03 April 2014

Smith & Williamson sponsors pioneering woodcock research

Jerry Barnes (left) of Smith & Williamson, with leading woodcock scientist Dr Andrew HoodlessThe Landed Estates team at accountancy and investment management group, Smith & Williamson, is sponsoring the satellite tracking of a woodcock to aid pioneering research into the migratory and breeding patterns of this elusive, nocturnal bird.

‘Smithy’ the woodcock was successfully satellite tagged on private land at Walton-on-Gordano near Bristol, by Britain’s leading woodcock expert, Dr Andrew Hoodless.

Smithy has become the 26th woodcock to be tagged in this unique research project being spearheaded by the Game & Wildlife Conservation Trust (GWCT) to better understand the conservation status of this secretive bird both in the UK as well as along their migration routes in Scandinavia, Finland, the Baltic States and Siberia.

Jerry Barnes, Chairman of the Bristol and North Somerset branch of the GWCT and a partner based at Smith & Williamson’s Bristol office, said: “Dr Hoodless proved himself to be a dab hand with a net and it didn’t take long to capture Smithy, a healthy adult male woodcock ideally suited to the project. After fitting him with a lightweight miniature backpack complete with a solar panel for power and a long aerial, Smithy was released safely back into the wild. The exercise went quickly and smoothly which I believe is unusual, given the dark, cold and damp conditions which usually have to be endured.

“It was a thrilling experience and a privilege to see these remarkable and beautiful birds in their natural environment on a dark night, feeding in the wet soil. We look forward to learning more about their incredible journeys to far-flung places such as Finland and Siberia, as we track Smithy’s progress over the coming months.”

The GWCT’s dedicated Woodcockwatch website has attracted interest from scientists and bird lovers from all over the world who are eager to follow the paths of the tagged woodcocks in near real time as they migrate from their winter feeding sites in Britain to their breeding grounds thousands of miles away.

To view Smithy’s progress, please visit: www.smith.williamson.co.uk/landed-estates/supporting-our-community

To find out more about Woodcockwatch, visit www.woodcockwatch.com/


For further information, please contact Natalie Birrell at NBPR on 07557 356860 or email natalie@nb-pr.co.uk

Photocaption: Jerry Barnes (left) of Smith & Williamson, with leading woodcock scientist Dr Andrew Hoodless.

Notes to editors

Smith & Williamson is an independently owned professional and financial services group with around 1,500 people. The group is a leading provider of investment management, financial advisory and accountancy services to private clients, professional practices and mid-to-large corporates. The group has twelve principal offices in the UK and Ireland; these are in London, Belfast, Birmingham, Bristol, Dublin, Glasgow, Guildford, Jersey, Manchester, Salisbury, Southampton, and Worcester.

Smith & Williamson is the official sponsor for the National Business Awards’ search for the Entrepreneur of the Year in both 2013 and 2014.

Smith & Williamson LLP

Regulated by the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales for a range of investment business activities. A member of Nexia International

The word partner is used to refer to a member of Smith & Williamson LLP.


The Game & Wildlife Conservation Trust is an independent wildlife conservation charity which has carried out scientific research into Britain’s game and wildlife for the past 70 years. We advise farmers and landowners on improving wildlife habitats and we lobby for agricultural and conservation policies based on science. We employ 20 post-doctoral scientists and 40 other research staff with expertise in areas such as birds, insects, mammals, farming, fish and statistics.  We undertake our own research as well as projects funded by contract and grant-aid from Government and private bodies.   The Trust is also responsible for a number of Government Biodiversity Action Plan species and is lead partner for grey partridge and joint lead partner for brown hare and black grouse. For Information, contact: Morag Walker – Head of Media, Telephone – 01425-652381 (direct 01425-651000) Mobile – 07736-124097    www.gwct.org.uk