Ho! ho! ho! HOT wishes you a meddling merry Christmas!


Thurs 30 July(b) CopyIt’s so lovely that the Hawk and Owl Trust trustees have sent us all a Christmas message. And I see that the HOT have gained one Henry Robinson as a trustee. Could this be (I think it could) the past president of the Country Landowners Association? It’s a small world isn’t it? Remember the last time that Henry saw Mr Merricks (or did they have a chat at the Bird Fair?) it was outside the offices of the CLA in Belgrave Square.

This is the first time I have seen the HOT criticise Defra at all but they do here;

  • The Hawk and Owl Trust is very concerned that Defra has issued buzzard control licences in the absence of any independent evidence of serious impact.
  • The Hawk and Owl Trust believes that the lethal control of buzzards is unwarranted. We request an end to current licencing and we call for research that examines the impact of buzzards on pheasant shooting.

That’s certainly going to strike fear into Defra ministers’ hearts (were they to have such organs) having been said so quietly and so late in the day.

The HOT is mildly critical of Defra elsewhere in this statement, although what they are on about is difficult to fathom – is it just me or does everyone feel in need of a translator when HOT says anything?  HOT trustees are a bit impatient about progress with the Hen Harrier plan.  Maybe the brood-meddling cheque is lost in the Christmas post – ho! ho! ho!

It’s difficult to know how brood meddling could go much faster given that there are bugger all (a technical term used by us scientists) Hen Harriers around with which to meddle. Remember, last year there were three pairs in England.  None on brood-meddling loving grouse moors because…well, I wonder why not; one pair on the RSPB nature reserve of Geltsdale and the other two pairs somewhere else which we are all supposed to pretend we don’t know and keep quiet about it (so, I shall).  Faster progress on brood-meddling (which to recap and for new readers, is a daft idea designed to make life easier for land owners and CLA members) depends on someone putting the brakes on wildlife crime and that doesn’t seem to be happening, does it?


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6 Replies to “Ho! ho! ho! HOT wishes you a meddling merry Christmas!”

  1. Correct me if I'm wrong but Tarras (Langholm 2016); Rowan (Langholm 2016); Brian; Beater (Glenfeshie 2016); Elwood; Hermione(Mull) - all dead. Plus Chance (2014) and Holly(2015) . Donald is missing in France, probably dead. All these were tagged birds. How many are left which were tagged in 2016?

  2. I like the bullet point "If the trial proves ineffective then The Trust will join calls for a more hard-line approach". What is hard-line about obeying the law and asking people not to persecute hen harriers (& other raptors)? And I thought the end of persecution was a prerequisite to brood meddling - badgers and goalposts spring to mind.
    Maybe HOT want things to speed up before Sorrel joins Rowan as another notch as just another dead hen harrier?
    Merry Christmas

  3. Well, two years ago people started to warn the Hawk & Owl Trust that if they promoted the removal of hen harriers to protect red grouse, lowland game keepers would be encouraged to apply to remove buzzards.

    It's very hard to see how Defra could say 'no' to lowland game keepers removing buzzards ''....in the absence of any independent evidence of serious impact...'', but 'yes' to a hen harrier removal trial ''....in the absence of any independent evidence of serious impact...'' (there is no impact of hen harriers on red grouse because there aren't any blasted hen harriers [actually part of the problem is that there are 'blasted' hen harriers])

    In short, if we can trial the removal of hen harriers, why can't we trial the removal of buzzards?

  4. The public are now being 'Brain washed' to see Buzzard as an evil killer of Barn Owls even when one hunts in the day and one hunts in the night!
    Amazingly the husband of Emma Bridgewater writes for 'Country Life! Emma herself has made £millions off you and me selling pretty pottery with birds on it. Now she has gone into calendars and each month telling the buyers what they should be doing in the countryside each month. Hate to think what she has asked the buyers to do in 2017!

    1. "Amazingly ..."

      Not really. Stuff trickles down. Not what but who ...


      Perhaps you are conflating Country Life magazine with an authoritative journal


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