An English egg collector has been handed a six month prison sentence, suspended for three years, and a 5000 Lev (£2024) fine after pleading guilty to the illegal possession of 16 birds’ eggs and three taxidermy specimens by a court in Burgas, Bulgaria, today. This follows a lengthy investigation by the Burgas Police, assisted by The Bulgarian Society for the Protection of Birds (BSPB) [Note 2], and the RSPB.
This shocking picture shows the moment a huge bird of prey dropped off its lunch in Manchester city centre bringing shock and horror to passing members of the public . (The hawk photographed was identified by Raptor Politics as an escaped Harris Hawk and posed no danger to the public.)
An exciting new European Union-supported project aims to achieve a secure and sustainable future for one of our most threatened birds of prey: the hen harrier.
Focusing on seven sites designated as nesting sites under the European Union Birds Directive [note] for hen harriers in northern England, and southern and eastern Scotland, the European-funded Hen Harrier LIFE+ Project is an ambitious five-year programme of direct conservation action, community engagement, and awareness-raising measures.
The Hen Harrier, Britain’s most persecuted birds of prey.
We have added a link where you can listen to Monty Don talking on today’s BBC4 broadcast ‘The Shared Planet’ about the Hen Harrier and the many problems this endangered protected raptor is facing on red grouse moorland. You can hear Monty and others talking about the proposed management plane to save Hen Harriers and what measured can be put in place to save this threatened species from extinction following relentless persecution. Monty makes a very interesting comment at the beginning of his introduction, he tell the listener, ” no body in their right mind takes any pleasure in destroying such an extraordinary bird.” Well clearly there are some individuals in our society who do like to kill them, otherwise the Hen Harrier would not be on the verge of extinction in England.
Stephen Murphy holding on of the satellite tagged Hen Harrier from Langholm earlier this year.
Since COP10 CMS has been confronted with several cases of illegal killing, taking and trade in birds. Although a problem of global scale, there are specific regions and hotspots in the world where it is particularly acute and well documented, as is the case with the Mediterranean Region. Several CMS instruments are attempting to address this issue, such as AEWA, the Raptors MOU and the Siberian Crane MOU, but the severity of the problem requires an integrative and unified approach under the broader CMS framework.
To that effect a draft Resolution on the Prevention of Illegal Killing, Taking and Trade of Migratory Birds has been prepared for the consideration of COP. This draft Resolution contributes to the wider process of combating wildlife crime and is in line with CBD Aichi Target 12, the CMS Strategic Plan 2006-2014 and the upcoming Strategic Plan for Migratory Species 2015-2023. The 18th Meeting of the Scientific Council (Bonn, 1-3 July 2014) recommended the submission of this Resolution to COP for its adoption.
The majority of raptors poisoned in Scotland were killed by the same illegal pesticide, wildlife experts have revealed. Around 70% of 83 birds killed by poison since 2009 had consumed carbofuran.
The pesticide, which was banned in 2001 and made illegal in Scotland in 2005, was responsible for the death of a satellite-tagged golden eagle in the Angus Glens in November 2013.
The Scottish Government’s Wildlife Crime in Scotland annual report has revealed the number of crimes recorded has remained static since 2009. The largest increase involved fish, deer and rabbit poaching.
Paul Wheelhouse, environment minister, said: “While poaching is the most commonly recorded offence, crimes against our beautiful birds of prey and pearl mussels remain the most serious in terms of damage to Scotland’s natural environment and our reputation. Though the numbers involved are relatively small, there is absolutely no room for complacency.
“I remain unsympathetic to those who believe that crimes against wildlife are of little consequence and can somehow be justified. Offences can have massive ecological impacts whilst others involve great levels of cruelty and I will not accept this in a modern, vibrant Scotland.”
Six buzzards and 16 red kites were found dead in the Ross-shire area of the Highlands between March and June this year. Police confirmed that at least 12 of the birds were poisoned.
The number of wildlife crimes reported to police has risen by around 5.5% since 2009, with a 6.5% rise in convictions.
Readers may be interested in reading a new article recently published by the Milvus Raptor Conservation Group (Romania) all about the The Red-footed Falcon (Falco vespertinus which is one of the main target species of the Group’s raptor conservation activities. The Milvus group have several projects focusing on the protection of this small size falcon, the international LIFE program being one of them. Within this project the Milvus group began to monitor the autumn roosting sites of Red-footed Falcons. This species breeds in colonies and it’s gregarious during migration as well. They form night roosts from the end of August to the end of September/first days of October, and several hundreds of birds (sometimes above one thousand) can gather at one single roosting site. These places are usually small tree patches or roadside trees. You can follow the entire article here.