Woodhen recovery

I have been lucky enough to see two waves of bird increases on the island. In the late 1970s wild pigs were removed from the mountains, the rangers trapped feral cats and the Board introduced a ban on domestic cats. A captive breeding program run from 1980 to 1983 raised and released 93 Woodhens into the island environment. From that time on, without predators, the Woodhen numbers increased from around 30 birds to 230.

Now with the rodents gone there is a lot more food available for the Woodhens and we are seeing another dramatic increase in Woodhen numbers. Woodhen surveys were carried out in November 2020, and the final count was 443 birds, whereas prior to the rodent eradication the number in the annual surveys was always around 230. Woodhens seemed to have been breeding all through the year of 2020, with chicks seen in most months.