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Czech, Bavarian parks to jointly monitor birds of grouse family

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Keply, West Bohemia, April 25 (CTK) – The managements of the national parks of Sumava, southwest Bohemia, and the adjacent Bavarian Forest have launched a three-year project of monitoring birds of the grouse family aimed to ascertain the size of their populations and their genetic potential, Martin Stary has told CTK.

They will monitor the three local species, which is the wood grouse, the black grouse and the hazel grouse, in their natural environment, analyse their droppings and make aerial photos of their habitats, Stary, head of the NPS nature protection department, said.

He said all three species are strictly protected, but the rarest of them is the black grouse whose population seems to be shrinking. About 50 to 70 black grouse live in the NPS, which is the largest of the four Czech national parks.

The wood grouse population is considerably stronger. Five years ago, experts monitored it in the Czech-Bavarian border zone where they found some 550 specimen, including 350 in Czech territory, Stary said.

He said the number of hazel grouse is probably even stronger.

The monitoring project will help ascertain the present situation and find out details about the three species.

As far as the black grouse is concerned, experts discuss it whether its population in the NPS should be supported by artificial release of additional birds in the wild.

“We do not want to do so until we have information about the genetic development, such as some genetic degradation in the local population. The project will provide the necessary information,” Stary said.

The project includes aerial photographing of the area that will help create a 3D model of the local vegetation.

“We will compare the structure of the forest and vegetation with the places where the three species occur. We want to create a joint vegetation map and a model of both parks including the grouse’s habitats,” Stary said.


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