Help find the UK's breeding woodcock


The BTO is seeking volunteers for its national Eurasian Woodcock survey this spring.

Participants will be contributing to the understanding of the UK woodcock population, which previous surveys have shown is in trouble. Numbers declined by almost a third between 2003 and 2013, on top of the species losing more than half of its breeding range in the UK since 1970. This has landed the species on the UK Red List of Birds of Conservation Concern.

Eurasian Woodcock is a very secretive species, so the volunteers will watch at dusk for males performing display flights (Tim Melling).

Woodcock is well known for the male's display flight at dawn and dusk, known as 'roding'. Counting displaying males at dusk is the best way to monitor the species, and this is how volunteers will help scientists update our knowledge of the species' range and population.

More than 1,000 woodland sites across the UK have been selected for the survey. Not every site will have woodcock, but even negative returns will be of great value in informing conservation of the species.

Dr Greg Conway, BTO Senior Research Ecologist, said: "Given the steady decline in the UK breeding Woodcock population over recent decades, the results of 2023 survey will be essential for understanding how the population level and distribution has changed since 2013, and targeting future conservation actions."

The survey is being operated in a partnership with scientists from the Game and Wildlife Conservation Trust (GWCT).

For further information on the survey, and to find a survey site near you, visit www.bto.org/woodcock.