Covid-19 and the Cairngorms Capercaillie Project

Everybody involved in the Cairngorms Capercaillie Project, including the Carrbridge Capercaillie Group, recognises that now is a time to focus on the health and welfare of our families, friends and the wider community.

Although project work is continuing, changes are in place as outlined below.

Community Ranger

Based on Scottish Government guidance related to the pandemic, Tom, the Community Ranger for Carrbridge is not working in the village at the moment. It’s not clear yet when Tom will be back on the ground, but for now he’s still supporting communities, including Carrbridge, by volunteering two days a week to help the community relief effort.

Lek surveys

A small number of estates, including Seafield Estate, were able to safely complete lek surveys in April. The surveys found that the number of birds visiting the local lek sites is on a par with previous years, but numbers are still critically low. Further afield, the majority of other lek surveys across the National Park could not be completed safely. This will mean a limited understanding of how capercaillie have fared this lek season, but data from 2019 can still be used as a baseline.

Safeguarding capercaillie during breeding season

To help protect capercaillie from disturbance during breeding season Tom, the Community Ranger, would ordinarily maintain a presence to chat to people at the trail heads to sensitive areas for capercaillie around Carrbridge. In accordance with guidance from Scottish Government Tom is not able to do this, but signage remains in place to help people recognise the sensitive areas around the village.

Community consultation

The Carrbridge Capercaillie Conservation Strategy was due to be published for consultation from March 23, but due to the lockdown measures in place this process has been postponed. For more detail see the news post here.


A respectful amount of communication will continue during these difficult times to help people stay in touch with the project if they wish to. The website will be kept up to date with news, and the Carrbridge Capercaillie Newsletter will continue to be published digitally for interested Carrbridge residents. To read the latest edition of Carrbridge Capercaillie News click here.

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