidence, surely it is equally wrong to claim that shooting does not have an impact without evidence. It is fairly logical to assume that shooting woodcock definitely removes individuals from the population and it must be difficult to determine whether such birds are resident or migrants. Common sense suggests that as part of any research to establish causes of decline, as shooting definitely reduces numbers in any one period, a moratorium om shooting would help determine whether or not it may be implicated in overall declines. To completely ignore one potential factor is bizarre and not very scientific

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