Capercaillie warning on Deeside estate

There are low numbers of capercaillie remaining in Deeside. Picture: Luke Massey
There are low numbers of capercaillie remaining in Deeside. Picture: Luke Massey

An aggressive capercaillie looking for a mate has led to a warning to walkers to stay off footpaths on a Deeside estate.

Glen Tanar says a male bird has been displaying “lekking” behaviour on some of the trails. And there is concern he may attack trail users who get too near.

Glen Tanar Ranger Service, Scottish Natural Heritage (SNH) and Cairngorms National Park Authority (CNPA) have agreed temporary measures to manage access.

Police Scotland have also been made aware of the situation.

Although it is currently outwith the normal time of year for lekking activity, the capercaillie’s behaviour is consistent with the mating ritual and disturbing the bird may constitute an offence.

A statement on the Glen Tanar estate website says: “In view of the very low numbers of capercaillie remaining in Deeside, the aggressive behaviour of the bird and that it is an offence to disturb lekking capercaillie - temporary measures to manage access have been agreed.

“The agreed steps include signage, social media and ranger activity to request visitors avoid the area the bird is using. These measures are varied in response to both public behaviour and the response of the bird.

“The estate, SNH and CNPA are content that these carefully judged measures are proportionate and effective, and do not unreasonably interfere with public access.”

“We can understand peoples’ desire to catch a glimpse of the rare capercaillie, but it is important that this protected species be left alone.

“Please help us to ensure the welfare of this bird and ensure that everyone follows all on-site signage and respects the restrictions in place.”