The Capercaille (Auerhuhn/Auerhahn) is an incredibly beautiful bird, but very seldomly seen in Tirol. We are just starting to enter the display/breeding time (Balzzeit) here in the Alps, but as a species they seem to be really struggling. Part of the issue is how the Alpine forests have changed over the past few decades, with much fewer cattle in the forests and a more intensive use of the forests. The large majority of our forests are controlled and managed by the Austrian state forestry company dedicated to maximisation of wood production, which does not exactly bode well for species that need open forest systems with canopy gaps and open areas for free flight. Wire fences and the intensive use of the forests (particularly in winter) have also made their lives harder.
Being able to see two Capercaille up close in the Alpenzoo a couple of weeks ago, afforded a great opportunity to take some close-up photos of a beautiful male Capercaille.
All photos taken with a Canon EOS 5D mark II, a Swarovski Optik STM80 HD spotting scope, and a TLS800 telephoto digiscoping adapter.