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Raptor Persecution in the Dark Peak

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The Derbyshire Wildlife Trust are hosting a presentation by the Peak District Raptor Monitoring Group in Glossop on Tues 14th January. For those who are deeply concerned by the killing and persecution of Peak District birds of prey by grouse moor gamekeepers it is an important meeting to attend. It's at Bradbury Community House on Market Street in Glossop. £3 on the door, all welcome. Please share and spread the word.

https://tinyurl.com/yhjwvddg

4
 henwardian 08 Jan 2020
In reply to Frank the Husky:

Good god man, if we didn't persecute raptors, it'd be the extinction of mankind! Have you never seen a Jurassic Park documentary?!?

3
In reply to Frank the Husky:

Excellent.  Will try to attend,

In reply to henwardian:

Good point - where's my DinoGun?

1
 mrphilipoldham 08 Jan 2020
In reply to Frank the Husky:

I'm going to try and make it down, work permitting!

 Timmd 08 Jan 2020
In reply to Frank the Husky:

Aha, good shout, I'll look into train times if I'm not double booked for that. 

Edit: Bugger, I am double booked, but 'bump'....

Post edited at 16:59
3
 deepsoup 08 Jan 2020
In reply to Timmd:

> Bugger, I am double booked..

Meaning you can't go?  I'm sure there would be every chance of a lift over the hill from Sheffield.

 Timmd 08 Jan 2020
In reply to deepsoup: It's a long standing arrangement with a friend going back a few months, it would be flaky indeed if I dropped out at the last minute...especially for what it is.

Post edited at 17:50
 pasbury 08 Jan 2020
In reply to Frank the Husky:

I can't attend as I'm 150 miles away but would be grateful if you or other attendees could share the knowledge afterwards.

 Moley 08 Jan 2020
In reply to Frank the Husky:

Following your link there is no mention of raptor persecution, nor grouse Moor gamekeepers.

About the event

Mike Price looks at the birds of prey of the Peak District, the challenges they face and the successes and failures of this iconic group of birds.

How about sticking to the script and not jumping to conclusions, publicly.

Having said that, I am sure persecution will be covered and interested to hear feedback from yourself and others who attend. 

21
 Dave 88 08 Jan 2020
In reply to Frank the Husky:

“Important meeting”

”£3 on the door”

Hope the BMC don’t start charging for their area meetings!

 felt 08 Jan 2020
In reply to Moley:

> Following your link there is no mention of raptor persecution, nor grouse Moor gamekeepers.

That's like chiding someone for anticipating the bassoon solo at the start of The Rite of Spring because it's not explicitly mentioned in the pre-concert publicity.

> Having said that, I am sure persecution will be covered and interested to hear feedback from yourself and others who attend. 

That's more like it. It's a great bassoon solo too.

In reply to Moley:

Peak raptors regularly "disappear" near certain grouse moors so I think persecution and gamekeeping come under the challenge heading here.

https://www.birdguides.com/news/peak-district-grouse-moors-are-a-black-hole-for-birds-of-prey/

In reply to Moley:

> How about sticking to the script and not jumping to conclusions, publicly.

I'm not jumping to conclusions, and there is no script. I'm repeating the well known fact that raptors in the Dark Peak are persecuted and killed on a grand scale. The deaths and disappearances of tagged raptors happen on and around grouse moors. Compare that with the White Peak where raptors live unmolested and tagged birds do not disappear. In the cases where tagged birds die in the White Peak their bodies are always found because they die through natural causes & predation. In the Dark Peak the evidence of killed birds is destroyed, including the satellite tag. Even without the video evidence it is beyond obvious that these killings happen at the hands of grouse moor gamekeepers. There are some good ones who do not do this, but there are more who do.

It is an emotive subject, and whist the PDRMG have to be sensitive and not mention the culprits because they're trying to get them on side, it doesn't mean the rest of us can't speak the truth.

 Moley 08 Jan 2020
In reply to Frank the Husky:

I think we are all well aware what happens in places and who may be responsible, but the talk does not mention persecution nor imply it is all about persecution, "the successes and failures of this iconic group of birds". Why not listen to what they have to say and report back before pointing the finger?

25
 Timmd 08 Jan 2020
In reply to Moley:

It's comes down to 'If it looks like a duck, waddles and quacks, chances are it's a duck' Possibly it's either some kind of a quirk or anomaly to do with how the grouse moors are managed in the Dark Peak or their environment, which means that they flounder, while in other places they don't, or, like which happened a few years ago (time flies and it might be 8 by now), a land owner was found to have not kept enough of a tab on what his game keepers were doing regarding raptors. He is the owner of a wood and ironmongery supplier (and other things), farming supplies and all sorts for the local area. Some of the conservation organisations in Sheffield stopped using it as a point of principle following him being found to have been at fault.

Edit: I'd be somewhat surprised if persecution didn't get a mention, during a talk of why there's a dearth of raptors where the grouse moors also happen to be in the Dark Peak (which there is).

Post edited at 23:13
In reply to Timmd:

It’s not just the dark peak.  

Red Kites have been reintroduced into the north east, and are often seen south of the suburban areas south of the Tyne.

Almost never seen over the Weardale moorland however, probably because someone keeps shooting them every time they try and cross the Derwent (a different Derwent to the usual one)...  It’s definitely not gamekeepers acting on a nudge and a wink from their landowners.  Oh no.

https://www.google.co.uk/amp/s/www.chroniclelive.co.uk/news/north-east-news/anger-after-protected-red-kite-14685623.amp

The Durham Dales lacks for much of the organised activism and interest groups the peak and the lakes have.  There’s a lot of Arab money tied up in the grouse shooting and some of the worst condition moorland I’ve ever seen on the summit plateaus.

Post edited at 23:25
 EarlyBird 09 Jan 2020
In reply to Moley:

I won't jump to conclusions. What I will do is accept the evidence. Raptors are illegally killed on Grouse moors. Satellite tagged Hen Harriers, for example, routinely "disappear' over land managed for Grouse shooting including the Dark Peak. The pattern of those disappearances is clear and the fact that - as stated above - tagged birds don't "disappear" over the White Peak is damning.   

In reply to Moley:

Why do you always defend the indefensible? And then get upset at restrictions on shooting? If you actually liked shooting, you'd be better off shopping these gamekeepers.  

 Moley 09 Jan 2020
In reply to MG:

I am not defending the indefensible - please point out where I am, because nowhere do I say raptor persecution doesn't happen. Just read my posts, I took to task the fact the original post said there was a talk on raptor persecution and he gave a link to a talk that did not mention raptor persecution. 

It is everyone else here getting all hot and bothered about it, as they always do if anyone who shoots has the temerity to question anything to to with raptors or alleged evidence.

I leave you with this new year statement from the chairman of BASC, which is how most of us feel.

“It is a source of huge frustration to the shooting community that the menace of raptor persecution still looms large thanks to a few reckless individuals. Prioritising themselves above all others, they treat the law-abiding shooting community with contempt. Make no mistake that they are sabotaging shooting and our community must view them through the same lens as sabs. Culpability resides also with those who would turn a blind eye or fail to highlight it".

18
 aln 09 Jan 2020
In reply to felt:

> > It's a great bassoon solo too.

Was it played by Shatner?

In reply to Moley:

> I am not defending the indefensible - please point out where I am, because nowhere do I say raptor persecution doesn't happen. Just read my posts, I took to task the fact the original post said there was a talk on raptor persecution and he gave a link to a talk that did not mention raptor persecution. 

It was explained to you what "challenges they face" means. It quite clearly does mean persecution. And it definitely will be talked about during the meeting. 

> It is everyone else here getting all hot and bothered about it, as they always do if anyone who shoots has the temerity to question anything to to with raptors or alleged evidence.

Because the persecution/killing of raptors and birds of prey, especially in areas where driven grouse shooting occurs, happens to be perpetrated by those with an interest in shooting. Do all shooters kill raptors/birds of prey? No. But all birds of prey that are killed are done so by those with a boot firmly in the shooting camp. 

> I leave you with this new year statement from the chairman of BASC, which is how most of us feel.

> “It is a source of huge frustration to the shooting community that the menace of raptor persecution still looms large thanks to a few reckless individuals. Prioritising themselves above all others, they treat the law-abiding shooting community with contempt. Make no mistake that they are sabotaging shooting and our community must view them through the same lens as sabs. Culpability resides also with those who would turn a blind eye or fail to highlight it".

Glad to hear it, what with them being the public face and all. Unfortunately at grass roots level a lot of eyes are turned the other way. I've got direct experience of it. 

 Doug 09 Jan 2020
In reply to Moley:

But is it just a "a few reckless individuals" ? surely if was so few the problem would have been dealt with by now or at least be a lot less common.

 mondite 09 Jan 2020
In reply to Stuart (aka brt):

> No. But all birds of prey that are killed are done so by those with a boot firmly in the shooting camp. 

Some are courtesy of pigeon fanciers although I agree with your overall points.

In reply to mondite:

The hypocrisy of that statement from the BASC really takes the breath away, doesn’t it? Considering the number of incredibly obvious things they could do to fight raptor persecution and aren’t doing.

jcm

 Moley 09 Jan 2020
In reply to Stuart (aka brt):

It was explained to you what "challenges they face" means. It quite clearly does mean persecution. And it definitely will be talked about during the meeting. 

I posted: "Having said that, I am sure persecution will be covered and interested to hear feedback from yourself and others who attend". 

Hardly think I am any way in denial about that.

 Do all shooters kill raptors/birds of prey? No. But all birds of prey that are killed are done so by those with a boot firmly in the shooting camp. 

Agreed that nearly all those shot or trapped on shooting grounds  are shooting related, though some farmers and others will also have a hand in it outside of miles and shoots. But technically they have guns, so shooters yes but not necessarily grouse/game shooters or defending game birds.

I am betting that the talk will include more "challenges" than persecution, such as habitat and predation. I await a balanced report from someone who is there.

1
In reply to Moley:

> I am betting that the talk will include more "challenges" than persecution, such as habitat and predation. I await a balanced report from someone who is there.

Out of interest, have you attended a talk on raptor persecution previously? If so, I think your bets would likely be placed within a different direction...

The RSPB's Birdcrime 2018 Report seems pretty conclusive on where the problem lies: https://www.rspb.org.uk/birds-and-wildlife/advice/wildlife-and-the-law/wild-bird-crime/birdcrime-2018/).

When it comes to habitat, taking the Hen Harrier as an example, we've got habitat aplenty, but habitat isn't the problem. When it comes to predation, that is indeed a more complex (and contentious matter), but within the current set of circumstances (i.e. raptors) its importance pales into insignificance when compared to persecution. 

As such, whilst there are indeed other factors at play - and it doesn't necessarily mention persecution on the poster - I can guarantee that a) it will be mentioned and b) that it will be mentioned as a factor of the greatest importance in terms of its effect on the raptor population throughout the Dark Peak.

Post edited at 10:34
In reply to Moley:

The BASC are masters of talking the talk whilst doing precious little about it. It is not a "few individuals" - because if it was the problem would be very much smaller. Predation and natural mortality are definitely challenges, but studies by the PDRMG and others have shown that natural fatalities from those causes are generally uniform across all breeding areas. So whilst raptor populations in the White Peak (no grouse shooting estates) are healthy and increasing, those in the Dark Peak (loads of grouse shooting) are in terminal decline. The reason is blindingly obvious and your attempts to lessen the seriousness and divert the blame (which is what you are doing) are shameful. This is too important an issue to worry about the feelings of gamekeepers and those who support the industry.

In reply to Frank the Husky:

What natural predators do hen harriers have? Various egg-thieving species, I suppose, but apart from that nothing predates them, does it?

jcm

 Harry Jarvis 09 Jan 2020
In reply to Moley:

> Agreed that nearly all those shot or trapped on shooting grounds  are shooting related, though some farmers and others will also have a hand in it outside of miles and shoots. But technically they have guns, so shooters yes but not necessarily grouse/game shooters or defending game birds.

> I am betting that the talk will include more "challenges" than persecution, such as habitat and predation. I await a balanced report from someone who is there.

Would it be a bad thing if the only topic for discussion were to be the illegal acts of gamekeepers and farmers who shoot and trap raptors? Presumably you would welcome the brightest possible light to be shown on the criminal acts carried out by anyone involved in shooting and trapping protected species? After all, it's only by drawing the greatest possible attention to the problem that meaningful steps will be taken to prosecute those guilty of such criminality, and to stop the fingers of blame being pointed at those who enjoy field sports carried out in accordance with the law. 

 mondite 09 Jan 2020
In reply to johncoxmysteriously:

> Various egg-thieving species, I suppose, but apart from that nothing predates them, does it?

Since they are ground nesting birds the egg/hatchling eaters are a greater problem than for other species.

Oddly enough though that isnt a significant problem elsewhere in the world. Since there are enough nests to handle some predation. Whereas in the UK a single nest getting predated given the artificially low numbers will have an impact.

Some  conflict with other raptors but then the ones which they come into conflict with are also heavily persecuted so probably not a problem in the UK.

 Moley 10 Jan 2020
In reply to Rob Greenwood - UKClimbing:

I am obviously not going to get my point across here and don't live in your areas. So I'm not going to beat my head against a brick wall (again). As everyone seems obsessed with the hen harrier - which is the most endangered - just take a moment to read the below. It is from the BTO site and not a "pro shooting" organisation.

Illegal killing is by no means the only factor that can impact on Hen Harrier populations in Britain. Because Hen Harriers are ground-nesting, they are vulnerable to predation of their eggs and nestlings by mammals such as Red Fox (Baines & Richardson 2013; MacMillan 2014). Like other raptors, Hen Harriers are also susceptible to variations in their food supply (Newton 1979). The effect of food availability on breeding success and population trends of this species is particularly well studied in Orkney, where availability of small mammal prey is related to both mating system and breeding success (Amar et al. 2003; Amar et al. 2005). There is abundant evidence that the effects of both of predation and food availability on Hen Harrier populations are moderated by land use and habitat management (Redpath et al. 2002; Amar & Redpath 2005; Amar et al. 2008; Wilson et al. 2012; Baines & Richardson 2013).

Given the potential for predation and food availability to affect the fortunes of Hen Harriers, it is clear that some aspects of grouse-moor management have the potential to benefit Hen Harriers. Through control of generalist predators, management for grouse can increase prey availability for harriers by decreasing competing predation on Hen Harrier prey (Redpath et al. 2002), and increase nest survival by reducing predation of Hen Harrier nest contents (Baines & Richardson 2013). 

14
In reply to Moley:

> I am obviously not going to get my point across here and don't live in your areas. So I'm not going to beat my head against a brick wall (again). As everyone seems obsessed with the hen harrier - which is the most endangered - just take a moment to read the below. It is from the BTO site and not a "pro shooting" organisation.

> Illegal killing is by no means the only factor that can impact on Hen Harrier populations in Britain. Because Hen Harriers are ground-nesting, they are vulnerable to predation of their eggs and nestlings by mammals such as Red Fox (Baines & Richardson 2013; MacMillan 2014). Like other raptors, Hen Harriers are also susceptible to variations in their food supply (Newton 1979). The effect of food availability on breeding success and population trends of this species is particularly well studied in Orkney, where availability of small mammal prey is related to both mating system and breeding success (Amar et al. 2003; Amar et al. 2005). There is abundant evidence that the effects of both of predation and food availability on Hen Harrier populations are moderated by land use and habitat management (Redpath et al. 2002; Amar & Redpath 2005; Amar et al. 2008; Wilson et al. 2012; Baines & Richardson 2013).

> Given the potential for predation and food availability to affect the fortunes of Hen Harriers, it is clear that some aspects of grouse-moor management have the potential to benefit Hen Harriers. Through control of generalist predators, management for grouse can increase prey availability for harriers by decreasing competing predation on Hen Harrier prey (Redpath et al. 2002), and increase nest survival by reducing predation of Hen Harrier nest contents (Baines & Richardson 2013). 

So, if all that is true, there should be an abundance of Hen Harriers in the Peak. Almost makes you wonder why there isn't... 

Post edited at 10:14
 wbo2 10 Jan 2020
In reply to Moley:if we look away from specifically Hen Harriers are you prepared to argue that a managed grouse moor provides an enviroment 'better' than a mixed enviroment for raptors? And other species?

 Timmd 10 Jan 2020
In reply to Frank the Husky:

This is possibly the incident I referred to further up. He'd caught a sparrowhawk, but I don't suppose he was filtering out different birds of prey out of ecological concerns. 

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-derbyshire-13749356

This relates to an osprey and a buzzard with injuries consistent with being caught in a spring trap.

https://www.peakfm.co.uk/news/local/reward-offered-after-osprey-and-buzzard-are-killed-in-the-peaks/

Post edited at 10:48
 toad 10 Jan 2020
In reply to Moley:

The BTO have been pretty unambiguous in pointing to illegal persecution as the main limiting factor in hen harrier populations. 

 Timmd 10 Jan 2020
In reply to Stuart (aka brt):

> So, if all that is true, there should be an abundance of Hen Harriers in the Peak. Almost makes you wonder why there isn't... 

Indeed. There's a large mesh box (or there was) on the heather moor up the hillside from Wymingbrook, I'm not sure of the correct name for the trap, which can be used to capture birds of prey if it has a pigeon or similar put in it, conservation groups or the police can't do so much about it due to who owns the land, and evidence of crimes being needed, but I find it striking that I've not seen buzzards flying around near there like I used to...it sets me wondering. 

Post edited at 11:05
In reply to Timmd: If you mention this to either Moorland Monitors or the Hunt Investigation Team (who probably already know about it) I'm sure steps might be taken to get in put out of action. Who owns the land, and why does that matter in this case?

1
 Timmd 10 Jan 2020
In reply to Frank the Husky: Who owns the land was used to ask people not to take individual action against it. I'll try and look into whether it's still there or not and post back on here. I've got work to do so I may not get the time, but it's in the Wymingbrook and Redmires neck of the woods, right of Redmires and up from Wymingbrook if looked at from above (if it's still there, presuming it is could be wise).  

Post edited at 11:22
 Moley 10 Jan 2020
In reply to wbo2:

> if we look away from specifically Hen Harriers are you prepared to argue that a managed grouse moor provides an enviroment 'better' than a mixed enviroment for raptors? And other species?

Ok, good point, raptor persecution aside I think it depends what the alternative environment is and also how important the other bird species are to the public and their conservation. If/when grouse moors go what will replace them, what is a "mixed environment" and how will it come about? With current thinking it would all be trees (global warming issue), possibly commercial forestry, that would be no more of a mixed environment than heather moorland. It would benefit some species and be the end of others, same as a grouse moor - great for some and hopeless for others.

Here in Wales the Hen Harrier numbers have plummeted in recent years (think we are down to about 35 pairs) yes there's a couple of "very suspicious" cases of tagged birds disappearing over Raubon, but nobody seems to know why their numbers are falling all over, it certainly cannot be put down to persecution here. Why are there not harriers all over the cambrian mountains? Possibly because the environment is rubbish for them? High numbers of predators such as fox, badger, corvids and little food? It is an alternative upland environment (sheep) that does them no better than a grouse moor.

Other raptors seem to do better here, but they are not ground nesting, I have kite, buzzard, goshawk, peregrin in the valley and over our house regularly, all very common and there's other raptors if I looked - osprey goes through, honey buzzard, merlin. But this is mixed farmland in valleys, up on the moors, nothing in winter and little in summer- I don't consider our alternative natural landscape as productive at all.

1
 Amine head 11 Jan 2020
In reply to Frank the Husky:

I'm a regular on these moors. Why do I see more skeletons  of hares and Raptors than live ones. Hares 5/1. 

In reply to Moley:

> I am obviously not going to get my point across here and don't live in your areas. So I'm not going to beat my head against a brick wall (again). As everyone seems obsessed with the hen harrier - which is the most endangered - just take a moment to read the below. It is from the BTO site and not a "pro shooting" organisation.

It's easy to focus on the Hen Harrier, because it is the species which offers the most stark example, but I'm inclined to agree - it's not helpful when the same example cited over and over again.

In the same respect, I think the reason you feel like you're hitting your head against the brick wall is because you too are repeating the same point over and over again, and perhaps I am too, hence I'll frame my response in a different way to last time:

I think we're all agreed that there are a multitude of different factors (which is - correct me if I'm wrong - the point you've been trying to make), but most of us - present company excepted - seem to agree that persecution is indeed the most important factor.

To cite an example that backs this up, and does so in reference to two other species - namely the Goshawk and the Peregrine - take a look at the following link. If you think the shift in population from the Dark Peak to the White Peak is pure coincidence, or exclusively to do with predation + availability of food, then you are being wilfully blind to what the nub of the issue really is.

http://ww2.rspb.org.uk/Images/PeakMalpractice_tcm9-132666.pdf

n.b. the full report is out there somewhere, but I'm having trouble tracking it down, so this will have to do

Post edited at 15:19
 mondite 14 Jan 2020
In reply to Rob Greenwood - UKClimbing:

> To cite an example that backs this up, and does so in reference to two other species - namely the Goshawk and the Peregrine - take a look at the following link. If you think the shift in population from the Dark Peak to the White Peak is pure coincidence

With peregrines a further example is the general overall increase in numbers. Sometimes misused by people to try and claim persecution has decreased even when excluding the recovery from DDT.

When what has actually happened is they have successfully transitioned into being an urban bird. The growth in numbers is about them finding new terrorities whereas on the traditional terrority their numbers are still subdued.

To take one point from Moley though about the numbers of harriers in wales. Part of the problem is they move around a lot especially when young. Just look at the ones tracked by the sky dancer project etc.

In reply to Frank the Husky:

I cant attend but am receiving a live feed! It starts "OMG beards  and courderoys"! 

 Tom V 14 Jan 2020
In reply to MG:

I once chanced upon a Morgan owners club meet in Buttermere; same dress code with the addition of a Viyella shirt.

In reply to MG:

> I cant attend but am receiving a live feed! It starts "OMG beards  and courderoys"! 

Do they call them The Glossop Birdboys? 

In reply to FactorXXX:

Gone quiet.  Last communication "HEAVING"

 bonebag 14 Jan 2020
In reply to Moley:

Given the potential for predation and food availability to affect the fortunes of Hen Harriers, it is clear that some aspects of grouse-moor management have the potential to benefit Hen Harriers. Through control of generalist predators, management for grouse can increase prey availability for harriers by decreasing competing predation on Hen Harrier prey (Redpath et al. 2002), and increase nest survival by reducing predation of Hen Harrier nest contents (Baines & Richardson 2013). 

This may well be true but it can only work if the Hen Harrier is not persecuted in the first place. 

Your long list of references in your post could be very convincing maybe except it misses one crucial reference to The Hen Harrier by Donald Watson (1977). An old work you might like to claim but this is still one of the most authoritative works on the subject to this day. In chapter 19 he suggests that birds of prey in general are often treated as vermin by those intensely keen on game shooting and that the Hen Harrier is often at the forefront of this category. 

Are you quoting the BTO out of context?  

You seem to be on a looser Moley. No one in this thread supports your views. 

In reply to Moley:

The full text, which clearly identifies illegal persecution as an important factor in Hen Harrier populations is here and easily found by that new-fangled google thing

https://www.bto.org/about-bto/national-offices/scotland/our-work/selected-highlights/hen-harrier

It is a very unfortunate coincidence that your google-failure prevented you finding the following bits of the article too.

"Several scientific studies (Etheridge et al. 1997; Potts 1998; Sim et al. 2007; Fielding et al.2011; Hayhow et al. 2013) have found that breeding Hen Harrier numbers in the UK, particularly in northern England and southern and eastern Scotland, are currently, or have been, constrained by illegal population control associated with management of grouse moors."

"The relevance of these positive influences for overall productivity of harrier populations has been questioned, however, in the context of the levels of persecution associated with grouse moor (Green & Etheridge 1999)."

"These studies show that breeding densities and nesting success of Hen Harriers are lower in areas with a high proportion of grouse moor than in other areas."

 Moley 14 Jan 2020
In reply to bonebag:

> This may well be true but it can only work if the Hen Harrier is not persecuted in the first place. 

> Your long list of references in your post could be very convincing maybe except it misses one crucial reference to The Hen Harrier by Donald Watson (1977). An old work you might like to claim but this is still one of the most authoritative works on the subject to this day. In chapter 19 he suggests that birds of prey in general are often treated as vermin by those intensely keen on game shooting and that the Hen Harrier is often at the forefront of this category. 

> Are you quoting the BTO out of context?  

> You seem to be on a looser Moley. No one in this thread supports your views. 

How about the full quote that starts "

> Illegal killing is by no means the only factor that can impact on Hen Harrier populations in Britain. Because Hen Harriers are ground-nesting, they are vulnerable to predation of their eggs and nestlings by mammals such as Red Fox (Baines & Richardson 2013; MacMillan 2014). Like other raptors, Hen Harriers are also susceptible to variations in their food supply (Newton 1979). 

So are they denying illegal killing? Are the BTO quoted out of context? I don't think so. 

I know I am always on a loser on here regards this subject, but it shouldn't stop me from putting a different perspective across, so maybe people will think about it more deeply. If nobody on this forum put forward alternative views on subjects it would be a poorer place. But maybe everyone should just follow like sheep and press the like/dislike button? Much as I usually disagree with the likes of Pefa, I have to respect her for sticking to her guns .

I hope the meeting went well and await some positive feedback - I am not looking to argue my point ad infinitum

 Moley 14 Jan 2020
In reply to MG:

> The full text, which clearly identifies illegal persecution as an important factor in Hen Harrier populations is here and easily found by that new-fangled google thing

> It is a very unfortunate coincidence that your google-failure prevented you finding the following bits of the article too.

> "Several scientific studies (Etheridge et al. 1997; Potts 1998; Sim et al. 2007; Fielding et al.2011; Hayhow et al. 2013) have found that breeding Hen Harrier numbers in the UK, particularly in northern England and southern and eastern Scotland, are currently, or have been, constrained by illegal population control associated with management of grouse moors."

> "The relevance of these positive influences for overall productivity of harrier populations has been questioned, however, in the context of the levels of persecution associated with grouse moor (Green & Etheridge 1999)."

> "These studies show that breeding densities and nesting success of Hen Harriers are lower in areas with a high proportion of grouse moor than in other areas."

Which is precisly why I started with the next sentence: "Illegal killing is by no means the only factor......". To try and make my point that " Illegal killing is by no means the only factor" .

Which seems beyond most peoples comprehension.

In reply to Moley:

Well, I'm told the talk tonight was unambigous:  Raptor persecution is rife in the Peak and elsewhere and the dominate factor in raptor numbers being precarious.  Somewhere around 70% of illegal deaths are identified with the shooting fraternity. You are associating with and defending (in an unpleasant mealy-mouthed, selective quoting way) a bunch of criminals.

In reply to Moley:

> I know I am always on a loser on here regards this subject, but it shouldn't stop me from putting a different perspective across, so maybe people will think about it more deeply. 

It's not a perspective, or an opinion any more than arguing that gravity acts upwards is a perspective or opinion.  It's self-serving bollocks and propaganda.

1
 Timmd 14 Jan 2020
In reply to MG:

> Well, I'm told the talk tonight was unambigous:  Raptor persecution is rife in the Peak and elsewhere and the dominate factor in raptor numbers being precarious.  Somewhere around 70% of illegal deaths are identified with the shooting fraternity. You are associating with and defending (in an unpleasant mealy-mouthed, selective quoting way) a bunch of criminals.

Follow the money as always I guess, there's money to be made from successful grouse shooting, and keepers want to look after their jobs - which one can't blame them for (without going as far condoning raptor persecution). Making a profit benefits from fewer raptors around grouse moors in the Dark Peak, so that's what is happening. 

Post edited at 23:05
 mondite 15 Jan 2020
In reply to Moley:

> Which seems beyond most peoples comprehension.

Everyone seems to be able to comprehend that and multiple people, including myself, have referenced some of the reasons.

However all reputable sources list illegal persecution as the primary cause of the low numbers. This then has knock on impact on the other reasons for example 1 nest out of 500 being predated isnt really noticable. 1 nest out of 30 though is a lot more of a problem.

The problem isnt that we cant comprehend it but rather people are sick and tired of the same excuses and handwaving to try and obfuscarate the fact that large numbers of birds and mammals are being killed, some legally some not, in order to ensure there are unnaturally high numbers of grouse to be shot.

Going to your first comment "not jumping to conclusions, publicly".  They didnt.  Any honest talk about raptors would have to acknowledge persecution as being the major problem. The only time I wouldnt expect it to be a major part if the talk was by BASC or similar.

In reply to Moley:

The meeting was full to the rafters and extra chairs were needed. The message was clear 70% of unnatural deaths were at the hands of gamekeepers. The rest were split between egg thieves, farmers and pigeon fanciers.

Yes, you were right that gamekeepers are not the only cause, but they legitimise the whole business of killing with their "it's traditional" horseshit.

There is a war in the countryside and I hope that within a generation the tide will have definitively turned.

 Offwidth 18 Jan 2020
In reply to Frank the Husky:

Thanks for the feedback and advertising the issues. I still feel most who enjoy the countryside and the part raptors play in this, don't know what is going on, nor the horrenous scale of it, nor that shooting estates escape these crimes with almost no punishment (at best occasionally a gamekeeper gets prosecuted).

 Moley 18 Jan 2020
In reply to Frank the Husky:

I'm genuinly pleased the meeting went well and thank you for the feedback.

I'm not going to try and make a point again (no need to reply) but purely by coincidence I had BBC radio Wales on Thursday afternoon, think it was Thursday, and the presenter had Iolo Williams on, a sort of phone in and "what can we do for wildlife etc." Iolo was saying how the weather this year had been good for some species and bad for others, and two that the wet spring had been especially bad for were grouse and Hen harriers that had both had very bad survival rates of chicks this year. Which goes towards my "why are there not more hen harriers in Wales".

He also had a bit of a rant about domestic cats (but a very mild "rant" as he didn't want to upset half the population) and the enormous damage they do to birds and mammals. I know we have had this issue on here before and many have argued that "The RSPB say they don't effect bird populations etc." but it was interesting that a naturalist in the public eye came out and said contrarary. He advised anyone pestered by them to get a bloody big dog!

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 mondite 20 Jan 2020
In reply to Moley:

> and two that the wet spring had been especially bad for were grouse and Hen harriers that had both had very bad survival rates of chicks this year. Which goes towards my "why are there not more hen harriers in Wales".

This has been addressed though but you seem determined to deflect.

Yes other factors will impact breeding but the overwhelming factor, currently, is persecution primarily by gamekeepers.

For the welsh birds for example several tagged birds have met mysterious ends near Wrexham.

The problem is harriers, in particular, move around a lot and the grouse moors attract them at which point they decide to take off their tags, if fitted, and only fly at night so no one sees them again.

 Moley 20 Jan 2020
In reply to mondite:

> For the welsh birds for example several tagged birds have met mysterious ends near Wrexham.

I mentioned them in one of my posts above (2 tagged birds wasn't it?), why bring them up again, what is your point in going on and on about it, I addressed them.

I was reporting some comments made on the radio by Iolo Williams, I thought they may be of interest to people - which is why he said them, he thought they may be of interest and he never mentioned grouse moors, persecution, gamekeepers, so nor did I.

Nowhere to go with this discussion.

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