Volunteers angry at rumour-mongering attributing bird deaths to Tollie Red Kite Centre

RSPB Scotland red kite volunteers have strongly criticised anonymous “rumour-mongers” who have attributed the deaths of 16 red kites and six buzzards to contaminated meat being distributed at the Tollie Red Kites visitor centre.

Red Kite Yorkshire

Local volunteer Andrea Goddard said: “It is completely outrageous. The poisoned birds were all found around Conon Bridge, some distance from Tollie. Most of the birds have been proven to have been illegally poisoned and we are awaiting confirmation that the others were likewise killed this way.“These anonymous rumour-mongers seem to be attempting to muddy the waters and mislead the general public.”Mrs Goddard confirmed that the regular feeding birds at the Tollie Red Kites viewing centre have all survived the mass poisoning which took place in March.

“It has been a great relief that the regulars are still coming to Tollie. One of our tagged birds, who we actually call Tollie, and who first bred in 2012 nearby, has been a constant visitor and is currently busy raising a family. We know him from his colour-marked wing tags.

“We are also able to identify another three birds breeding near Tollie which have been visiting for at least twelve months. It should be stressed that the birds with wing tags which were killed were not birds that visited Tollie.”

Among those outraged by the rumours is Brian Etheridge who has monitored the Black Isle population of red kites for more than 20 years. Mr Etheridge said: “The people putting out these tall tales should be ashamed of themselves. Tollie Red Kites is run to the highest standards using methods that we have agreed with Scottish Government. We only provide top-up feeding for red kites and manage the spectacle for the public.

“There is plenty of natural prey out there for red kites and this is evidenced by their high productivity on the Black Isle, which is also at the top end of European range productivity with an average of nearly two young per breeding pair.

“The failure of the breeding population to expand beyond the Black Isle as it should, is entirely explained by persistent illegal persecution. The event at Conon Bridge is only the worst of many examples of poisoning.

“I very much hope the current police investigation is successful and we see the people responsible brought to justice. I would encourage anyone with information to contact the police or Crimestoppers. A substantial reward remains available.”

3 comments to Volunteers angry at rumour-mongering attributing bird deaths to Tollie Red Kite Centre

  • Mike Booth

    This is nothing more than a pathetic attempt to deflect blame for the latest barrage of despicable wildlife crimes against birds of prey in the Black Isle region.

  • paul williams

    Landowners and their Gamekeepers doing what they do best….Spreading Poison!!!

  • nirofo

    This will continue to happen until the police get off their backsides and do something about it, they know what the poison/s used were, they know who is responsible, it’s time to nip this in the bud now and let the public know what’s happening.