Last year in highland Perthshire, one of Scotland’s most iconic birds, the black grouse, had another successful year and people have the opportunity to go to special events to see them this spring.
The Perthshire Black Grouse Study Group has been monitoring the black grouse population in highland Perthshire since 1990. Thirty dedicated volunteers1 check all suitable habitat and count numbers of black grouse within seven 10 km squares. That’s an area of 70,000 hectares, roughly spanning across from Kinloch Rannoch to Kirkmichael and from Aberfeldy up to Blair Atholl. Between mid-March and mid-May, volunteers make at least two visits at dawn to count ‘lekking’ males2 providing crucial information about how well the birds are doing.
This spring, RSPB Scotland, the John Muir Trust and Dun Coillich Project will be running lek viewing events near Schiehallion to offer people the chance to see these magnificent birds.
Lauren Shannon, RSPB Scotland Community Engagement Officer said: “Watching a black grouse lek is a must see wildlife experience – with extravagant displays and competitive sparring amid bubbling calls that carry across the hill. These partnership events are a great chance to see this impressive lekking display and learn more about it.”
Despite national declines in numbers of black grouse, in highland Perthshire they have bounced back and numbers have been increasing since 2002. The area is now a stronghold for this species due to its mosaic of habitats with recent studies showing that they are responding well to native tree planting in the region3.