Goshawk suspected shot in Peak District National Park

Goshawk,_Northern_SteveGarvieThe 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.”


GOS NEST pdnp may 2016 - CopyWhat 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

8 Responses to “Goshawk suspected shot in Peak District National Park”

  1. June 3, 2016 at 1:45 pm

    The rising tide of persecution of raptors (fake harriers last month, Red Kites last week, pole traps this week and now Goshawks) on or around grouse moors is plain for all to see. The unbelievable level of denial by the shooting lobby suggests either jaw-dropping stupidity or knowing collusion. You really have to be terminally stupid not to understand the level of bad faith within the industry regarding the “Hen Harrier Action Plan”. Let the Hawk and Owl Trust play their little games and get patted on the head by the CA et al because it matters not a jot – the birds will be shot, poisoned or trapped with alacrity if they trespass on grouse moors. Perhaps not all moors but certainly more than enough to drive them into local extinction. Vicarious liability, heavy fines and the denial of grants for the estates and appropriate punishments for gamekeepers (inc. were necessary a lifetime ban from having a gun licence which would effectively stop them continuing asa gamekeeper) is the way forward. In the meantime, which I suspect may not require a change in the law, any estate that pays the fine for a gamekeeper caught committing a wildlife crime should automatically forfeit claims to all public grants.

  2. 2 Rob Barnett
    June 3, 2016 at 2:17 pm

    Why were there no camera traps on this well known Goshawk site ? Chesp enough these dsys.

  3. 3 nirofo
    June 3, 2016 at 4:52 pm

    I along with 2 colleagues started recording breeding Goshawks in the Peak District and surrounding moorland areas in 1968, in the late 1970’s we had a maximum of 21 active nests located throughout the area, 19 of these active nests were done in one season at various stages ranging from incubating eggs to nearly fledged young. In at least 4 of these sites we knew who the culprit was, it was reported to the police, the NCC (now NE) and the RSPB, nothing was done! It seems the status quo still exists, it will never stop until grouse shooting is confined to history.

  4. 4 Merlin
    June 3, 2016 at 6:58 pm

    Another depressing blog, one would hope that United Utilities would ban all shooting on their land in that region for the foreseeable future as a penalty to those concerned in this sad case, you would hope that this would be backed by the national parks authority, I continually hope that each time this happens it will be the one that finally snaps the breaking point of the RSPB senior management but alas this never happens, having recently travelled through a couple of spain’s national parks I was amazed to see pull in points by the roads with large displays showing the wide variety of birds and wildlife that were regularly seen from these vantage points and tips on how to identify the different Eagles Vultures Buzzards and Hawks, you go through our National parks and realise there is no need for these signs as all the wildlife has been shot, trapped or poisoned. all you see are plastic countrymen in tweed, clueless about wildlife, all the gear but no idea and very little wildlife apart from pheasants and Grouse

  5. 5 Jimmy
    June 4, 2016 at 8:34 pm

    Just another day on these shooting moors. Its clear nothing is going to work other than kicking these people out of such areas

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