Majority of raptors poisoned in Scotland killed by illegal pesticide

Dead buzzard found in Highlands

Buzzard: Raptor found dead in the Highlands in 2014. RSPB

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.

Counting of Red-footed Falcons at their roosting places in Western Romania

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.

The impact of Wind Farms on peoples health

Four important documents in a single article:
1) – USA:
Brown County Health Board: wind turbines are a hazard to human health;
2) – Canada:
Municipality: fines up to $10,000 per day for the same reason
3) – the Ambrose testimony of last year:
“Regulatory boards are now unable to protect public health and wellbeing because the wind turbine industry has substituted their own measurement and assessment procedures through international committees.”
4) – the bible of windfarm effects on neighbours:
The definitive document on wind turbine noise, by Dr Sarah Laurie

Rescued buzzard destroyed after escaping from an illegally set fenn trap

The discovery of a buzzard left with horrific injuries after being caught in an illegal leg hold trap near Malton in North Yorkshire has prompted a police investigation.


A buzzard was left with horrific injuries after being caught in an illegal trap

Continue reading Rescued buzzard destroyed after escaping from an illegally set fenn trap

Birdlife Malta exaggerate reports, Animal Rights Parliamentary Secretary says

Spring hunting in Malta can be sustainable, Animal Rights Parliamentary Secretary Roderick Galdes said this week. Speaking during a debate on hunting at the university, organised by the University Students’ Council as part of Green Expo, Mr Galdes said there were hunters who were responsible, others who were not and a group who were downright criminals. He urged hunters to report illegalities for more effective enforcement and noted that Malta’s legislation as amended in the past two years was among the harshest in Europe.


Police officer in hot pursuit of illegal hunter on Malta

Continue reading Birdlife Malta exaggerate reports, Animal Rights Parliamentary Secretary says

BirdLife launches Europe-wide anti-wildlife crime network

The RSPB and SEO (BirdLife in Spain) have launched a ‘European Network against Environmental Crimes’, aiming to ensure that the 2008 EU Directive is complied with.

The new project is expected to significantly advance environmental protection by bolstering the EU Directive on the protection of the environment through criminal law, and the project is financially supported by the Criminal Justice Program of the EU and overall by BirdLife Europe.

Environmental crimes are considered to be acts that breach environmental legislation and cause significant harm or risk to the environment and human health, often generating economic losses. Such acts notably include the illegal emission or discharge of substances into air, water or soil, as well as actions that hinder the conservation of species. The BirdLife Partnership will fight these crimes across the board by playing a key role in working actively to expose environmental crimes that harm biodiversity. The network will strengthen the work already undertaken by BirdLife and its partners through encouraging the exchange of information and legal expertise working in this field.

Wounded Honey Buzzard: one of three injured birds of prey reported to BirdLife Malta in the weeks preceding the opening of the 2007 hunting season (photo: BirdLife Malta).

Continue reading BirdLife launches Europe-wide anti-wildlife crime network

Video of the fastest raptor in the world.

BBC Earth: The peregrine falcon and goshawk-speed and manoeuvrability.

Tiny spy cameras allow you to see some of the world’s most magnificent birds in flight. Watch this video to learn how the fastest bird on the planet, the peregrine falcon, keeps control at mind-numbing speeds, and take a flight with the master of manoeuvrability, the goshawk, as it flies through dense woodland.

Pair of Peregrines blamed for killing up to 15 Buzzards in protection of nest site near Exeter

Remarkable footage appeared on the BBC One Show two nights ago showing a pair of peregrines taking it in turn to attack a buzzard which had strayed into their territory. Luckily on this occasion the buzzard managed to escape injury. Over the last 3 years it is reported that as many as 15 buzzards have been found dead in the proximity of the peregrine nest on St Michaels and all Angels church. The video of the falcons relentless attack can be viewed here. The clip begins at 12.50 on the slider and will be available to view for two more weeks only/

RSPB publish last know locations of Sky and Hope the two missing Bowland Hen Harriers

At last the public have been told where the missing two Bowland Hen Harriers went missing after fledging from their natal territories on the United Utilities estate. It appears the two harriers only managed to fly across onto the next adjoining two moorland estates before they both vanished off the radar.

 Here are the facts:

Sky’s last transmission was at 7.33pm on Wednesday 10 September around Summersgill Fell, west of Thrush Gill, in the Forest of Bowland.

Hope’s last transmission was at 10.51am on the Saturday 13 September around Mallowdale Pike, also in the Forest of Bowland.

What is very significant both separate estates have a history of disappearing raptors; the Trush Gill and Greenbank Fell area have witnessed the disappearance of nesting goshawks and the consistent loss of a clutch of peregrine eggs from one territory for the last two seasons.

Green Burn-1

Looking across Green Bank Fell and in the distance Trush Gill Plantation. Skye disappeared at the back of Trush Gill Plantation in the distance. Raptors do not last long in this regions for some curious reason.

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Complete clutch of peregrine eggs disappeared from this 2013 nest scrape on this estate.

Long Clough empty nest June 2014-1

Same nesting territory failed in 2014 on same estate after second clutch of  peregrine eggs disappeared from nesting scrape

The last time the Mallowdale peregrine territory was productive was in 2010 when two chicks were produced, before that it was in 1997 when a single female chick fledged successfully.  Historically rocks and boulders had been recovered from nesting ledges placed into active nests to prevent breeding taking place at Mallowdale. Over the years numerous completed clutches of eggs have been found at this territory contained in abandoned nesting scrapes. The number of adult breeding Peregrines which continue to mysteriously disappear without trace from the Mallowdale territory each spring is alarming.


Mallowdale Pike middle centre,  taken from Gallows Hill. This is the remote moorland where Hope vanished from the radar. At Mallowdale Pike  peregrines have attempted to breed almost each year during the last twenty years with only two successes.

Under normal circumstances, Mallowdale’s remote and isolated location should provide a safe haven for breeding peregrines along with other raptors, including hen harriers where in the mid 1980′s at least two breeding pairs were always resident.

The last successful breeding attempt by peregrines at Mallowdale Pike was in 2010. Two chicks were reared after the resident gamekeeper left the estate in December 2009 to take up a new post elsewhere. Importantly, because the replacement gamekeeper was unable to take up his new post until late in the following summer, breeding peregrines were given breathing space to rear their brood for the first time since 1973 in complete safety. However not a single nesting attempt by peregrines has been successful at this remote location ever since.

Mallowdale peregrine 2010-1

A rare image showing the two peregrine chicks contained in their nest at Mallowdale Pike in 2010. Both chicks fledged successfully because no resident gamekeepers were present on the estate at a critical point in time.

Well done the RSPB for making this important information available for public scrutiny at last. When will Natural England have the courage to do the same?

It is important to highlight one critical point. Both estates where Hope & Sky disappeared adjoin moorland owned by United Utilities estate where the lost harriers were hatched and reared. The distance from where both hen harriers fledged to where they then each vanished  is less that 4 miles.  


Here is the all important map showing us the moorland where Hope and Sky went missing after their transmitters stopped working. The blue squares show the final satellite tag transmissions of Hope (left) and Sky (right). For further details of these sites please read the RSPB’s Skydancer blog here.

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Updated map supplied by the RSPB this afternoon

Additional Information regarding the loss of one of the Langholm tagged Hen Harriers.

We have just learned that one of the many Hen Harriers that fledged successfully from Langolm this year is now also reported missing. Sid was satellite-tagged in July and after fledging was tracked in Yorkshire on moorland close to Hawes. The question must be asked how many of this years the un-tagged Hen Harriers are still alive? We will never know the answer to that question will we? You are able to follow Sids movements this summer on the Making the Most of Moorlands.


Wildlife crime suspects in Scotland could lose trapping licences

Wildlife legislation in Scotland appears to be getting much tougher. In a new move to attempt to address the recent spate of illegal raptor killings across the border Landowners and gamekeepers suspected of the illegal persecution of birds of prey are to face new sanctions. Land-managers in Scotland are able to apply for a licence allowing them to trap specific birds deemed to be a threat to crops and livestock. There is a general acceptance the use of such traps are being widely misused to illegally trap non-targeted specie, including many protected raptors.

Continue reading Wildlife crime suspects in Scotland could lose trapping licences