Highlands & Islands

Capercaillie numbers rise in Cairngorms

Capercaillie Image copyright FES
Image caption A male capercaillie in forestry in Strathspey

A 15-year long forestry management plan has helped to increase numbers of one of Scotland's rarest birds.

Capercaillie have been declining since the 1970s with habitat loss and fatal collisions with deer fences among the causes for falling populations.

But populations in forestry in Strathspey in the Cairngorms have recovered.

There were just six displaying males - birds that are actively breeding - 15 years ago, and now there are 43.

Image copyright Thinkstock
Image caption Numbers of the large grouse have been in decline since the 1970s

The area is managed by Forest Enterprise Scotland (FES), which believes there could be as many as 200 capercaillie in its forests in Strathspey.

The management plan involves harvesting timber in a way that thins out trees to create habitat favoured by capercaillie.

The work by FES, an agency of Forestry Commission Scotland, has been recognised with a corporate achievement award from the Chartered Institute of Ecology and Environmental Management.

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