Woodcock Research – Urgent Request

Written by Adele Powell
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This is an appeal for assistance with a unique research project investigating the migration and winter ecology of Eurasian Woodcock, Scolopax rusticola, which is being run in collaboration with the University of Oxford and the Game and Wildlife Conservation Trust (GWCT).
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The Eurasian woodcock is a cryptic, secretive wader and detailed knowledge of its migratory routes and the linkages between breeding and wintering sites are still required. The aims of the study are to 1. Gain a better understanding of Woodcock movements between breeding and wintering grounds within Europe, 2. Examine the separation of migrants from distinct breeding areas in NW Europe across Britain and Ireland in winter, and their distribution relative to resident birds, 3. Determine whether residency confers any fitness or survival advantage over migrants.
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In order to address these aims, feather samples from birds of known origin (i.e. resident breeding birds, shot/caught in the Spring/Summer/early autumn – from now, until end of Sept) are required for analysis. I am in desperate need of samples from across the UK, Ireland and Europe, and I was wondering if you could highlight my request to appropriate persons. Whether they be hunters, forestry workers, bird ringers or someone just coming across a woodcock kill/carcass, it would be hugely beneficial if persons could provide whole wing sample for analysis, but where this is not possible then the 1st AND 10th primary wing feathers (smallest/innermost feather and largest/outermost feather, respectively) will suffice. I’ve attached an image of the woodcock wing, to help identify the correct feathers.
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Alternatively, feathers may come from relatively recent museum specimens (again from birds of know origin), where sampling is allowed.
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Wing/feather samples from individual birds should be packaged separately, with details on bird age (if possible), collection date and location, and the sender’s contact details (including email address). Samples should then be sent to the following address:
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Miss Adele Powell
Edward Grey Institute of Field Ornithology,
Department of Zoology,
University of Oxford,
South Parks Road,
Oxford,
OX1 3PS
United Kingdom

I hope you can help. If not directly, then maybe you could pass on my details to other contacts you may have, as I am in DESPERATE need of samples from across Europe.

I would really appreciate your support.

Kind Regards
Adele Powell

Office: UK 01865 271173
Mobile +447748833430
E-mail: adele.powell@zoo.ox.ac.uk

Edward Grey Institute of Field Ornithology
University of Oxford,
South Parks Road,
Oxford OX1 3PS

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