24 May 2012

Buzzards - to be persecuted again?

I could hardly believe what I heard on the radio this morning - DEFRA to  spend hundreds of thousands of pounds to research ways of controlling the number of buzzards to protect pheasants. Under consideration, making it legal to destroy buzzard nests and trapping birds to keep in captivity. All this despite the fact that the buzzard is protected native species while the pheasant is introduced and is farmed for shooting.

The population of buzzards in the UK has only just recovered from the lows of  50 years ago, when they were persecuted by gamekeepers and suffered the effects of DDT. Now it appears that the shooting lobby has convinced DEFRA that once again the buzzard has to be controlled so that fewer pheasants are taken.

Given that commercial shoots put down more than 40 million pheasant poults of birds each summer, a few thousand lost to the buzzard is hardly going to have that much of an impact.  And what about the other predators - foxes, badgers, kites, sparrowhawks - are they to be controlled too? No wonder the RSPB and other wildlife charities are up in arms.

Chris Packham Quote: "In these times do we want to be spending £400,000 battering buzzards? The money would be better spent helping the remnants of English hen harriers I'd say." Hear hear
Photos - top buzzard on post (Pete Cairns), buzzard on deer carcass (Pete Cairns), close up of head (Chinch Gryniewicz), buzzard nest (Frank Blackburn)

1 comment:

  1. commonsense prevails and DEFRA performs u-turn in light of the comments from wildlife groups. Wildlife Minister Richard Benyon said "In the light of the public concerns expressed in recent days, I have decided to look at developing new research proposals on buzzards,". The government is to rethink the problem and come up with alternative ideas.