Thursday, June 5, 2014

Buzzards - Here we Go Again

Here we go again. 5th June 2014. Our UK Buzzards are under a new threat from nameless individuals.  

Buzzard - Buteo buteo
“The RSPB is concerned to learn that Natural England — the UK Government's nature conservation agency — is considering a licence application to trap and shoot 10 Common Buzzards to protect young Pheasants. Natural England is expected to make a decision on the fate of the Buzzards imminently. 

Martin Harper is the RSPB's Conservation Director. He said: "The Buzzard is a fully protected bird of prey which is only now recovering its numbers from sustained historic persecution, which saw the bird lose much of its UK population and range. Any relaxation of their current protection, coupled with ongoing persecution, could threaten local populations. Their vulnerability is a key reason why we are fighting for their protection." 

Last year Natural England granted licences to control Buzzards at a chicken farm, and at a Pheasant shoot — the first time such licences had been issued. Subsequent licence applications to kill adult Buzzards at four Pheasant shoots managed by the original applicant were then rejected by Natural England. The RSPB has learnt that an application was made on 23rd April to cage-trap and shoot ten Buzzards across four sites to prevent 'serious damage' to Pheasant poults. 

The Society knows the applicant has sought licences to control Buzzards in previous years. Martin Harper added: "I am disappointed that a new licence application has been sought to control Buzzards to protect gamebirds. To our knowledge, there isn't convincing evidence to justify issuing licences for the control of Buzzards and we think the application should be rejected by Natural England, especially since they rejected applications for the same activity last year. It's time that wildlife licensing is conducted in a more transparent way. A test of a modern 21st-century society is one that is open and tolerates birds of prey and finds ways to live in harmony with them." 

There are a variety of ways to prevent young Pheasants being killed by Buzzards. For example, by creating cover for the gamebirds, or by installing deterrents to keep Buzzards away. The RSPB has written to Defra calling for clear guidance to Natural England to reject all licences to control Buzzards to protect gamebirds.” 

Pheasants, an introduced species, released in their millions every Spring do untold damage to native species like Grey Partridge. Buzzards are a native species have recolonized areas from which they were previously wiped out by shooting interests. 

Buzzard - Buteo buteo

Buzzard - Buteo buteo

The RSPB should name (and shame) the applicant and the sites involved, both to give unwelcome local publicity and to enable local bird watchers to monitor the area. 

I suggest that everyone reading this send an immediate complaint to Natural England via their website. Somewhat ironically the Natural Engand slogan is “Natural England – for people, for places for nature”.


Carole M. said...

that is an alarming message Phil. Your photographs are superb; such a handsome raptor...

eileeninmd said...

A sad message! Your buzzard shots are amazing! Thanks for sharing!

Seumus Eaves said...

Thanks for raising this Phil, I for one will be in touch with NE.



Bob Bushell said...

Bloody government, they won't stop until they have killed them all. The Tories are always on side with the rich land owners.

Chris Rohrer said...

Terrible! I agree....transparent is the only way to go. Ridiculous that they allow certain rights to certain people to determine the fate of a threatened bird. As far as I'm concerned, it should all be outlawed and releasing pheasants into the wild would be a big no no in most places around the US. Hope someone hears the message and does something about it.

David Gascoigne said...

This is the dumbest thing I have heard in years. Why on earth a native species would be subject to a cull to protect an alien species confounds logic. I will register my protest on their web site.

Dave Lewis said...

Let's hear it for our governments...always trying to destroy nature "for the good of the people." Morons.

Christian Perrin said...

This just defies rational logic. Why would a native species be shot in order to protect an introduced one found throughout the UK in its millions?

The truth is, the Buzzard would be a "fun" target for some idiot with a gun, who will feel more powerful for destroying a bird of prey than a meek Pheasant. If it were truly about Pheasant protection, the applicant would be investing more heavily into other protection measures, like better shelter.

Russell Jenkins said...

I feel sick reading this post, Phil. Your pictures are truly beautiful but the heads thinking about this are from some kind of fiction from a day gone by. I've been watching a show called Game of Thrones and it leaves me with similar feelings to this story. All Australian raptors are native and have been protected since 1972 which I regard as embarrassingly recent to have such poor policies. The poor little rednecks that are threatened by natural hunters make me sick. Do they play cricket too per chance? (I say in jest as an aussie. I want them to face Lillee and Thomson in 1974!)

Isidro Ortiz said...

Buenas capturas en vuelo del ratonero.Un abrazo

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