Red Grouse are a ubiquitous feature of heather dominated bog and moorlands throughout Ireland.
Tape Lure Survey
At Eire Ecology we specialise in tape lure surveys where a recording of a male grouse is played through a megaphone. The recorded call often elicits a response from grouse. The possible responses are: they may call back, call back and fly away, flush without calling, call back and fly towards (initially) the source of the recording, or there may be no response.
The ‘tape lure’ (actually a sound file of the call of the Red Grouse played from a mobile via the megaphone) is played at 250 metre intervals along each transect for a period of approximately 30 seconds at each stop. The observer stopped and scanned with binoculars for birds as the tape was being played and immediately after the tape had finished. If no response has been elicited after 30 seconds, the tape was played again for another 30 seconds and the observer waited and scanned for another 30 seconds before continuing on the route.
Timing of Surveys
This type of survey can be carried out between December and March inclusive, during this period the birds are territorial and likely to react to the tape lure. Use of the tape lure in April/May would cause unnecessary stress to birds and would thus be unethical. This type of work has to be carried out under a license as set out in Section 35 of the Wildlife Act, 1976 (as amended).