Merlin Unwin Books

"Merlin Unwin Books are lively, innovative countryside book publishers.

Their well-produced range of rural, wildlife, fieldsports and fishing books never fail to inform and entertain."

Philip Dunne MP
co-founder of Ottakar’s bookshops

The Black Grouse

This is the first book to be written on this fascinating, severely declining species, the Black Grouse. Author Patrick Laurie's lively natural history is interwoven with his account of his on-going battle to reintroduce them on his farm in the Scottish Borders. His beautiful illustrations convey his passion for these vulnerable birds, so full of character, from their aggressive lekking behaviour to their desperate struggle to survive against nearly-impossible odds in modern Britain.

* Black Grouse range in Britain has shrunk by 95% in the past 100
   years, with 25% of that decline since the 1990.
* Mature black grouse consistently fly higher and faster than almost
   any other gamebird, making them fantastic, testing quarry for
* If we allow raptor predation to increase, we risk losing this iconic
   bird species in Britain altogether.
* During the frozen winter of 2009/10 almost half the population of
   black grouse being monitored by the Game and Wildlife
   Conservancy Trust in the more treeless North Pennines were
   killed off by heavy snows and frost.
* The author explains why he believes it is still possible to stage a
   major black grouse renaissance in moorland shooting.

Author: Patrick Laurie
ISBN: 978 1 906122 43 0
Published: August 2012
Format: 246 x 189 mm
Binding: Hardback
No. of pages: 224
34 colour paintings
54 black & white illustrations
2 Maps/charts
Price: £20.00

The Black Grouse by Patrick Laurie

Press reviews

Reviewed by Michael Kerrigan of The Scotsman in September 2012

'This beautiful book is a labour of love, with its lively text and striking illustrations by the author.'

Reviewed by Ray Collier of Highland News in July 2012

'Whichever background you come from, this is must to read as it covers so many basic questions, including the age-old quandary between the shooting world and conservation.'

Reviewed in British Birds in November 2012

'A well-written and thought-provoking book.'

Reviewed in Keeping The Balance in October 2012

'An excellent read...a gift for any occasion to add to the sporting library.'


Reviewed in Gamewise in October 2012

‘Beautifully illustrated book …. with insightful accounts of Patrick’s own efforts to restore numbers on his farm. It is a must-read for those considering restoring them into former haunts or for those with a general interest in natural history.'

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