Encouraged by the results of our satellite-tagging and geolocator work we are continuing our research on woodcock migration. We want to obtain detailed tracks for a sample size of at least 30 spring migrations and 20 return autumn journeys. Over successive seasons it will be possible to understand the influence of different climatic conditions on the timing of migration and the survival of individuals. We hope to be able to get a grasp of the differences between European sub-populations and how birds from different breeding grounds may use different migration strategies. We also want to understand any age- or sex-related differences in migration behaviour.
The answers to these questions are within reach, but we need to obtain large and accurate datasets to be sure of our conclusions. We hope to link up with scientists across Europe to build a more comprehensive picture of woodcock migration, which will ultimately lead to more effective conservation of woodcock at a European scale.
We continue to ring about 200 woodcock at selected sites each winter in order to obtain information on survival and wintering site fidelity. We are working closely with Owen Williams and The Woodcock Network, who have dramatically increased the numbers of woodcock ringed each winter from c.500 in 2007/08 to over 1,200 in 2012/13. To learn more about woodcock ringing, take a look at The Woodcock Network website and see whether you could become involved.