This blog is written by wildlife conservationist Dr Ruth Tingay who has worked in the field of raptor research and conservation for 30 years. A former President of the international Raptor Research Foundation, her work now focuses on campaigning against the illegal killing of birds of prey in the UK, which mostly takes place on game-shooting estates. She is also a co-director of wildlife campaign group Wild Justice, along with her colleagues Chris Packham CBE and Dr Mark Avery.
The Raptor Persecution UK blog began in 2010 and so far it has received over 8 million views and generates wide media interest and coverage:
For media and all other enquiries please contact Ruth at: firstname.lastname@example.org
If you’re interested in Ruth’s background this video interview (filmed during lockdown in 2020) is a good place to start:
26 thoughts on “About”
Hi, Thank you for this valuable site. Nothing compares to it on the web and is a reminder, if ever some of us need it, to the true and serious problem that we have in Scotland as to the persecution of birds of prey. My investigations and research over recent years has lead me to areas of Scotland where I have not only come across poisoned and shot raptors, but I have even witnessed a gamekeeper setting out carbofurin onto a rabbit in an area where raptors fly. At every opportunity we must remind the general public that reports of incidents involving raptor persecution are only the tip of the iceburg. Crimes against birds of prey are almost always carried out in isolated areas where the public rarely walk and it is often only chance that these poisoned or shot birds are discovered. For every raptor I hear killed then I times that by ten for those that the perpetrator of these serious crimes takes away, burns, buries or are lost amongst the heather or within the woodlands.
At the end of August I am doing a fund raising skydive to raise funds for the investigations department at the Edinburgh animal charity OneKind and also to highlight the serious problems that we have in Scotland of raptor persecution. Please could I use this opportunity to give you the link to my skydive fund raising page. Anything that people could donate would go directly to obtain equipment to help me keep one step ahead of those that I investigate. Many thanks.
Please sponsor me at: http://www.virginmoneygiving.com/SteveSkyDives
Great blog and, sadly, a really important project. All power to you!
Thank you for taking up the cause to educate the ignorant and to advertise the misdeeds of those who do harm to such an important part of the ecosystem.
Hi there, firstly many thanks for all the great blogs and great work you are doing I do follow the site a lot although I never post. However I have come across some information recently that I feel obliged to share. Firstly I would like to add that I am an ex gamekeeper/deer stalker one who loves and protects not only raptors but all species on the ground I worked much to many of my associates dislike. I can honestly say raptor persecution is rife in the industry despite what some organisations will try and have you believe. Anyway back to the point, you will remember back in December 2010 the golden eagle found poisoned by carbufuran in glen orchy, one Tom Mckellar was prosecuted for this along with possession if 2 illegal hand guns… Min 5 year sentence for each.. I think not. Well you will be pleased to know that xxxxxxxxx….
[Ed: Thanks for your comment. The final paragraph has been deleted – we won’t publish it without first seeing supporting evidence…but we’ll do some digging].
This blog is UTTERLY VITAL – I hope there are plans to ensure continuity over the years? … and thankyou for taking up the case of mountain hares; yet another thing which sickens me about parts of the shooting industry.
PS. Link to new HH website didn’t work, will try again in few days.
What you guys don’t realise is that raptors are persecuted because they taste just so damn good. henharriers are the tastiest of all raptors , breasted, dusted in breadcrumbs. shallow fried or 180 degrees on the middle shelf of the oven. tastes just like ……chicken…..! Red Kite taste like …..shite, but i eat em to keep my diet varied. Eagle can be a bit stringy but their deep fried talons are mmmmm crunchy. Sparrowhawk Pie is excellent but you need four and twenty of them so it’s hard work killing enough to feed the family. Easier work was the making of a snowy owl 7 egg omelette. I thought they werent supposed to breed in the uk? shows how much you twitchers know……. and on a tuesay night i like nothing better than tucking into a family bucket of kentucky fried osprey. How do you like them apples ya bunch of psycho birdtwitchers. Ps…..since I started eating Goshawk eyeballs my eyesight has improved by about 75% . I reckon if the chinese find out about the medicinal value of gos eyes then we could set up a new market with our fellow man in china. FTR. Pheasants forever.
Have just sent this to the BBC, couldn’t seem to cc you in on it via hotmail address?
Disgraceful news reporting, so totally unbalanced. Botham & Bonner get away with total misinformation & complete fabricated lies at times. Lets see this on your news items.
Lets get to the point. Every year close to 100 birds of prey are illegally persecuted or killed illegally, mainly on grouse moors.
It’s very hard to prove who or what has happened, but there are still plenty of prosecutions.
If you want some hard facts and some very sad images of what dead birds of prey, poisoned, shot, trapped & persecuted look like
then take a look a this website – they will be more than happy for you to publish their images & articles.
84000 people have now signed a petition to ban driven grouse shooting, its now running at 1000 signatures a day. Lets see a news article on this please.
I have some information and photographic evidence of what I believe to be widespread poisoning of mammals and through them probably raptors on a Scottish Estate(s). Can you advise on contacts at organisations I could contact to have this investigated further and to have action taken against the estate
[Ed: In the first instance, contact RSPB Scotland Investigations Team: Tel 0131-317-4187]
I love Birds and always wondered for the 10 years i’ve been taking my Border Terrier on the moors in The Forest Of Bowland, Yorkshire and The Peak District I never see any birds of prey…. Hen Harrier Day is great but more bird lovers need to know about this. Also Bird charities need to do more.
Up till the advent of Raptor Persecution Scotland, animal welfare and conservation of species individuals, felt the need for a “meeting point”, where they could voice their misgivings about wildlife protection laws being thwarted when it came to cases of Birds of Prey persecution . There was also a need for an archive of all matters relating to that persecution, something that a more alert public, willing to take part in campaigns, would want to have for a clear picture of what was actually going on, on the moorlands of Scotland and elsewhere in the UK.
What has emerged, is that a caucus exists which may influence what action the Crown Office/Fiscal Service decides to take when the Police adduce evidence against a gamekeeper or land owner, after a protected bird species has been found poisoned, snared, shot, trapped or had its nest and eggs smashed. If a prosecution did take place and guilt was found, the fine or whatever, would be derisory and obviously would be paid by the rich supporters of game bird shooting. What those supporters have failed to notice, was that a huge and economically important number of individuals have come to use the countryside of the British Isles for recreation, and the observation and conservation of wildlife in its many forms. Such people could be very well-informed or just plain beginners wanting a share of the great outdoors, and to find joy in seeing wild creatures interacting. Others came just walk, run or climb, but not to kill or maim to get some perverse pleasure, for to gain that would have been anathema to them. So inspired would many become, that they would join one or more or all of the organisations set up to conserve the countryside and its wildlife. Some of these ethically minded people would sometimes find an animal caught in a snare, or a bird of prey shot or poisoned. Others would be grossly offended at finding a shoot in action, wiping out Mountain Hares. Along some fence of barbed wire would hang Crows, Moles, Foxes, Stoats, Weasels or whatever was deemed “vermin” by the all-wise and beyond reproach gamekeeper, who was, through brainwashing of the public, the guardian of our landscape, and who “managed” it so we could enjoy it. Just as the mass killers of Bears, Cougars, Bison, Deer and Wolf in the USA under Trump, now do, and so do as managers of wildlife with conservation in mind! That was what was conveyed on the BBC News a few days ago, when it was shown what was going on in Alaska, with a free-for-all to kill whatever you wanted. No matter where you go on this planet, you will find trophy shooters paying big prices to kill endangered species, or “canned” hunts of Lions and even Giraffes, Zebras and other poor creatures. Then there are the annual massacres of migratory birds, which are shot in their millions by hunters in the Mediterranean countries and islands. What goes on on the Scottish landscape with regard to game bird shooting, has to be included in this world wide slaughter of wildlife. The many other pressures on habitats and surviving numbers of many species, has created many campaigns to save individual species, and actions to protect forests and other areas of great biodiversity. What we have in Scotland, is a landscape mostly denuded of its woodlands, and other habitats under severe threat from developments. The Victorian hunters managed to wipe out thousands of Badgers, Wildcats, Foxes, along with Birds of Prey, which they would proudly display on photographs. There began the propaganda of the shooting industry being the mainstay of rural employment, and the gamekeeper being the guardian of the natural world. Only the advent of wildlife programmes on TV, magazines on the natural world, champions of conservation emerging such as Attenborough, more astute and ethical-minded people, rambling clubs, hill walking and other outdoor activities, all making a case for a more humane way of treating sentient creatures and the environment, did the blinkers begin to fall from badly informed eyes.
We have a hard and long struggle ahead to get the Scottish Government to wake up from its mesmerised state, with its belief that the game bird shooting industry, as it is how behaving, is an integral part of the mix of outdoor activities that bring revenue to this country. Other activities, such as recreational walking and wildlife watching, bring in £2 billion compared to the £150 million ascribed to shooting. Criticism has been levelled at the present government, that it is not investing enough in the tourist industry with regard to infrastructure and accommodation, as was seen with the overwhelming visitor numbers going to Skye this year. Tourists come for scenery, historical buildings, museums, athletics and ball game sports, sailing, climbing, sensible angling within the law, and many more, and these exclude blood sports.
A national, big selling newspaper ran an article of the division caused by the blood sport of game bird shooting. The journalist who compiled the “facts” for that article, painted a picture of an idyllically run sport taking place on a landscape managed by poetic gamekeepers with great care and sensitivity, and one such historical character could recite the Psalms in Gaelic! The reader was regaled with the virtues of estate owners in running tight ships, with no mention of the hundreds of cases of Birds of Prey having been defiantly and illegally killed. Condoned was the mass slaughter of gentle Mountain Hares, with no reason for that killing. The old story of the rural employment gained from shooting, and the healthy food made available for the public to access if they went to the best restaurants. Indignantly it was claimed, that the urban dweller had no right condemning the bucolic inhabitants of our countryside. This essay, justifying the slaughter of large numbers of wildlife to enable shooters a chance to manage the countryside, has to stand as a disgraceful piece of writing, which makes no mention of the criminality and brutality of this anachronistic pseudo-industry. This planet demands a whole makeover as to whom is mismanaging it, as all that is being observed in the natural world is under some kind of threat from different kinds of destroyers. The decent and morally aware people of Scotland have to win the part of this world wide battle, by ensuring our politicians have to get the message, that anything involving animals has to be run humanely and that means compassionate behaviour in all areas where animals are reared for food, used for entertainment, kept as pets, found on fish farms or living in our seas, in slaughterhouses, laboratories and zoos. Having half of the Scottish Government Environmental Department, Fergus Ewing, as a spokesperson for the game bird industry and mouthing support for it at Game Fairs, is totally unacceptable for his inaccurate and biased support. The ideal would be to have an investigation of our Fiscal, Police and Judiciary services, to check for why there have been so few prosecutions of wildlife crime suspects, and for a proper Police Force developed to deal with rural crime (safeguarding farm machinery and livestock; enforcing wildlife laws; ensuring against other illegal activities, such as drug growing farms). Prison sentences have to be awarded due to the contempt having been shown up till now. We need determined and courageous people to take on this subject, and for that, we also need public support in the form of funding and in contacting politicians.
Hi I run highland-scene.com and we ptomote Scotland to the world, I think what what you are doing is hugely important to protect all raptors. If you use the email address you have with this form and send me a bio of what you do for the Scottish raptors along with a couple of images I will place it on the article I have on Scottish wildlife and a link to your blog. We know that the killing of raptors go on I lived for many years in the hills on estates and everyone knows it goes on but accepted as part of running a shooting estate. I feel for the estates who try their best not to harm the raptors but find poisoned birds on their lands and they get tarred with the same brush. I few years ago Sea Eagles were released from Fife and one settled in Montrose Basin a nature reserved and I watched it a few times then it vanished, I found out later it had been shot!!! Sickening. Carry on the good work
Very sad to hear about Fred. I note that the signal turned up off the Fife coast after a few days. If the transmitter was removed from bird or still on bird and taken out there by boat and removed from a metal box (which would stop the transmitter signal being picked up) there may be another signal which might help. There is an App called Marine Traffic. This app shows boats fitted with transponders. It is similar to the aircraft ones like flightradar24. If the apps managers have stored the info around the date of the signal reappearing, it may show a boat ID. Long shot but with a try. If you can see a boat the is there on that day…find the owner…then maybe the police can track that person’s mobile phone. If the phone shows up in both the vanishing location and the reappearing location..bingo! – John near Melrosr
Is your email address correct – didn’t work for me re an Angus osprey concern.
Yes, that email is correct.
[Ed: thanks Mary – just waiting for a bit more info then will publish]
Thanks for sharing and highlighting. Killing of raptors is now becoming a global threat like in Kenya where poison is used to kill these birds everyday by poachers and the population. It must be highlighted to save these important birds in the society.
A friend, Jenny Spencer, recently asked about “MAPPING”
“In February 2018 Raptor Persecution maps for England and Wales were published on the Natural England MAGIC site to enable the police to clearly see where the highest incidents are taking place and focus enforcement efforts in the areas that need it most.” (nwcu.police.uk) So why was no study conducted for Scotland? You can bet your bottom dollar it suffered strong opposition from some of those hideously ancient and wealthy landowners or ‘Trusts’ (a term which avoids blame on one person or family!!) – stinks
Were maps undertaken in Scotland, and if so why didn’t the police act?
Many thanks, Biddy
Hi Ruth, I am frustrated by the spam adverts displayed on your site. They are frequently offering: earn lots of money overnight, per day or per week. Vouchers of many hundreds of pounds for UK supermarkets, Silly quizzes for the same Vouchers.
These are all enticements to allow spammers access to email addresses and some people are unwary and will answer such things.
Do you have any control over what type of adverts your site displays?
Sorry about the moan, about you amazing site. I see such ads as serious nuisance value and further corruption of the internet.
I will soon be closing one of my email addresses because, somehow, SPAM has found it. I have had the email address for many years. I get 20+ spam emails each day offering the whole range of enticements from lots of money to horny girls. My spam filter does work but also catches some legitimate emails, even yours at times. So, I have to sort through them.
I have a few screen shots if you want to see the ads. None of a sexual nature.
Hi Ruth, The adverts appearing on your site are misleading “get rich quick” and annoying with their frequency.
Do you have any control over the type of adverts shown on your site?
[Ed: No, sorry, it’s the price to be paid for a free platform]
Ruth – lang may yer lum reek – as we say in Scotland.
I think we are lucky to have someone of your calibre in the vanguard of what appears to be becoming a potent campaign.
I’m 72 and yet am beginning to believe I may see the end of driven grouse shooting and the greedy morons who maintain it at the moment.
Having said that I think the will is with (most of) the Scottish Government, but they are finding the lobby that supports the abuses of the countryside is not an easy one to subdue;
so land reform seems stymied and protection of beavers is an ugy farce.
Anyway – thank you for your efforts.
Thank you for the work you do you keep us informed of this terribly cruel activity we humans insist on doing to the birds we share Mother Earth with.
Hello, looking for a bit of advice. On a walk today in xxxxxxxxxxxxx my husband and I stumbled upon what I believe to be part of the wing of a Kestrel. It’s an area where we’ve seen many birds of prey- particularly buzzards and kestrels however today we saw none, and heard a few gunshots, which I always worry about! I read the raptor persecution blog often so I am well aware of wildlife crimes regarding our birds of prey. The fact I found only a wing today makes me think that this bird was probably naturally predated so I didn’t report it, but I’m ny no means an expert, it might not even be from a Kestrel, it was simply the size and colouration and fact I’ve seen them in that area that made me think it was one. Perhaps I could send a picture and someone can give me their thoughts on the matter?
If it does seem suspicious we have the location tagged on the image so we could send that.
It’s an area where hen and marsh harriers are known to visit so if there’s a chance it could have been illegally killed then that’s probably something worth noting.
Thanks for your email. My advice would be to contact the RSPB Investigations Team (email@example.com). They’ll be happy to advise.
Hello ruth. I salute you and everyone working to stop. Tge disgraceful stuff that goes on behind the scenes of shooting for fun.
I live east of the aonb north pennines. From my home I can see the hills burning and other fires on moorland further west to near or at where the hen harriers was found near haltwhistle last week. This burning is really annoying. Apparently it comes under Essential Maintenance.during covid.
quarantine. Now can this burning be seen from the air or space and can we get some images to show up the disgrace. I can imagine the horror of air travellers looking down jaw dropping. Also perhaps the international space station may have something, or whatever google Earth is. What it does to the air over eastern europe, wonder, we should include Brussels in our subject.
I thank you.
I don’t know if you’ve seen the news about the ospreys nesting at Bolton Castle in Swaledale but it seems to be part of a new version of greenwashing (or am I just being cynical?). https://www.bbc.com/news/uk-england-york-north-yorkshire-62436432#amp_tf=From%20%251%24s&aoh=16597966547681&referrer=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.google.com . There has also been talk of attracting ospreys to Gouthwaite reservoir in Nidderdale (by I think Nidderdale Moorland Group) and Wharfedale by the Bolton Abbey estate of the Duke of Devonshire.
It would be great if the continuing recovery of this raptor saw them breeding across the Dales but I’m a bit suspicious of the warm welcome from shooting estates. Are they portraying themselves as friends of birds of prey (as they try with the “brood meddling scheme for hen harriers) to disguise the fact the shooting community still persecute them?
I don’t see them opening their arms to goshawks, hen harriers and other raptor species that target grouse in the same way. Do others think this is a greenwashing smokescreen?
We often hear about Hen Harriers that have been shot or otherwise disappeared but as I believe the male hunts for the food whilst the female stays with the young who also die from starvation and if my information is correct the number affected would be much greater