Background

THE PROJECT OF THE MONTH: Protecting Irish Red Grouse on Boleybrack Mountain

The latest national survey conducted in the Republic of Ireland suggested that Irish Red Grouse (Lagopus lagopus hibernicus) suffered a 70% decline in 40 years to a population of roughly 4,200 birds. While many projects were initiated in response to this, the Boleybrack Mountain Red Grouse Project stands out as a best case example.

Glenfarne Gun Club began a habitat management program to increase the red grouse population on neighbouring Boleybrack Mountain Special Area of Conservation.

In doing so, Glenfarne Gun Club collaborated with other conservation organisations, the local farmers, state wildlife and farming agencies and the National Association of Regional Game Councils to begin a program of:

  • controlled heather burning in order to create the patchwork of heather preferred by grouse;
  • predator control;
  • grit provision to aid heather digestion by grouse;
  • public awareness, education and stakeholder consultation measures.

The Boleybrack Mountain Red Grouse Project is lauded as a huge success, not just because it increased the local red grouse population and the populations of other upland birds including breeding waders and raptors, but because its educational activities have supported a new generation of upland managers and farmers.

It has helped shape agri-environmental measures for the Irish uplands as well as conservation policy and action (i.e. it has provided a best-practice template for other red grouse projects to follow).

Contact and Sources

John Carslake (Project manager) – Email:johncarslake@gmail.com

Project Brochure