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Thursday, August 27, 2009

Birds of Prey

The RSPB are saying that more must be done to protect birds of prey (raptors).

According to the RSPB there were over 1000 crimes against birds such as Buzzards and Peregrines and they want such crimes to be included in national crime statistics.

Intriguingly Radio 4's Farming Today (it's on at 5:40am, I'm usually shaving!) is looking at Birds of Prey and the countryside all week. This morning a Lincolnshire hunting and shooting estate was featured. Far from complaining about raptors they were actively using them, the spokesman was saying that by increasing borders on fields and cover farmland birds were doing well, birds like Sparrowhawks would take some chicks but that these would be weaker birds and so the Sprawks were strengthing the gene pool.

He also said that when they shot rabbits to control numbers they put rabbits in the fields to attract carrion eaters like Buzzards (and in a site in Berkshire Red Kites). This was beneficial as the raptors scared off Pigeons that fed on the seed.

After you've read of idiot gamekeepers poisioning raptors it was quite encouraging.


St Jude said...

That is good to hear. Sadly when I lived in Kent Sparrowhawks were under siege from the local landowners and gamekeepers. I used to have a licence to keep birds of prey, they all came via the local wildlife hospitals and my main focus was returning them to the wild if possible. They are wonderful ceatures.

ShySongbird said...

This is quite a coincidence Pete as my latest post is entirely about the Red Kite! It is interesting too that the only time a Sparrowhawk visits my garden is when I have seen signs of the horrible disease Trichomoniasis which affects finches so badly. I am convinced the Sparrowhawk is taking the sickly birds. On the two occasions in the last two years I have seen the disease I have referred to the hawk as Dr Sprawk ;)

Jan said...

Funny you should mention the dreaded tricho, SS, but I have Greenfinches with it here again, am so upset after there had been a lot of strong healthy birds for months again. It seems to coincide with wet weather, the virus must be more prevalent then. I have found 4 dead ones so far, seen another puffed up one today, and it has also spread to the house sparrows by the looks of things. But I also have a resident Sparrowhawk. He doesn't seem to be having any luck catching the sick ones though, which although I hate to see it, woudl be a blessing that it would put them out of their misery a bit faster. sigh.