Bird migration has fascinated sportsmen and naturalists alike for centuries. Yet little is known about the specifics of woodcock migration; the routes taken, timings of journeys and the prompts that trigger departure. The recent development of new techniques and continued miniaturization of tracking devices has suddenly made rapid advances in the study of migration by birds such as woodcock possible. By increasing our knowledge of migration strategy and timing, we can start to evaluate the importance of stop-over sites, study the impact of habitat change and consider the potential effects of different shooting pressures.
Sustainable population management will depend on better population estimates and a thorough understanding of migration. To manage and conserve such a widely distributed, long-distance migrant, we require a clearer understanding of all aspects of the woodcock’s ecology at a European scale.