Walkers have been asked to stay away from paths on a Scottish estate to avoid disturbing a capercaillie looking for a mate.

A male capercaillie has been observed displaying and ‘holding his ground’ on some of the trails in the Glen Tanar estate, near Aboyne in Aberdeenshire. Due to 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, access restrictions have been agreed by Glen Tanar Ranger Service, Scottish Natural Heritage, and the Cairngorms National Park Authority.

Measures include signage, social media, and rangers who will ask visitors to avoid the area where the bird is displaying. The measure have been put in place to minimise the risk of human interference with the birds’ breeding behaviour. Since ‘lekking’ capercaillie can be aggressive, it’s also important to keep humans and dogs away from the bird – both for their safety and to prevent any attempts to defend themselves if attacked.

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

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