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Woodcock Survey

Woodcock Survey - Get involved - Survey your area

Woodcock Survey


Final Year of Survey  (Update  9th April 2021)

We want all our members to check their areas for Woodcock, and Report it to this survey.

We must try ensure as far as possible, all the resident Woodcock are recorded in this survey.


From James O' Neill

The woodcock belongs to a group of ground-nesting wading birds which are suffering poor fortunes in Ireland. Species such as the curlew and lapwing have experienced terrible declines and we are at risk of losing these breeding species entirely from Ireland. On the other hand, we do not know so much about how the woodcock is faring, although indications are that it, too, has declined. The Irish Woodcock Project based at UCC is aiming to better understand these declines and the drivers behind them.


With successful survey seasons in 2017 and 2019, the Woodcock research group at UCC had intended to run the final season of Woodcock Roding Surveys in May and June of 2020. However, with the onset of the pandemic in early 2020 it was with sadness that we had to cancel these surveys due to the government restrictions. Now that restrictions appear to be easing over the next few weeks, we have made the decision to conduct the roding surveys this year instead.


I would encourage you to get involved in these surveys if you possibly can, of course observing and adhering to all relevant Covid guidelines and restrictions. This is an easy way to contribute strongly towards the scientific understanding of a bird we still know little about in Ireland; that is needed is two or three pleasant evenings in the woodland, watching wildlife. Please visit our website using the link below to view the survey method and claim your survey site(s).


A couple of important points:

this is the final year of the survey, so let's make it count for something!

- the method for claiming a survey zone has changed - please select one and

email me directly so that I can put your name to it.

- sites surveyed before in 2019 and 2017 are no longer available to survey. This is because we want to maximize coverage across as many sites as possible.

Even if you record no woodcock during your surveys, please record your data - this will confirm for us that there are no woodcock at the site.

- please observe and adhere to all relevant covid-19 guidelines and restrictions when conducting these surveys


If you have any questions or queries do not hesitate to contact me.


Thank you for your help and all the best,



James O'Neill

UCC Irish Woodcock Project


Twitter: @Irishwoodcock

Facebook: Irish Woodcock Project




James O Neill

“Hello all! I am a PhD student studying woodcock ecology. My project was partially funded by NARGC and I am currently promoting a national breeding woodcock survey. Recent data from Breeding Bird Atlas is suggestive of a significant contraction in the range of the breeding population. This survey aims to determine the current distribution of breeding woodcock and to provide a baseline against which future changes can be compared. The survey records the number of roding males in an area of woodland. Please click on the link below to get involved! If you have any questions regarding the survey, please do not hesitate to get in contact with me.”

For more details, and your link to participate, Click this link

Breeding Woodcock Survey - Orithology Group UCC

Take part in Ireland’s first Breeding Woodcock Survey! This survey is the first of its kind undertaken in Ireland and will determine the current distribution of breeding woodcock and provide a baseline against which future changes can be compared…


Click Below for Report From James O' Neill;

Update Report From James O Neill March 2021


Update From James October 2020

The Irish Woodcock Project in 2020

What a strange year 2020 has been for everybody. And while uncertainty still abounds regarding the human world, the animal world has been quietly getting on with things as they always have done. Already, it’s good to see that snipe have arrived into Ireland in numbers, and the woodcock will be sure to follow in early November.
As part of our research into the woodcock in Ireland, the Irish Woodcock Project (based at UCC and kindly supported by the NARGC) depends very much on the collaboration and goodwill of the hunting community. Unfortunately, the pandemic put a stop to the woodcock roding counts in the spring and summer, which was very disappointing. However, coming into the winter, there still ways are you can help this project in 2020/2021. 
We are interested to find out where our woodcock migrate from to reach Ireland, and this can be done through chemical analysis of wing feathers. If you hunt woodcock, I would ask you to strongly consider saving a wing off each and every bird you hunt, and submitting them either directly to me or through the NARGC. It is of UTMOST IMPORTANCE that the wings you submit for this purpose are labeled with the DATE and COUNTY shot – any wings without this information will be useless for our research. The more wings we receive with this information, the better quality and more interesting the research results will be. Please spread the word about this amongst club members and woodcock enthusiasts, as the success of this research relies entirely on your input.
In a similar vein, please also consider using the new NARGC website to enter your bag totals from this and last season. Gathering such information will be very important going into the future to ensure the sustainability of the woodcock and of the sport.
In addition, over the next couple of years, we are planning to use GPS tags mounted on woodcock to track their winter movements from November through to March. This has never been done before in Ireland, and so far, we have tracked 17 woodcock in the winter of 2019/2020 and the results so far have been ground-breaking and absolutely stunning, showing never-before-seen detail of what woodcock do and how they use the landscape and habitats around them. To get the best results from this, we want to tag and track as many woodcock as possible, and we are making an appeal to RGCs to consider donating funds to allow us to purchase and use these tags in Ireland so that this important research may continue.

You can contact me at
















Woodcock Roding

The clearest Roding croaks are towards the end of the Video clip.