Hundreds of birds of prey, including golden and white-tailed eagles, hen harriers and red kites, were shot or poisoned last year, the RSPB’s annual Birdcrime report shows. It revealed that there were 164 reports of shooting and destruction of birds of prey in 2013.
There were also 74 reported incidents of poisoning, but the RSPB warned that reported incidents were believed to represent only a fraction of the illegal persecution of birds. They include the confirmed shooting of two hen harriers, two marsh harriers, five peregrines and 28 buzzards. Confirmed incidents of poisoning include 30 buzzards, 20 red kites, a golden eagle and a white-tailed eagle.
The RSPB said illegal persecution was associated with grouse moors, where birds of prey are targeted to protect grouse shooting, and called on members of the shooting community to address the problem.
Martin Harper, RSPB conservation director, said: “Witnessing a hen harrier’s dramatic skydancing display flight, or seeing the world’s fasted animal in action as a peregrine stoops over the moors is enough to take your breath away.
“These are sights that we should all be able to enjoy. Unfortunately we are being robbed of the chance to see these beautiful birds flourish because of illegal persecution.” Read full article