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100000 Woodcock shot every year in the UK (1 Viewer)

pratincol

Well-known member
I know we are not in the same league as Cyprus but I read a report that thousands of migrant Woodcock augment our native population every year and 100000 are shot.
Seems a shame when they make that long journey and some Wally in green wellies thinks it is fun to kill them.
 
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Paul Chapman

Well-known member
They should be taken off the shooting list.

When looking for sources on the numbers quoted here, I found the attached document. The Migration Atlas confirms that our breeding birds are largely resident. Also see attached links:-

http://www.gwct.org.uk/research/lon...bag-census/bird-bags-summary-trends/woodcock/

https://www.gwct.org.uk/news/news/2014/july/20140718/

The annual estimated bag per Tapper and Hirons 1983 was 200,000 (The Atlas of Wintering Birds in Britain and Ireland.)

All the best

Paul
 

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  • Woodcock-fact-sheet.pdf
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pratincol

Well-known member
Have you got the source article Pratincol?
Not sure how reliable but it was in an article in this month's Oldie-a very entertaining magazine by the way.
The writer,John McKewen, is usually spot on.He writes a bird related column every month and has a detailed knowledge of birds from the point of view of birders and hunters.He seems to have a foot in both camps.
 
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rosbifs

Well-known tool
France
They should be taken off the shooting list.

Lots of interesting figures banded about and as always it depends on which ones you want to rely on. Some of the figures sound horrific.

However, bird not endangered. Bird is declining 29% in uk but only 2% of this down to shooting. In isolation the 2% loss to shooting is sustainable. I suspect that deer will be more responsible than shooters for decline...
 

Digbert Doobrey

Well-known member
I've never even had a decent view of a live one!

Not surprising if they're being blasted by the 'knobheads in tweeds' brigade.
 

rosbifs

Well-known tool
France
Rosbifs

What do you mean by this sentence and from where is it based?

Many thanks

From reading your links... What the hunters are suggesting is that 97.5% of shot birds are migratory. At the same time one article suggests that typically birds shot before Nov 6th (I believe) are lcal birds - so shift the start date to protect the resident species - even seems obvious to the shooters!

The reduction got me thinking. If the decline is down to habitat loss - woodland in south west and wales being biggest loss areas - then clearly issues other than shooting are to blame. But then I was thinking maybe massive increases in deer populations could have something to do with it - maybe reduction of ground cover in woodlands.
I noticed that, over the same period of the study, hedgehog sightings have decreased by the same percentage and over the last 60 years by millions! Maybe there is a wider issue here - both rely on earthworms as a food source.
Is something more sinister happening to this food source?
 

pe'rigin

Well-known member
hedgehog sightings have decreased by the same percentage and over the last 60 years by millions! Maybe there is a wider issue here - both rely on earthworms as a food source.
Is something more sinister happening to this food source?


Mr badger
 

Xenospiza

Distracted
Supporter
Woodcock is not allowed to be shot in the Netherlands and Flanders anymore, but as soon as people speak German or French the carnage is similar to that in the UK. (The Dutch have other methods to get rid of iconic shorebirds, most of them agricultural...)
 

Paul Chapman

Well-known member
I believe that they require damp conditions to feed on earthworms which explains why you see them occasionally on roadside verges at dawn and the dusk flights from cover to open fields in the winter. This would suggest drying out would be a problem.

The Migration Atlas suggests that the British & Irish wintering population splits from the following breeding locations - 37% Russia & Latvia, 25% Finland, 14% Britain, 12% Sweden and 10% Norway so even during periods when the continental winterers had arrived, this would suggest one in seven shot was a local breeder.

If so, does logic dictate that the percentage local population shot each year might be (national number shot * 0.14)/(number local winterers)?

Playing with numbers - worst case 200,000 shot and 100,000 local winterers (28% local population shot) and best case 100,000 shot and 180,000 local winterers (8% local population shot).

As always, I anticipate that the primary driver of declines is destruction of habitat in southern Britain.

All the best
 
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rosbifs

Well-known tool
France
I believe that they require damp conditions to feed on earthworms which explains why you see them occasionally on roadside verges at dawn and the dusk flights from cover to open fields in the winter. This would suggest drying out would be a problem.

The Migration Atlas suggests that the British & Irish wintering population splits - 37% Russia & Latvia, 25% Finland, 14% Britain, 12% Sweden and 10% Norway so even during periods when the continental winterers had arrived, this would suggest one in seven shot was a local breeder.

If so, does logic dictate that the percentage local population shot each year might be (national number shot * 0.14)/(local winterers)?

Playing with numbers - worst case 200,000 shot and 100,000 local winterers (28%) and best case 100,000 shot and 180,000 local winterers (8%).

As always, the primary driver of declines is destruction of habitat in southern England.

All the best

Can't argue with your maths in a pure sense but it doesn't take into account that there will be fewer 'local' breeders in hunting areas in the sense that local breeding birds will favour areas with fewer dogs walkers, fewer shooters over a period of time whereas migratory birds will be taking woodland as and when they find it - they are more likely to be on the wing and not necessarily know the safer areas are to feed...

As an argument its not a good one (morally speaking) to say well fewer local birds will be there because there are fewer shooters but it sort of makes sense as an argument.

Interestingly, the articles suggest that there are plenty of good size woods in the south west that don't hold the bird - the reason for their absense is unknown - some suggestions are given.

I'm not suggesting for a second that hunting is innocent but there are other factors here with a greater influence on the survival of the birds in the long term. If we want to reverse the decline these wider influences need to be identified and addressed - its all too easy to use hunters as a scapegoat but this isn't a passenger pigeon. The opposite is clearly true of other species in the UK...
 

pratincol

Well-known member
I've never even had a decent view of a live one!

Not surprising if they're being blasted by the 'knobheads in tweeds' brigade.
Same here!
I once accidentally flushed one near a local wood and saw a Woodcock quickly fly away by a local reservoir.
And that's about it!
 

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