Someone mentioned the pole traps but I think they got away with it…

Photo: RSPB
Photo: RSPB

This appeared on the website of the former newspaper The Independent yesterday evening.

Well done Guy Shorrock for some excellent quotes which I hope will be carried forward into the RSPB statement on Monday.

The GWCT now take over from the Moorland Association in having given the most fatuous quote of the year on raptor persecution. Are there any other strong contenders? What should be the prize? Maybe they ought to stick to talking tadpoles?

And NE say they will get back to me.

Isn’t the Hen Harrier a brilliant bird?  Who’d want to kill one?  No-one except those who want to shoot grouse.

It’s time that we banned driven grouse shooting – and you can help – please sign this e-petition.

Photo: Gordon Yates
Photo: Gordon Yates
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11 Replies to “Someone mentioned the pole traps but I think they got away with it…”

  1. What's going on at BASC then? Rumours flying? Fraud? Power struggles?Pistols at 50 paces?

  2. It,s about time all RSPB members Signed the Petition. That really would Rock them. Surely this is what they joined for, to PROTECT BIRDS. THat includes Grouse.

  3. Yes it is easy to forget as GWCT point out if there were no gamekeepers to kill all the wildlife that predate Hen Harriers there would not be any Hen Harriers for the gamekeepers to persecute.

  4. 1000's of acres of Grouse moor, most of it not in sight of the general public. I wonder how many thousands of these traps are still in use and undetectable...

  5. Full marks to the online Independent to be the only mainstream media outlet to name the estate owner and also put the issue into further context by reminding readers about the (of course totally unrelated) Sandringham shooting incident.

  6. I am unable to agree with Guy Shorrock that North Yorkshire is the worst area for raptor persecution in the north of England. Since 2010 the Forest of Bowland has witnessed far more raptors disappear than in North Yorkshire. For example throughout this very short period at least eighteen peregrine territories have been found abandoned along with 7 nesting ledges completely destroyed. As far as I am aware there has been no successful peregrine or hen harrier nesting attempts recorded on any of Bowlands private shooting estates for many years. The question I would ask is why this detail is not being highlighted within the public domain?

    Last year of the 7 hen harrier nesting attempts recorded in Bowland on estates owned by United Utilities Plc and monitored by the RSPB, only a single site was successful producing just one chick. Then of course there was the 4 missing male hen harriers that were never seen again in 2015. The year before that in 2014, the 2 fledged satellite tagged hen harriers 'Sky' and 'Hope' both disappeared along with their transmitters; the 2 birds were presumed to have been shot and their tags destroyed.

    It will be very interesting to read what the RSPB have to say about this seasons raptor losses and nest failures in Bowland. From the information I have been given, and the repeated inspection of 7 historic hen harrier territories between the beginning of April and the end of May on estates owned by United Utilities, it appears likely not a single harrier nest has been found so far this season anywhere in the Forest of Bowland; I hope I am wrong. This information appears to be substantiated by the fact that no contract nest watchers were appointed by the RSPB this season to protect viable harrier nests.

    A single male hen harrier was recorded skydancing on the 2 April, but thereafter disappeared. Several additional sightings of ringtails were observed at a number of locations in Bowland but then also disappeared. There was a single unconfirmed report of one nesting pair of hen harriers on the Westminster estate, but so far there has been no firm confirmation of this.

    Whichever way the the final analysis is presented, this season will go down as one of the worst on record for raptors inside the Forest of Bowland, now regarded as a raptor free zone by many with an interest if conservation.

    1. ..."now regarded as a raptor free zone by many with an interest in conservation."
      and presumably celebrated by those responsible!
      Yes they have been very effectively doing the same in Bowland over many years. So Terry is absolutely right, Bowland ranks every bit as grim as the Peak and N. Yorkshire, the area is simply a year or two ahead in terms of raptor cleansing and it is right that Bowland is highlighted as the result of what we are seeing now in the other areas.

    2. It sounds to me that North Yorkshire and the Forest of Bowland are both pretty much victims of heavy and almost total raptor persecution. This is obviously the case with the eagle owls, peregrine falcons and the R.S.P.B. favoured hen harriers.

      As Mr. Pickford states, these apex predators have been targeted at every sighting and with many options (tricks of their game) open to the gamekeepers, there is very little chance indeed of any of these birds now producing a full brood of young, which grow and survive the blitz.

      I have sighted a few single birds and watched regularly a pair of peregrine, which should have been successful, but had no protection whatsoever and it appears that they have now fell victim to persecution of some form, as they have vanished.

      I am in support of banning driven grouse shooting and it's about time this was reported further in the media and put to the general public in a way that is sympathetic to the great raptors who once had no such worries, as the dreaded gamekeeper.

      Perhaps the gamekeepers should be tagged!

      We have failed these amazing birds for far too long and if left as is, then there should be a new sign made for the Forest of Bowland, which also excludes the hen harrier.

      I am angry at the present situation and also await the R.S.P.B. statement on what they have done to protect these birds this season.

      I doubt very much that it will make for good reading.

      How sad.


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