Tag: raptor persecution

RSPB | Birdcrime Report released

Every year the RSPB releases a Birdcrime Report (which can be downloaded for free as a pdf). The new report covers 2019, and has a welcome focus on the wildlife crimes that underpin the grouse shooting industry (which the RSPB wants licencing rather than banning outright – something we’ve previously discussed in ‘Grouse Moors | Licencing Slaughter’). The whole report is of course well worth reading. If you’re a lobbyist for the grouse shooting industry you’ve got to hope that no-one finds this thing because it’s incendiary, but if you’re a regular member of the public with a love of birds while the report is quite depressing (despite the positive actions outlined inside) it’s good to see just how pointed the RSPB’s criticism of grouse shooting has become.

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RSPB calls for a ban on peatland burning: why?

There are many reasons to loathe the grouse shooting industry: it’s built entirely around the shooting of wild birds (Red Grouse) and the trapping/snaring of vast (unrecorded so no-one knows just how vast) numbers of native predators (from mountain hares and foxes to mustelids and corvids); it’s underpinned by wildlife crime that is provably crushing populations of raptors on grouse moors (especially Hen Harriers and Golden Eagles); and it depends on the regular burning of blanket bogs and peatland to promote the growth of young heather (the grouse feed on young heather shoots and this damaging practice has been taking place for more than 150 years now). Now the RSPB has called for a ban on burning in the uplands. Why is that? Hopefully the following will go some way to explain…

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Sat tag discovered in river wrapped in lead

The RSPB has just released news of a satellite-tag discovered in a river wrapped in lead sheeting. That’s right, an environmental toxin has been used to mute the signal from a tag previously fitted to a Golden Eagle that ‘vanished’ somewhere near a grouse moor several years ago and chucked into a river to sink into the same oblivion that some estate owners wish on all birds of prey. If it was a storyline in a novel it would be a nice twist, but probably too ‘out there’ for a reader to be convinced it could happen. At least until now…Oh, and check this post for what the laughable Scottish Gamekeepers Association are reported as saying…

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Wiltshire teen arrested on raptor persecution charge

All birds of prey are protected by law (and have been for more than half a century (see The Protection of Birds Act, 1954), but as most of us know all too well illegal persecution is taking place across the UK. Stories like the article we’ve reproduced from the Swindon Advertiser are sadly commonplace, but this one has a particular resonance because the part of Wiltshire featured in the Advertiser is actually pretty close to an important (if absolutely misguided and contentious) raptor ‘reintroduction’ project…Natural England’s Hen Harrier ‘brood meddling’ scheme (see Hen Harrier Brood-meddling 101 for details), which aims to placate grouse moor owners by moving Hen Harrier chicks off grouse moors and putting them – as NE desperately claims – somewhere safe: south Wiltshire.

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Three young Montagu’s Harriers killed in the Netherlands

“A colleague who was about to place a protection cage around a nest of Montagu’s Harriers found a very clear form of bird-of-prey hatred. Near the nest were three dead young Montagu’s Harriers in the middle of the road. Together with our colleague, the immediate surroundings of the nest were examined and there were clear traces of a human walking to and from the nest. It can be concluded from this that someone knowingly took three young of this rare species from the nest, killed them and left them openly on the road.” Grauwe Kiekendief – Kenniscentrum Akkervogels, Augst 2020.

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Another poisoning in North Yorks?

A sparrowhawk has been found in Ryedale (North Yorks), according to local press reports “convulsing and clenching its talons” symptoms which would indicate poisoning. The dying bird was found in woodland near Kirkbymoorside in Ryedale, taken for veterinary care, but died a short time later. A spokesperson for North Yorkshire Police said: “…we want to make the community aware so they can take precautions to keep pets, children and themselves safe.” Haven’t we heard warnings exactly like that from the same police force only recently? Indeed we have, and that would be because of the ‘Nidderdale Cocktail’…

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