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Title of the project

Merlin Breeding Success on Moorland Managed for Red Grouse


The objectives are taking British Trust for Ornithology Bird Atlas data for breeding records of Merlin and overlaying them on land managed specifically for the wild game bird, the red grouse. To plot the trends of breeding records over time and successive national surveys.
The hunters are involved directly as it is the land managed by them that is the study area. If Merlin breeding records were higher on the land managed for red grouse there would be a positive management practices that help this bird of prey species – the smallest in Britain – survive.


Merlin breeding records were four times more numerous on moorland managed for red grouse than moorland where there were no gamekeepers. The breeding records of merlin had more than doubled on moors managed fro red grouse over 20 years between surveys whilst moors with no keepers saw their breeding records for merlin drop by half. 80% of Merlin breeding records were found on moorland managed for red grouse in England.


Country United Kingdom
Level Regional
Site The project looked at Merlin breeding success across the grouse moors of England which occur in Northumberland, Durhma, Cumbria, Lancashire Yorkshire and Derbyshire
Region North West, North East, Yorkshire and Derbyshire

Starting date


Habitat Types

Farmland, Scrub/Grassland, Mountains

Protection status of the areas

Natura 2000, National protected area


Species Caracteristics Protected species, Threatened species
Species Type Birds
Name(s) of main species Merlin (Falco columbarius)

Conservation action(s)

Management of habitats and wildlife (e.g. conservation and restoration activities), Research and data collection (e.g. monitoring, bag data), Communication and education (for different target audiences e.g. hunters, the wider public), Policy work (e.g. positioning of hunting organisations, demonstrating conservation actions)


Leading partners Penny Anderson AssociatesBritish Trust for Ornithology

Estimation of the budget (total or annual)


Estimation of Human Resources needed

2 days mapping work2 days report writing