A RARE breed of bird is making a comeback thanks to this year’s warm summer.
The black grouse, once common across much of England but now confined to the upland moors of Northumberland, County Durham, Cumbria and North Yorkshire, has enjoyed a record-breaking breeding season this year.
Experts say the success is down to the warm, dry conditions in June, which created an abundance of insects for the young chicks.
The annual breeding count has revealed that each hen has produced more than four chicks on average and some were spotted with 10 or 11 young.
Dr Phil Warren, specialist with the Game and Wildlife Conservation Trust said: "This is all in stark contrast to last year when breeding productivity was appalling and one sample of 35 hens found only raised seven chicks between them.
"Last year it was cold and wet and this year it has been warm and dry. Warm dry conditions mean an abundance of insects such as sawfly larvae which young chicks depend on when they first hatch".
He added: "This bumper breeding is extremely encouraging".