There can now be very little doubt that the shooting fraternity are involved in a campaign to smear the reputation of a number of raptor species, using inaccurate and misleading information to justify their claims. Spearheading the list of campaigners in Scotland is our old friend Alex Hogg, Chairman of the Scottish Gamekeeper’s Association (SGA), who once again has come out with another complete and utter load of Hogg Wash. This time Mr Hogg and his supporters are concerned at the adverse impact they are told Red Kites in Galloway are having on other species of wildlife in that area of southern Scotland.
Although the Red Kite is primarily a scavengers, mammals such as mice, shrews, voles, etc also form
part of a kites natural diet, as do worms
The Scottish Gamekeepers Association is calling on the Scottish Government to investigate the impact of a Red Kite reintroduction scheme, following a number of complaints from locals who were claiming the expanding Red Kite population was now ‘annihilating’ other birds such as lapwings, curlew, waders and songbirds. (Thank god the Red Kite posses no threat to the Haggis, otherwise there would be trouble). Current claims of course are the kind of unconfirmed misinformation that we have come to expect from the (SGA), in particular from their Chairman who is well known for his numeracy skills when it came to counting his pheasant poults.
The points being made are definitely intriguing but taking other overstated claims about raptors emanating from the SGA there are no surprises. If the allegation that Kites in Galloway are changing from their accepted diet of carrion and small mammals, its significant such an important change in feeding behaviour by one species has not been recorded any where else in Europe, or for that matter in other regions of the UK as far as we know.
Our reply to individuals like Alex Hogg is this; birds of prey generally which frequent red grouse moors are destroyed to preserve game birds i.e., the red grouse, partridge and pheasant which are then dispatched themselves. Although the killing of birds of prey has been an illegal practice throughout the current and part of the last century, it remains an activity which is endemic today throughout 98% of red grouse moors.