I know that there are some readers of this blog who are finding it difficult to get their heads around the idea that there really were lots of Gyr Falcons released under SNH licence in a small part of Scotland this summer (with the intention that they should be taken back into captivity after a few weeks in the wild). (See also this blog from yesterday).
Here are some more images.
There are six large falcons in the image above – one on a fence post and five in the air (unless I’ve missed some!). In the two fuzzy enlargements below one can see the packs attached to the birds’ backs which were presumably the radio tags and the GPS recorders which were a condition of the licences and whose data will tell us so much more about where the birds go and for how long.
SNH has still not responded to the EIR request on these matters. But they have been quoted in a report from the ENDS report as stating that the wild hacking started at the end of June but I am told that this was not true this year (the only year in which these releases were licensed and therefore lawful, as I understand it). If wild hacking did start in late June then that was not a condition of the licence which permitted wild hacking of up to 150 Gyr Falcons from 1 June for three and a half months.
I understand that wild hacking (which has happened without licence in previous years) usually starts at the end of Ramadan when falconers arrive in Moray from Dubai – Ramadan ended on the evening of 4 June in 2019 (and will end on 23 May in 2020).
If SNH would like to comment on this matter then they are very welcome to a guest blog here (but we are all waiting with interest to see the response to the overdue EIR request too). The same offer applies to falconers involved with this type of enterprise or local residents with views on the matter. Here is some guidance for contributors – click here.