This month we are celebrating the success of our Black Grouse project in partnership with Drumardoch Estate, which is the first project to be completed as a part of Callander’s Landscape!

The Black Grouse project, which falls under the project theme of ‘restore’, aims to extend black grouse habitat within the Callander landscape. The project builds on an existing partnership by six farms and estates working collaboratively to look after black grouse over an 8,000 hectare area from Callander to Loch Earn as part of the National Park Authority’s Wild Park biodiversity programme.

The black grouse is a priority species for several reasons. Not only are they are a great sign of healthy habitats for other species, but they are greatly threatened in Scotland. Grazing by sheep and deer over a long period of time can reduce the diversity of plants that black grouse need to see them through the year. Pressure from predators including foxes and crows and disturbance from human activity can also reduce breeding success. Furthermore, as moorland habitats are vital for black grouse, encroaching high density plantations can reduce their numbers. Low density native woodland provides food and also shelter from these various pressures.

As part of Callander’s Landscape, Drumardoch Estate has been carrying out work to secure 6.11 hectares of low density woodland by fencing and planting. This will support the diversity of habitat types and variety of vegetation which in turn we hope will impact positively on black grouse numbers.

Drone footage of the works at Drumardoch Estate (© RTS Forestry)

These capital works have now been completed, so the next step will be to monitor the site to see if black grouse numbers continue to improve. To establish whether numbers have increased, volunteers will monitor lek gatherings, when males use their groovy dance moves to try and attract a mate.

We’ll keep you up to date on how these work impact on black grouse numbers throughout the project.