The Icelandic Institute of Natural History (NÍ) has determined the age of 2,884 ptarmigans that were hunted in Iceland last fall and concluded that the percentage of young birds in the ptarmigan stock is increasing.
That conclusion indicates that the ptarmigan stock is in an upswing, as NÍ ornithologist Ólafur Karl Nielsen told Morgunbladid.
Ptarmigan hunting was banned in Iceland in 2003 and 2004, which decreased the mortality rate in all age groups. However, it did not reduce the mortality rate of chicks, which has been high for many years.
Then last year, for the first time since the 1990s, the mortality rate of ptarmigan chicks suddenly dropped.
Nielsen said it appears as if a natural upswing has begun, however adding, “The ptarmigan has so often surprised us so I want to be careful about leaping to any conclusions.”
Ptarmigan is a traditional Christmas dinner in Iceland.