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Woodland management for birds: Priority species

is also obtained from the soil surface, eg from beneath leaf litter.

Conservation issues

Possible factors affecting woodcocks include:

  • Drying out of wet woodlands, eg by land drainage. Climate change may also have an impact.

  • Increased grazing intensity or a lack of woodland management reducing the shrub layer, which provides cover against predators.

  • Recreational disturbance, especially where dogs are involved (Fuller et al.

    • 2005)

      .

  • Reduced earthworm biomass due to soil acidification.

Management advice

General

  • Target management into woodlands

with recent records of roding13 birds.

  • Coppice management.

Increase the extent or improve the quality of nest sites

  • Manage grazing and browsing to promote the required mosaic of shrub and field layer cover.

  • Limit recreational disturbance (including dogs), eg by erecting educational signs.

  • Manage to create a balance of ground cover; dense saplings provide protection from avian predators, but nesting areas require less vegetation cover.

Increase the extent or improve the quality of foraging habitat

  • Manage woodland structure to promote humidity, eg by encouraging dense scrub at the woodland edge to reduce wind penetration.

  • Limit the impact of drainage.

  • Maintain any surrounding wet fields, which may be important as foraging areas.

13 Roding is the woodcock’s dusk display, a slow flight with flickering wing-beats whilst calling.

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