Watch the birdie – and the figures

I WAS delighted to see such positive coverage of our innovative woodcock research in Scotland on Sunday (“Woodcock satnav on Speedy’s tail” News, 25 March).

However, there is a slight inaccuracy in the text. Emma Cowing wrote: “The woodcock population has been decimated in recent years, with a reported 86 per cent slump in numbers between 1970 and 2007.”

Sign up to our Opinion newsletter

Sign up to our Opinion newsletter

Before our work began in 2003, the national breeding population was thought to be between 5,000 and 12,500 pairs. In our last survey our estimate was 78,000 pairs. So some of the national figures, although the best available, may need to be viewed with some caution and can be misleading.

If the figures gathered from our second National Breeding Woodcock Survey in 2013 reveal numbers have stabilised or have increased over the last 10 years then perhaps we can be less concerned for woodcocks. If there is a decline then we need to think again.

Katrina J Candy, head of PR & Education, Game & Wildlife Conservation Trust, Scone