The RSPB has just issued this press statement:
Goshawk nest fails in suspicious circumstances in Peak District
The RSPB is appealing for information after a goshawk nest failed in suspicious circumstances at Dove Stone in the Peak District.
On 10 May, a local raptor worker discovered the freshly abandoned goshawk nest in conifer woodland in the Longendale Valley, which the RSPB co-manages with landowner United Utilities. There were three cold eggs in the nest, one of which was broken. Damaged goshawk body feathers and a spent plastic shotgun cartridge were found in the immediate vicinity.
Both Derbyshire Police and the Peak District Bird of Prey Initiative were informed.
A local birdwatcher observed the female goshawk near to the nest on 8 May so it’s thought that the nest failed sometime between the afternoon of 8 May and the morning of 10 May.
Goshawks have been subjected to a high level of illegal persecution in the northern Peak District where they are now teetering on the brink of extinction. In 2015, there were only three known nests in the Dark Peak, one of which successfully fledged young.
Dave O’Hara, RSPB Site Manager at Dove Stone, said: “Due to illegal persecution goshawks are really struggling in the Dark Peak so we are deeply concerned that this nest has failed in suspicious circumstances on land that we manage. We would urge anyone with information to report it to the Police immediately by calling 101.”
What this press release doesn’t say is that this goshawk site is a historical one (i.e. goshawks have attempted to breed here in the past) although strangely the site has never been successful, with breeding attempts always failing by the incubation stage. Perhaps not so strange when you realise that the site is adjacent to a driven grouse moor.
Once again, the Peak District Bird of Prey Initiative (perhaps a more apt name would be the Peak District Lack of Bird of Prey Initiative) has failed to respond, leaving it up to the RSPB to issue a press statement. That’s very odd, especially when you consider the Lack of Bird of Prey Initiative recently decided to include goshawk on its list of raptor species that would receive improved protection within the Dark Peak area of the National Park.
The RSPB statement hints at some annoyance with both the Peak District Lack of Bird Prey Initiative and Derbyshire Constabulary for failing to report this suspected shooting, but it really is just a subtle hint.
So why no timely public appeal from the Peak District Lack of Bird of Prey Initiative or the police? Is there a lack of leadership? Is there some internal issue? A disagreement on the choice of words? Or just an inability or unwillingness to communicate bad news? Perhaps they’re still shell-shocked from the recent news of the armed man sitting next to a decoy hen harrier on a grouse moor within the National Park – a grouse moor that was supposedly signed up to the aims of the Bird of Prey Initiative?
What is clear is that raptor persecution within the Peak District National Park is out of control and has been for many years (e.g. see here and here). It’s also abundantly clear that the Peak District Bird of Prey Initiative isn’t working and is simply providing a convenient cover for the grouse-shooting industry who use their membership of it as ‘evidence’ of their support for raptor conservation. Sorry, but we can all see straight through it. It’s time for the good guys to step away from this failed Initiative and stop giving the criminals such cover.
Over 39,000 people have now signed the petition to ban driven grouse shooting. That’s over 39,000 people who have made the link between driven grouse shooting and illegal raptor persecution. There will be many more thousands who sign this petition as these raptor persecution crimes are increasingly exposed. Please sign HERE.
Goshawk photo by Steve Garvie
Photo of the failed goshawk nest (via digiscope) sent to us by a Peak District raptor worker