From Iceland — Ptarmigan Population At Its Lowest Since 1964

Ptarmigan Population At Its Lowest Since 1964

Published August 19, 2022

Photo by
Jan Frode Haugseth

Ptarmigan population in Northeast Iceland is at its lowest ever, reports RÚV. The reason behind this—a cold and wet summer season.

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The Natural History Institute calculated the summertime population growth of ptarmigan and concluded that it’s weakest in the northeast since records began in 1964.

In West Iceland, records have been kept since 1995. This summer has also shown the lowest population growth since then.

According to the Natural History Institute, during the spring season ptarmigan population was growing, but the summer changed everything. Ptarmigan chicks are believed to have died from exposure to wet and cold spells.

It is also believed that the proportion of female ptarmigan without chicks in Northeast Iceland is higher than ever before.

The ptarmigan is a popular game bird for hunters. The population size and hunting are strictly controlled. Last year, over 20,000 birds were hunted, with the limits believed to be even stricter this year.

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