Grouse and their habitats are of much interest to hunters and game-dog enthusiasts, and to the many others involved in outdoor recreation. However, grouse are also of great value in their own right as a beautiful part of nature.
Recent research regarding government policies has clarified old problems and controversies, which makes this new study on British grouse timely, if not essential. Adam Watson and Robert Moss offer some insight into the natural history and biology of British grouse species, ranging from aspects of behaviour and historical relevance of their names to population fluctuations and conservation efforts.
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Aged 13, Adam Watson saw his first ptarmigan on a lone climb to Derry Cairngorm in 1943 and began to record numbers, and in the winter of 1951/2 studied them there for an honours degree at Aberdeen University. He has studied black grouse, capercaillie and Irish red grouse, and accompanied ecologists on their fieldwork in Iceland, Norway and Alaska.
Robert Moss graduated in honours biochemistry at University College London. He showed a keen interest in chemical aspects of the work on red grouse and has worked on red grouse, and also on ptarmigan, black grouse and capercaillie in Scotland. Abroad, he has studied Icelandic ptarmigan, and rock, willow and white-tailed ptarmigan, during a year based at the University of Alaska in Fairbanks.