hen harrier tag

War of the words as hen harrier tag goes quiet

Rural groups have rejected claims that grouse moor managers were responsible for the disappearance of a hen harrier. RSPB Scotland says a satellite-tagged bird, named Calluna, vanished over an Aberdeenshire grouse moor near Ballater when transmissions from the tag ended abruptly on the Glorious Twelfth. First day of the season…

DIY shoot

Shooting must make friends, not enemies

For this challenging article, I asked the National Trust, the Countryside Alliance (CA), the RSPB, the Wildfowl & Wetlands Trust (WWT), the National Gamekeepers’ Organisation (NGO), the Game & Wildlife Conservation Trust (GWCT), Scottish Natural Heritage (SNH) and BASC how shooting is perceived and how it could improve its public…

moorland grouse

RSPB officer attacks GWCT

Rural organisations are concerned that the RSPB considers itself to be “at war” with moorland managers, following a highly critical public presentation  by one of its senior officers. Speaking to the North of England Raptor Forum in November, RSPB senior upland policy officer Dr Pat Thompson said that certain groups,…

Butt used in grouse shoots

Why restrictions on grouse shooting would reduce rural tourism

It will come as no surprise that the inquiry and debate into driven grouse shooting, which was triggered by the online petition on Parliament’s website calling for the sport to be banned, has been at the forefront of the Countryside Alliance’s activities over the past couple of months. However, we have also seen further “attacks” on shooting…

Grouse moor licensing

RSPB calls for grouse moor licensing

The RSPB has called for grouse moor licensing after withdrawing its support for the Government’s Hen Harrier Joint Action Plan, claiming that the project has failed due to the continued illegal killing of the endangered birds. The Hen Harrier Joint Action Plan makes several recommendations to help restore the population…

RSPB

Are the RSPB pro or anti-shooting?

Britain’s heather moorlands are both beautiful and rare, and they owe their existence to grouse shooting. If we are going to maximise the wildlife in these upland habitats, it is vital that conservation charities and gamekeepers can work closely together. This can be a fraught relationship; moorland gamekeepers fund their…

Burning moorland

RSPB criticised for twisting scientific evidence

The charity has said that heather burning on grouse moors is a “damaging practice”, basing its statements on a research paper written by an RSPB scientist and requesting government involvement last year. However independent scientists have studied the evidence and say that the RSPB press statements show “only passing resemblance to…

Conservation groups support Nature Directives status quo

Conservation groups support Nature Directives status quo

Both organisations welcomed the news that the European Parliament has voted not to review the two pieces of legislation, which are known jointly as the Nature Directives and were designed to protect and maintain birds and natural habitats across the EU. The EU Environment Commission says it still wishes to modernise…

Dunlin

Endangered birds thriving on Scottish grouse moors

There are 81 species of bird — many red-listed as being of conservation concern — thriving on Scottish grouse moors, according to a new report, published last month by the Scottish Gamekeepers’ Association. Many species of bird faring better on managed moors The study conducted wildlife audits on three “key”…

RSPB

“Birds are no longer enough for the RSPB”

Three cheers for Sir Ian Botham for having the balls to take on the RSPB, a charity rightly accused of “forgetting the birds”. Founded in 1889 as the ‘Plumage League’ by ladies with concerns about the enormity of the feather trade, where birds suffered persecution in the name of fashion, the RSPB is now the largest wildlife charity in Europe,…

New gamebird figures challenge RSPB claims

New BASC research has challenged RSPB claims that the shooting industry releases 50million birds into the wild each year. Real figure closer to 34.9million The paper, Impacts of gamebird release, says the real figure lies closer to 34.9million birds and describes the significantly higher estimate as being “based on unreliable…

hen harrier

Grouse moors fledge more hen harriers than other areas

Five of the twelve nests were monitored either by local raptor workers or a combination of organisations including Natural England and the Forestry Commission, and with the full cooperation of the private landowners all were successful in fledging chicks. However of the remaining seven nests monitored by the RSPB, one…

grouse butt

Government comes out in favour of grouse shooting

Dr Avery’s petition is founded on his premise that: “Grouse shooting for ‘sport’ depends on intensive habitat management which damages protected wildlife sites, increases water pollution, increases flood risk, increases greenhouse gas emissions and too often leads to the illegal killing of protected wildlife such as hen harriers.” The shooting…

Chris Packham

Should Chris Packham be forced to pack his bags and leave BBC Springwatch?

Tim Bonner writes: “The new edition of BBC Wildlife magazine carries a column by Chris Packham which is remarkable in that it picks a fight with practically everyone. “Fox hunters and game shooters, obviously, but also the National Trust, the Wildlife Trusts and even the RSPB (of which he is…

Sir Peter Scott

Father of the conservation movement

I am not a great one for conspiracy theories, but every now and then you come across an omission that is repeated so often and so consistently that it can only be a result of an attempt to deceive, whether conscious or unconscious. One such involves the life of Sir…

hen harrier

2015 hen harrier breeding season set to be most successful since 2010

Hen harriers remain one of the most endangered breeding birds in England. Yet despite poor weather throughout the recent breeding season, 2015 has brought six successful harrier nests, fledging 18 new chicks. Unfortunately a seventh nest failed towards the end of the season as a result of natural causes. The…

Sir Ian Botham

Sir Ian Botham threatens to sue “deceptive” RSPB

Sir Ian Botham has threatened to sue the RSPB, claiming the charity falsely accused him of illegally killing birds of prey. Lawyers for the former England cricket captain contacted the organisation following recent comments that it made about him on the BBC. “I don’t take kindly to being lied about”…

Court dismisses RSPB covert surveillance case as abuse of process

Magistrates at Northallerton have dismissed a case brought by the RSPB alleging misuse of a cage trap by a grousemoor keeper on the grounds that the way the charity carried out its investigations amounted to an abuse of process and denied the defendant the prospect of a fair trial. The court held…

Red deer

RSPB deer cull under fire from animal rights campaigners

Animal rights activists have tried to stop an RSPB deer cull deer at the charity’s Leighton Moss nature reserve in Lancashire. Campaigners objected to plans to cull eight to 10 red deer before the end of March to protect reeds that provide vital habitat for birds including marsh harriers and…

Keeper jailed for raptor persecution

Raptor Persecution George Mutch, a 48-year-old gamekeeper from Kildrummy in Aberdeenshire, has been sentenced to for four months in jail after being found guilty of killing a goshawk and setting illegal traps to catch two others. At Aberdeen Sheriff Court today Sheriff Noel McPartlin said he had to impose a…