The Woodcock Network

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Patron ~ The Duke of Northumberland, DL, MRICS

Scientific Advisor ~ Dr Andrew Hoodless, Game & Wildlife Conservation Trust

Veterinary Advisor ~ John Chitty, BVetMed, CertZooMed, CBiol, MIBiol, MRCVS

Veterinary Advisor ~ Chris Davis, BVM&S, MRCVS

Director ~ Owen Williams

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Garganey Consulting

2009/10 Season Summary.

The Woodcock Network became officially registered as a ‘not for profit charitable company’ on June 17th 2010 under the name The Woodcock Network Ltd. This move will make raising funds for our activities easier in the future and also has the benefit of our being able to claim gift aid on any donations made to the network.

The season of 2009/10 saw a major expansion of our ringing effort with 15 ringers reporting a total of 681 new woodcock ringed and 57 re-traps. What is very encouraging is that we now are now ringing woodcock as far afield as the Isle of Rum in the North to Dorset in the South. As word spreads amongst established ringers and our trainees gain their BTO C permits we anticipate a continued growth in woodcock ringing over the coming years.

The cold weather from mid December through into January provided us with a valuable opportunity to study weight changes in woodcock. Early analysis suggests that average weights held up well through quite severe and prolonged frosts and only dropped significantly after the heavy snow in the new-year. Recovery was rapid once the thaw came with observations suggesting a high level of feeding activity for several nights after the ground became soft again. More detailed analysis will be conducted once all our data has been collected.

I have been using a GPS plotter to record all my ringed woodcock. This is a cheap (£40) USB device the data from which is easily downloaded onto Google Earth. Each plot can then be identified with the ring number and can be interrogated for the relevant biometric details of that specific woodcock. I will be emailing more details of this to our ringers soon as I hope to contact the company and see if we can get a concessionary price for our network. I hope that if we can all utilise this technology we can build a significant database on Google Earth. If anyone out there has any experience on Google Earth databases I would love to her from you.

A reminder that if you have any feathers lost during ringing please could you send these to Dr Andrew Hoodless at the Game and Wildlife Conservation Trust, Burgate Manor, Fordingbridge, Hampshire, SP6 IEF. Please individually label each sample with details of ring number, date, location, and age.

If you have yet to send us your data please do so as soon as possible so that we can pass this onto Dr Andrew Hoodless.

Finally if you have any interesting observations on woodcock or ideas on improving techniques for catching please email me at

A huge thanks to all those who worked so hard ringing last winter your efforts are contributing to our knowledge of this spectacular species and I hope the network can rely on your continued support next season.


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All content and images © 2009-2015 Owen Williams and The Woodcock Network Ltd - charitable registered company No. 7289034