MORE than two decades of conservation work has handed an important lifeline to an under-threat bird.

Since the 1990s countryside rangers have worked on Denbighshire Moorlands to provide a helping hand to black grouse

The black grouse, an upland animal, is a priority species for conservation action in Wales.

One of the main reasons the species remains under threat is the degradation of habitat. black grouse require a mosaic of habitat including young and mature heather, farmland, bog and scattered trees.

To safeguard the black grouse on Denbighshire Moorland a partnership including Denbighshire County Council Clwydian Range and Dee valley National Landscapes, farmers, NRW, RSPB and Flintshire County Council have worked since 1997 to monitor the health of local populations and improve their habitats.

Denbighshire Moorlands are an upland region in Conwy and Denbighshire, between Eryri and the Clwydian Range. It includes the large reservoirs Llyn Brenig and Llyn Alwen, as well as Clocaenog Forest.

Rangers return year on year to traditional ‘Lek sites’ at dawn to survey over 2000 hectres of moorland to monitor the birds.

The Lek sites are where the males gather during April and May to compete for a mate. They do this by putting on a display and creating a bubbling noise to which a female will be attracted to.

Data obtained by the rangers has become important in mapping out the future for local Black Grouse populations and this year’s survey carried out has seen an increase in numbers.

Nearly 40 Birds were seen in 2023 and around 80 in 2024 across Denbighshire Moorlands

Jack Parry, Moorland Field Officer, explained:” Work by the rangers has discovered an increase in black grouse which is great news that there have not been any further losses. However, the species is still in a fragile state, and we are continuing to collaborate with Farmers and landowners at our uplands sites to help improve the moorlands for our upland species including Black Grouse.

“Work to bring back and improve the habitats include Heather Mowing and burning, creating wet scrapes and managing the tree cover on site.”

Cllr Barry Mellor, Lead Member for Environment and Transport and Biodiversity Champion, added: “Its good news that the work of this partnership has seen an upturn in the number of Black Grouse this year which is a step in the right direction for this at-risk species. I know the rangers are working hard to push forward protection for these birds which will provide a helping hand into the future.”