12 November 2019

New lapwing badge supports GWCT’s ambitious tracking project

Lapwing Badge New

SALES from a new lapwing badge will help support the GWCT’s new ambitious tracking project that will monitor the whereabouts of three much-loved wading birds.

From each purchase of the badge, £5 will be donated to the project that will track lapwing, curlew and woodcock.

The Trust’s biggest project to date, which launched earlier this year, will be led by GWCT’s head of wetland research Andrew Hoodless.

Dr Hoodless, with his team of scientific experts, hope to tag 20 curlew, 20 lapwing and 50 woodcock next year.

Adult curlews will be fitted with a GPS tag which will help scientists gain a better insight into the relative importance of habitat, food availability and predation in areas where these birds are disappearing fastest.

The tags will provide hourly locations for three to four years, enabling the team to determine adult feeding areas, movements outside the breeding season and links between breeding and wintering sites. Tagging sites for this study will include our Scottish demonstration farm at Auchnerran and farms within the Curlew Country project in Shropshire.

Similarly, lapwing numbers are in sharp decline – falling by a third in just ten years.

Although the main cause of the decline is poor breeding success, little is known about the movements of lapwing during the winter and the importance of links between breeding and wintering sites.

Our current research through the Woodcock Watch tagging project has provided an insight into the migrations of woodcock wintering in Britain and Ireland.

New GPS tags provide better data than the satellite tags we have previously used - more accurate locations (to about 15 metres) and five times more of them – providing not only valuable information on woodcock’s migratory movements but, most significantly, small scale movements at their continental breeding sites.

A fuller understanding of woodcock habitat use in their Scandinavian and Russian strongholds will also allow us to compare prime woodcock habitats overseas with those available to our resident birds here in the UK.

To make this project possible, the GWCT needs need to raise £51,100 to tag 90 birds this winter and next spring.

Dr Hoodless said: “By buying a badge, you can help us to answer the difficult questions about where our curlew, lapwing and woodcock go, and why. Building on our Woodcock Watch campaign, this new tagging project is our most ambitious yet.”

“Every donation will make a vital contribution to us getting this project up-and-running so we can better understand the needs of these much-loved birds and do more to help them.”

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Notes to editors

The Game & Wildlife Conservation Trust – providing research-led conservation for a thriving countryside. The GWCT is an independent wildlife conservation charity which has carried out scientific research into Britain’s game and wildlife since the 1930s. We advise farmers and landowners on improving wildlife habitats. We employ 22 post-doctoral scientists and 50 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.

ISDN radio broadcast line – at our Fordingbridge HQ we have an ISDN radio broadcast line, allowing us to conduct interviews remotely.

For information, contact:
James Swyer
Telephone: 01425 651000
Email: press@gwct.org.uk

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