Report on the illegal killing of raptors

The following was posted on Facebook by Birders against wildliife crime:

RSPB Scotland launches 20 year report on illegal killing of birds of prey

A press-release from the RSPB begins with the following: “RSPB Scotland has published a detailed 20 year review of the illegal killing of birds of prey in Scotland, which confirms that 779 protected raptors were illegally killed between 1994 and 2014. In total, 468 birds of prey were poisoned, 173 were shot and 76 were caught in illegal traps. There were also seven attempted shootings. The figures include 104 red kites, 37 golden eagles, 30 hen harriers, 16 goshawks and 10 white-tailed eagles.”

Tip and iceberg comes to mind, and the statement goes on to say that “a further 171 incidents, poison baits and/or non-bird of prey victims of poisoning were found, including 14 domestic cats and 14 dogs. There were also an additional 134 incidents where, although no victim was recovered, clear attempts had been made to target raptors – through the use of illegal traps for example”.

And who is doing all this illegal killing? Who – or what – is committing all these crimes? Rather than speculate, we’ll let the RSPB fill in the gaps: “…over the past 20 years a significant majority of cases take place in areas associated with game-bird shooting, and in particular within upland areas managed intensively for driven grouse shooting.”

Anyone surprised? Of course not.

Congratulations to the oft-criticised RSPB, and especially their Investigations Team who embody the ethos of unsung heroes and do a fantastic job under constant scrutiny by the ‘guardians of the countryside’ and the establishment (and of course mischief-makers in well-funded lobby groups). Our one ‘raised eyebrow’ perhaps comes from the sentiment expressed by Stuart Housden in the press-release that says, “We encourage the Scottish Government to initiate the planned review of game-bird licensing systems in other similar countries as soon as possible so we can learn and adopt best practice to ensure a sustainable future for sports shooting.” While understandable from the POV of the charity’s charter, it always galls to read a bird conservation organisation offering emollient words on the ‘sport’ of killing wild birds – especially when – as their own report proves – it is that very industry that is taking aim at our birds of prey…

There is a tremendously well-written breakdown (as always) of the figures by the team at Raptor Persecution Scotland at…/new-repo…/.

Like to help ban driven grouse shooting and remove the ‘motives’ to kill raptors?

The RSPB press-release with links to the Report is at…/411729-rspb-scotland-launches-20-y…

Birders Against Wildlife Crime's photo.

Comment from Mike Clark on the Paris Agreement

I imagine you will have been following the news over the weekend.

At half past six on Saturday 12 December 2015 a global climate change deal was struck.  The Paris Agreement sends a clear signal that the economies of the world must wean themselves off fossil fuels, that we will do what it takes to avoid dangerous global temperature rises, that we will protect both the poorest people of the world and the natural world.

This is the culmination of nearly a decade of campaigning governments, businesses and civil society.  The RSPB has played its part from the outset, as founding member of Stop Climate Chaos, the forerunner to the Climate Coalition.  Our supporters have taken to the streets across the UK calling for climate action, and have lobbied their political representatives for a fair and binding climate change deal.

We should be proud that, as part of Birdlife International partnership, we have had impact.

Our understanding of the enormity of the threat to people and wildlife has grown over the years, but it is now clear that without action, millions of species will be committed to extinction.  This is why the deal is so important.

Our special agent in Paris (and pretty much all previous climate talks), John Lanchbery, gave his reaction to the deal here.  You should note the significance of the deal for protecting tropical forests and other important carbon stores, such as peatlands.

I would like to extend my thanks and congratulations to all involved in the talks, especially John and the Birdlife team.

The important job of implementing the deal begins today.

Normandy Marsh walk

Our next bird walk on Thursday, 17 December will be around Normandy Marsh – park at the bottom of Maiden Lane near the Salterns Sailing Club.  Start time 10.00am as usual.  I have provisionally booked 12 places for Christmas lunch at the Chequers Inn and will confirm numbers at the start of the walk and let the pub know.  If you would like to join us for lunch at about !.00pm but are not coming on the walk, please let Tony know in advance so that the right number of places can be booked.