THE conservation of a rare bird in Orkney is being helped by real ale drinkers.
Orkney Brewery is raising a glass to the protected corncrake by producing a special beer in its name with the proceeds going towards helping the threatened species.
Corncrake Ale has so far raised £10,405 towards conservation of the bird.
Norman Sinclair, Managing Director at the Orkney Brewery has presented the latest cheque for £3,555 to RSPB Scotland in support of the charity’s work for corncrakes.
Corncrakes, one of Scotland’s rarest breeding birds, migrate from Africa to Orkney every summer to breed.
Mr Sinclair came up with the idea for Corncrake Ale after one bird nearly interrupted the building of the new Brewery Visitor Centre at Quoyloo several years ago.
He explained: “We nearly delayed work on the new building to give a corncrake calling on site a chance to breed.
“Fortunately for our plans the bird then chose to head elsewhere! Not long afterwards I needed to come up with a name for a new ale in a hurry, and with corncrakes fresh in my mind that’s how Corncrake Ale came about.”
He added: “I am very pleased to be working with RSPB Scotland to offer some assistance through the success of Corncrake Ale to the Orkney bird that gave it its name.”
Inga Seator, RSPB Scotland’s Corncrake Officer in Orkney, received the cheque on behalf of the charity, saying: “We’re very grateful to Mr Sinclair and the Orkney Brewery for their continuing support.
“Not only does the money boost our efforts on the ground to help corncrakes, it also raises awareness.
“Having the iconic Corncrake Ale label distributed on bottles and pump clips throughout the UK will certainly bring corncrakes into conversation - it’s nice to think that people might be chatting about our Orkney corncrakes over a pint, even in cities far from where you’d hear a corncrake now.”
Despite recent fluctuations due to cold, late springs, conservation efforts have seen corncrakes across Scotland recover their numbers from a low of just 400 calling male birds in the early 1990s to 1,069 in 2015.