The review concludes that numbers of many predators of birds have increased in the UK in recent decades; post-breeding numbers of ground-nesting birds can be successfully increased by controlling their predators; and that more research needs to be done into non-lethal predator solutions.

The report documents that while populations of most of the UK’s avian predators have increased over the last few decades, recovering from the deleterious impacts of pesticide pollution and human persecution, a few widespread predators have more recently stabilised (magpie and sparrowhawk).

Among predatory mammals, foxes, badgers, polecats, pine martens and non-native American mink and grey squirrels have increased, while weasel numbers may have declined.

The rest of this article appears in 20 December issue of Shooting Times.