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The incredible woodcock migration

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Jeremy Torrance web producer Jeremy Torrance web producer | 14:02 UK time, Tuesday, 14 June 2011

This fascinating map of a woodcock's migration, provided to us by the Game & Wildlife Conservation Trust, drew gasps of admiration in the presenter meeting this morning.

woodcock migration map


Chris, a big fan of woodcock, will be talking in detail about this migration on tonight's show, but in the meantime here's a quick explanation about how it was made. The woodcock was fitted with a geolocator in Cornwall in February last year. It left Cornwall in mid-March and travelled via Austria to Russia to breed. Then it returned to the UK via Ukraine and Belgium to its wintering ground in back in Cornwall in December.

The yellow dots on the map are winter and breeding locations, red routes are spring migrations, blue routes are autumn migrations. The arrows indicate the sequence of stopping points; they do not represent the precise routes flown by the birds.

Watch Springwatch, 8pm Tuesday 14 June on BBC Two.


  • Comment number 1.


    I have a couple of questions re bird behaviour..

    1st...if pied flycatcher are constantly breeding too late, does it follow that they will, over time, evolve earlier breeding times to coincide with their food sources?

    2nd...how do chicks in the nest get liquid? Is it through regurgitation as with food or do they get enough liquid with in their food already?


    Rachel Higbee

  • Comment number 2.

    i think skull is a badger

  • Comment number 3.

    Its a seal skeleton

  • Comment number 4.

    Am posting here because it won't let me post on the blog

    is the skull a wild boar????

  • Comment number 5.

    is the skull a badger skull

  • Comment number 6.

    Badger skull :)

    Chelsea - From aberdeen- scotland

  • Comment number 7.

    Last winter, during the bad snow, we had a visitor to our rear garden. To my shock, it was a Woodcock. I managed to take some pictures of it with my mobile phone, but due to it being a low resolution, I think only a keen twitcher would be able to distinguish the species of bird.

    I'm from Teesside in the North East. Is it common (I realise they are in decline) for them to be this far north?

  • Comment number 8.

    where do the owls come from that they us in films like harry potter are the eggs taken from the wild

  • Comment number 9.

    Ive only ever once seen a woodcock and that wasmany yrs ago in surrey,when i almost stood on it,it nearly gave me a heart attack,and flew striate up.another bird loosing out to disapearing wooland,why is it that new roads,housing estates or some other project,its always through woodland?

  • Comment number 10.

    I watched around a dozen bees, small versions of a bumble bee, going in and out of a hole in the grass banking at the top of our garden. There had been a wasp's nest in that same spot a couple of years before. One bee flew swiftly out followed by a second bee who caught the first bee and wrestled it. They were locked together head to head facing each other with their legs wrapped around each other and dropped to the grass below, rolled down the bank and onto a flagstone below still locked together. They rolled backwards and forwards on the flagstone remaining locked together aggressively just like two wrestlers before they parted and one flew immediately away. The other one also began to fly but appeared disorientated for a couple of seconds before flying off in the opposite direction. I kept watch on the hole in the grass banking for a few more days but there was no sign of bee activaty. Were the bees investigating the hole with a view to nesting and if so did they abandon the idea having found an old wasp's nest possibly, and what were the two wrestling bees doing, were they really having a fight and if so about what?

  • Comment number 11.

    Hi team, last November I had a woodcock land in my garden and take cover from the heavy snow under our trampoline. It was there for an entire day, popping out occasionally to try and feed then ducking back under. I spent the whole day watching this incredible creature and felt privilaged that it chose my garden. I live in Worth in SE Kent which is right on the migration line. Could it have been Chris's Woodcock? I have pictures but couldnt find out how to post them. Thank you for yet another wonderful series of springwatch.

  • Comment number 12.

    i live in belgium close to a fantastic nature reserve called het vinne.last weekend we went for a walk there and from the hide watched a black tern as it swooped down on to the water surface over and over to catch insects and small fry.maybe this was where the woodcock did its overnight stop!

  • Comment number 13.

    hi have been watching you for 3 weeks now didnt now how much wild life is on my door step thank you for opening my eyes

  • Comment number 14.

    Why is there nothing about that careless observation re the foxcub and the badger set? The cub clearly didn't go into the set, we could clearly see it moving away to the left under cover of some ferns. Nevertheless the presenters went into some extended - and to me rather surreal - discussion of how amazing it was to see evidence of foxes and badgers co-habiting. WHAT???? As likely to me as ferrets and bunny rabbits sharing babysitting!


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