Big Conversations: Disturbance

Camouflaged on the forest floor, she sits on her eggs from late April to May. Little does she know that she’s sitting on an avian gold mine; the next generation of one of the UK’s rarest birds. 

Hen capercaillie on her nest

If we disturb her, she’ll leave her eggs in a flash. 

Other birds will do the same, but capercaillie are particularly flighty. Once exposed, her eggs are at risk of going cold or being eaten by predators. So each spring, the messages appear: Please keep to the paths and keep your dogs under control. 

But what’s the science behind the message? 

How much of an issue is human disturbance? 

Over the coming weeks we’re starting a fresh conversation about the issue of disturbance by people and dogs, and the solution: responsible enjoyment of our forests. 

Working with communities across the National Park to help people and capercaillie thrive alongside each other is what the Cairngorms Capercaillie Project is here to do. So we’re really looking forward to opening the virtual floor to a big conversation about disturbance. 

Head over to our Facebook over the next few weeks, where we’ll be hosting an online quiz and sharing insights from research. We’ll also be joined for a video Q&A by Dr Ron Summers, a leading scientist on the issue of capercaillie and disturbance.

So watch this space. Join in the conversation and thank you for taking part.

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