Woodcock watch: our letter in The Times

Woodcock Watch LetterRead our letter, published in The Times today and written by Andrew Hoodless, our Head of Wetlands Research:


Woodcock can be disorientated by artificial lights in urban areas (letters, Jan 16, 17 & 18). We receive several reports each year of woodcock wandering in city centres. However, the timing of this one is unusual — woodcock are usually seen in cities during autumn migration, typically in November. This bird might be suggestive of a further influx of woodcock from the continent owing to the cold weather there. Our satellite tracking project (woodcockwatch.com) gives more information on the amazing migrations of these birds.

Dr Andrew Hoodless
Head of Wetlands Research
Game & Wildlife Conservation Trust


Woodcock in Towns

at 21:30 on 24/01/2017 by Iain Gibson

Dr Hoodless is correct in that the main month for Woodcock turning up in urban areas is November, the time of their autumn migration. However I would dispute the idea that birds appearing in such places in winter is indicative of further migration from the continent. Has the GWCT tracking programme produced any evidence of this? The simpler and already understood explanation is that birds wintering in the UK, which normally flight out from their woodland roosts to feed on pastures and other grasslands at night, have difficulty when the ground freezes solid. They resort to investigating other potential feeding areas, and in the confusion or even starvation during freezing weather, turn up in all sorts of odd places.

Woodcock Decline

at 13:15 on 24/01/2017 by Barbara Ash

Why are woodcock still being shot as a game bird whilst in decline.

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