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Last Updated: Thursday, 2 August 2007, 09:58 GMT 10:58 UK
Climate change worries for bird
Female ring ouzel. Picture by RSPB
Ring ouzel feed on earthworms and berries
A rare mountain bird is to be radio tracked following concerns that its numbers are declining because of climate change.

Ring ouzels could be struggling because warmer weather is drying out soil making it harder for them to catch earthworms, according to RSPB Scotland.

Fledglings in the Cairngorms National Park are to be monitored in a project backed by other organisations.

Also known as mountain blackbirds, they winter in Spain and Morocco.

Innes Sim, RSPB research biologist and the project leader, said the decline was not thought to be linked to poor breeding.

He said: "We think that the main problems may occur after the breeding season once all the chicks fledge.

"Very little is known about what the birds do in this period and before they migrate to south-east Spain and Morocco where they spend the winter."

Tracking the latest batch of Cairngorms birds represents the second of a three-year effort to monitor them.

This year the project will focus on nests in Braemar and is co-funded by Scottish Natural Heritage and supported by the Cairngorms National Park Authority.

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