A tasty bed time snack is helping prevent the loss of one of Scotland’s rarest resident breeding birds.
Populations of the red-billed chough, which lives on the islands of Islay and Colonsay, have been in serious decline for several years resulting in the bird being given amber conservation status by the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB).
Last year only 39 breeding pairs were counted on Islay compared to 95 breeding pairs in 1986.
Conservationists from the island and Aberdeen University noticed the problem seemed to be a poor survival rate for young choughs, with few birds managing to survive the two or three year period between leaving the nest as fledglings and becoming adults.
To try and help Scottish Natural Heritage (SNH) has been working with the Scottish Clough Study Group and local farmers to provide additional food for young birds.
For the last three seasons the young birds have been given a nutritious mealworm snack at their pre-roost feeding areas before they go to their communal roosts for the night.