To measure numerical trends over time in northern England, the number of males is counted and measured at 5–20 specific counting sites using dogs indicating annual breeding success.
Since 2015, there has been an unprecedented series of six poor breeding years over seven years, with annual productivity ranging from 0.2 to 0.8 per female, thus as low as 1.3 chicks per female. a constant number. During this period, the expected hatching in June occurred in the four warmest Junes of the past 30 years. Such a humid or cold climate in June is associated with poor chick survival due to low temperatures and the rare presence of insects.
All this, in the spring of 2015, resulted in a 53% drop in the number of males participating in breeding areas. Given last year’s further low productivity (0.3 chicks per female), a further decline in birds is expected this spring. Despite this, the overall 33-year trend remains stable, indicating that the population in northern England is large enough to withstand these bad years. However, if the trend persists – writes Phil Warren gamewise magazine – Areas frequented by this wonderful grouse are prone to further degradation and depletion.
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