At the end of September I attended an RSPB Scotland Friends of the Capercaillie event at Abernethy National Nature Reserve.

Friends of the Capercaillie is a group run by RSPB Scotland with the aim of saving the endangered capercaillie from extinction in Scotland. The group runs events to raise awareness of the capercaillie and the efforts being made by landowners across Scotland to preserve vital habitat and promote population growth.

The event involved an introduction at Abernethy, home to the largest single remnant of Caledonian pinewood left in the UK, which is favoured by the Capercaillie, followed by a tour around part of the Reserve. We learned about the habitat and behaviours of the capercaillie, including the famous “lek”, and also the wider conservation efforts at the Reserve. This was followed by a talk from RSPB’s Capercaillie Project Officer which highlighted the major factors affecting the decline of the capercaillie population, and really brought home how threatened these birds are.

The following day the group joined local landowners, land managers and representatives from other bodies involved in the conservation efforts for a walk around Boat of Garten Wood. We heard about the works undertaken and progress made within the woodland and the local community to promote the safeguarding of the woodland as a capercaillie habitat, particularly in relation to disturbance of the capercaillie by local walkers and dogs. It was also a forum for those present to share ideas and concerns about the progress of capercaillie conservation in the area.

More information about the work of Friends of the Capercaillie is available here.