(image: Shot-Common Buzzard, Buteo-buteo)
Who doesn’t love a Raptor?
It would appear, when you search the internet for ‘bird of prey persecution’ that there are page after page of results, (just one example here) there are many people that would prefer that there were no birds of prey around them at all.
Classing them either as vermin, pests or simply just a nuisance, they are exterminated with such an intensity that local populations could and possibly do disappear altogether. There definitely is no love for Raptors in some peoples eyes, many actually loath them. To someone who cares passionately about our wildlife and especially our birds of prey, this is nonsensical, these sociopaths do it because they feel they can, without impunity for their actions.
Surely now you love Raptors?
Now, before people start saying Owls aren’t Raptors, lets leave that debate for another day, you can read this article from Kenn Kaufman in the meantime!
Short-eared and Barn Owls are known to be illegally killed on a regular basis, occasionally Tawny Owls too.
The RSPB’s Birdcrime 2019 report (and Appendices here) shows that out of the 85 confirmed Raptor/Bird of Prey persecution incidents, 45 involved shooting. 3 were Barn Owls and the Common Buzzard topped that list with 24.
In 2019 two of the UK’s most notorious Raptor Persecution blackspots were again in England & Scotland, namely North Yorkshire & Strathbraan and Strathdon
“Raptor persecution cases in Scotland almost exclusively occur on land managed for gamebird shooting, and particularly driven grouse moors”Acknowledgement: RSPB Birdcrime 2019 ‘Raptor persecution blackspots 2019’
“In 2019, a hen harrier was found shot dead on a grouse moor in Nidderdale. The hen harrier, named River, had been fitted with a satellite tracking device…. It contained two pieces of shot; further proof of the criminality continuing unchecked on these moors.”Acknowledgement: RSPB Birdcrime 2019 ‘Raptor persecution blackspots 2019’
Please tell me you love Raptors?
So, why do I go on about this? Because it’s so very important! I want it to stop, do you too? Our (yours & mine) Raptors, are being killed relentlessly around the UK, and as you can read from the links, large scale eradication takes place on driven grouse moors, but also (maybe/probably, due to much better general public awareness) individual birds are being reported, found shot around gamebird rearing estates and farmland all over the UK. You can read more about yet another shooting of a Common Buzzard, this time in Cambridgeshire very recently (here), written by the WAR ON WILDLIFE Project. During the three lockdowns we have had to endure over the past year, illegal persecution of Birds of Prey has been ‘given’ the green light, a free-for-all for those that are so inclined to go on a Raptor killing shooting spree.
As I said above, I want this illegal persecution to stop and I’m sure, and hope, that most of you reading this want it to stop as well. Together we, all of us, have a chance to at least do something to try to help turn the tide on these wildlife crimes. Until we do, none of our Raptors are safe, not even the mightiest of them all the White-tailed Eagle. It’s not scaremongering to say either, that if we don’t try to do something we could lose iconic species, such as Hen Harriers, from our skies altogether.
My project needs your help, if you haven’t already, please read all about PROJECT CamTag, a project aiming to use cutting edge technology, to produce a camera satellite tag that could help with the detection of those causing harm to our wildlife. If you are reading this then please help by spreading the word on social media, and making a donation to my JustGiving campaign would be very much appreciated. Our magnificent Birds of Prey are surely worth it?
Coincidently, as I was just about to start this blog last weekend, I found this skull locally, I believe from a Common Buzzard, it was not with the rest of its skeleton, lets hope on this occasion it died of natural causes.
If you would like to contribute, it would also be good to hear what your thoughts are about my project through your comments.