Tuesday’s blog about the licensing, by SNH, of wild hacking of Gyr Falcons attracted a lot of comments and not a little amazement from people. Imagine driving along a quiet road and finding this falcon.
Falcon racing is sometimes the motivation for captive breeding of falcons and their wild hacking (see also here). When you don’t have many bustards (Houbaras or Macqueens) left to hunt with falcons then you need another sport to test your falcons. And breeding falcons can be a lucrative business (see here and here). I’m told that hybrid falcons are some of the fastest, and therefore most prized, and most valuable, birds. It’s a very different world from the one that I know, but breeding facilities clearly exist in the UK.
SNH required a bird survey of the area before consenting the licence to release 150 Gyr Falcons (but no more than 40 at once) into the Moray countryside. This survey was carried out on one day (actually 31 May 2019), covered the area within just 1km of the release site, and only was required to collect evidence of breeding Schedule 1 birds. Hmmm.
SNH still haven’t responded to the EIR request made by local residents. Since a condition of this licence was that all birds had to be fitted with GPS devices and radio transmitters, and that SNH had to be ‘notified immediately’ of any birds moving more than 2km from the hack box for longer than ’12-36 hours’ (!) it will be interesting to learn how many, if any, did do this and when SNH was notified. That information should be available soon – surely SNH will be keen to release it.
PS There is a general election today – please go out and vote. Polling stations are open 07:00 to 22:00.