The RSPB has published its 2012 Birdcrime report documenting bird persecution throughout the UK.
North Yorkshire has once again come top of the league for the number of reported crimes against birds of prey (34), with Aberdeenshire a close second with 31 reported incidents. Both counties, of course, include large areas of land used for driven grouse shooting.
The 2012 report includes statistics that are all too familiar: confirmed shootings of short-eared owls, sparrowhawks, buzzards, barn owls, tawny owls, hen harriers, golden eagles, marsh harriers, and peregrines; confirmed nest destruction of peregrines, goshawks and barn owls; confirmed illegal spring-trapping of buzzards, golden eagle and peregrine; other types of illegal trapping (including crow cage traps) of sparrowhawks, tawny owls, buzzards and goshawks; and the confirmed illegal poisoning of ravens, red kites, buzzards, golden eagles, marsh harriers, peregrines, cats and dogs.
Remember, these are just the confirmed incidents. Plenty more ‘probable’ and ‘unconfirmed’ cases, and of course there are all the incidents that went undiscovered/unreported.
Does that sound to you like the game-shooting industry is cleaning up its act?
Well done to the RSPB for their meticulous work and especially for their willingness to share these data with the general public.
RSPB press release here
Download the RSPB’s 2012 Birdcrime report here
The photograph shows the shot hen harrier Bowland Betty, found on a North Yorkshire grouse moor in 2012. Nobody has been brought to justice for her death.