Wednesday 13th June 2012
Researchers from a wildlife charity have gathered vital data which could help conserve a potentially endangered species of bird.
The Game & Wildlife Conservation Trust (GWCT) has collected data from satellite tracking devices that were attached to 12 woodcocks earlier this year in locations across the UK.
It found that the birds are travelling massive distances to their breeding grounds.
Monkey - one of the birds that was satellite tagged on the Lizard Peninsula, Cornwall, in February, has astounded researchers by travelling more than 6,200km and has already travelled twice the distance that was predicted.
Dr Andrew Hoodless, from the GWCT, who is a world expert on woodcock ecology, explained the importance of the research.
He said: "In Britain, the woodcock is amber listed as a breeding species and has suffered a reported 86% decline during the last 30 years.
"Across Europe its status is poorly documented. Compared to many other birds, we still know little about its behaviour and ecology because of its very secretive nature.
"Learning more is important because the species is potentially susceptible to altered conditions resulting from climate change, habitat destruction and hunting pressure across Europe.
"I am convinced that by following our satellite-tagged birds, we will soon have some revealing insights into the migration strategies of woodcock across Europe and more information about stopping off points along their routes.
"This information is essential and will form part of an international effort to conserve woodcock in the future."