It was distressing to read about the illegal killing of raptors in East Anglia and the claim made by the RSPB that the North East of England is one of the worst areas for shooting and attacking birds of prey in our country. Well done to the RSPB for exposing these ongoing atrocities. But this begs the question why has no one, including the RSPB, spoken out about the wide scale killing of ‘protected’ raptors taking place throughout the Forest of Bowland? The collapse of an entire regional Peregrine population from this relatively small moorland region in in West Lancashire is unprecedented.
Last year Hen Harriers made several nesting attempts in Bowland, however not suprisingly none of these attempts were successful. The year before in 2015 four Bowland adult male Hen harriers disappeared from their territories, most likely having been shot after leaving their respective mate to forage for food. In 2014 two recently fledged Hen Harriers Sky and Hope also went missing on adjoining shooting estates after leaving their natal territories on the United Utilities estate, almost certainly having been shot and their satellite tags destroyed.
In spring of 2009 seventeen Peregrine Falcon territories were found occupied in the Forest of Bowland, 6 nests failed following the disappearance of eggs, chicks and adult birds. A total of eleven territories were productive producing twenty four fledged young. Last year (2016) 99% of all Peregrine territories throughout the Forest of Bowland had been abandoned, resulting in the disappearance of at least sixteen pairs of Peregrines from these sites; it’s not difficult to understand what happened to these missing pairs. And yet disappointingly, no one other that the North West Raptor Group has had the courage to speak out informing the public about this appalling situation, why?