Monday, 23 July 2012

I'm still alive and so is the blog!

I'm still alive and so is the blog!!!

But where have I been and what has been going on in the bird world? I have been busy continuing with my BTO bird ringing training with another season under my belt. I must admit a very wet season which has affected some species more than others, Sparrowhawks were thin on the ground this year.

Whats happening in the bird of prey world or what has been happening? Lets start on home soil here in the UK. The fight goes on between land owners/Gamekeepers and birds of prey in Britain, two stories which highlighted this were the government body DEFRA announcing the idea to implement a management plan for Common Buzzard and its effect on Game birds predominantly Pheasant. One of the management methods mentioned in the plan was the movement of birds and also the destruction of Buzzard nest sites! This caused a lot of disgruntled e-mails and responses  and a U-turn was swiftly pulled by DEFRA. My view on this is simple, despite the fact I lean towards birds of prey I have many friends who shoot including gamekeepers and they have backed my view up that Buzzards only have an impact for a very short period and then the Pheasant soon wise up and grow up. My other thought like many others is how can you manage a native species for a species which is introduced in its millions.

The other story came from Scotland and again highlights the sometimes fraught relationship between land owners and birds of prey. A Scottish sheep farmer claimed Golden Eagles were causing extreme pressure on her sheep farming with a pair killing £9000 of livestock. Again a simple mathmatical sum based on the price of lambs would show the pair would have to kill a ridiculous number of lambs, and why has no one got any evidence of Golden or White Tailed Eagles actively taking lambs? I'm not claiming it doesn't ever happen but and know hill farmers have it tough but maybe it needs further research.

You can find out more and keep up to date as always at and

If the kids have now broken up and your looking for something to do why not take them down to the International Centre of Birds of Prey as its still as great as ever with some of this years babies now out and in training. The new website is now live take a look

Over the next month I am going to try and do a few specific blogs on topics that have come up recently ranging from killing vultures for Muti medicine and my view on the state of raptors in Britain. I'll also blog the latest links to raptor papers I have had in my in box over the last 2 months so keep checking back.

Thanks for bearing with me!