The mysteries of the woodcock

Here for many years, in the autumn, after 30 days (or rather nights), we take into account, and kolchem catch woodcocks in the Tver region. This is a kind of bloodless hunting, in which the bird flies away for the winter with a ring on its leg. Constant, numerous meetings with woodcock without a gun help to get to know him, make more understandable, but at the same time give rise to questions that are yet unanswered.

The mysteries of the woodcock

Photo Of Vyacheslav Zabugin

Hunters with pointers and spaniels know that the woodcock before leaving for the winter there comes a time when it is out of the woods on the night moves in agricultural lands, there to feed. During this period he is attracted to pastures and hayfields, which were driving the cattle.

The woodcock is necessary that the cows have fertilized the soil, smoothly consumed and trampled grass. Tall grass he did not like, because it makes it difficult to walk, occludes, and prevents the time to find opasnostei, for example.

The trouble is, now to find a place [for] grazing cows, even in large areas of the Central regions, very difficult. Vital for woodcock pastures overgrown with anything and disappear right before your eyes.

Only a year to graze cattle, and the pasture at the former woodcock and fishers will do nothing. It may be that the present stage of agricultural development, associated with sanctions, will open in front of Kulik new perspectives and will help him to survive in the breeding range.

By the way, replacing the overgrowing of meadows not only woodcock. For him lugiato seasonal feeding grounds, but the snipe holds in them all my life. Here it breeds, breeds nestlings, fed until the end of summer before I go. And when you come to dupline space and see that by the autumn they had time to overgrow and fade, I recall green, which during the war against Russian hunting trying to blame cultural hunters in the population decline of this species.

One example. At the floodplain meadow, where from time immemorial are constantly grazing cows, there was always plenty of grouse, of course, in Soviet times when herds were numerous. Two years ago fisheries decided to ban grazing cows in the floodplain, as they approach the river to drink, and even fined a poor farm. What? Now in those places there is no snipe, no snipe or woodcock. Here is the direction in which it should operate green to the defenders of our nature, if they really care about.

But back to the autumn woodcock. Of course, the results of trapping and banding are directly dependent on the population size. The more often at night in the pastures are found woodcocks, the more birds will be under a net. Considering the results of ringing for many years, we came to the conclusion that, on average, were caught only a third illuminated by the headlight of counted birds.

On the same pasture (with any number of woodcock) daily (or rather nightly) occurs the same number of birds. In this circumstance lies at least two puzzles. Catch, catch, and already it seems that all the local woodcocks are Kolzhan no! The probability of repeated culling increases over time, but still there are some.

However, some waders, less fearful, come across even a single time. For example, 50 ringed again can be caught only 3–4 birds. Thus, all the time on a regular square caught mainly only new snipe. Where do they come from? It means that the pasture is changed every day birds? Moreover, the number of places in the evening the birds fly, is very limited.

Woodcocks posted on the uneven pasture, and can highlight areas that local birds constantly follow and where the probability of meeting them is the highest. Moreover, the woodcock remains true to his plots, returning from abroad next year. What forest sandpipers in the spring arrive at the wetlands, where were born or bred, you know. Biologists call this propatria.

But astonishingly, and in autumn the local birds just remember, and are on native pasture point, which adhered in the past. To highlight specific, the birds preferred areas, we annually put on the scheme to within a few meters of the meeting place each woodcock. Imagine our surprise when one day we caught the bird with the ring at five meters from the point where it was ringed last year.

Span local areas do not know and sit on pastures where they can, i.e. not only where constantly feed the local birds. By the sudden change in the distribution of woodcock we judge the beginning of the flight. Usually in the Tver region this happens about 1 October.

Striking visual evidence of the fidelity of woodcock home, but the autumn counts of open and other amazing things. It turns out that weather conditions (Gale-force wind or no wind, drizzle, rain, snow or drought, cold, frost or heat) practically do not affect the evening visit the woodcock forage land.tics from day to day are not guided by the weather, and some we have not solved by laws.

Four years in a row (of them were dry, and rainy) day we noted the number of counted birds, then I put graphics on top of one another, and they almost coincided. Woodcock was more or less on the same days. Turns out the number on pasture did not depend on the weather, and calendar dates. Why, is not yet clear.

Fall surveys can be practical for European specialists woodcock. Much depends on the breeding success of these birds we have. When the population decline in Russia shooting abroad must be restricted. This was the case in 2002 and 2010, when, on the recommendation of the scientific group «Woodcock» woodcock hunting has been restricted in most departments of France and temporarily banned for wintering birds at a strong cold snap and snow Restrictions concerned mainly diurnal and seasonal norms of production, which are quite tightly controlled in this country.

The number of extracted woodcock directly depends on their autumn population, so we estimate the changes in the European part of the country for information about extraction, which we kindly inform owners of gun dogs.

Amazingly, changes in the number of woodcocks, shot in different years throughout the forest zone of the country, are fully consistent with the changes in the number of birds recorded on the permanent pasture area, which made the capture.

It turned out, after the data of census in the pasture were compared with information about the shooting. As a result, two graphic curves combined ejection and accounting coincided. And it would be no surprise if the mapped area of accounting did not differ from each other several thousand times.

So, the area in which the fall, we considered the woodcock, was only one square kilometer, but the results of the inventory it is possible to judge about the changes in the number of woodcock nesting throughout the area.

Yuri Romanov February 2015 at 13:46

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