There was a good letter published in The Courier a couple of days ago, in response to the Gift of Grouse propaganda that raptors are ‘thriving’ on grouse moors.
Sir, – A recent article by a game-keeping lobbyist painted a picture that all was well on our uplands and that birds of prey were thriving, especially on the Angus hills.
As a way of confirming this, keepers have been counting the number of flying raptors as a measure of this success.
Surely successful breeding birds of prey would be a better benchmark of their status?
I once had an osprey fly over my house but it does not nest in my garden.
Indeed, if it flies over some of the intensely keepered estates, especially on the eastern side of the Angus hills, they will have to keep flying.
Come April and May, the uplands here are host to numerous scarecrows, explosive gas guns, bird-scaring bangers and inflating figures attached to sirens.
Well, if you were a ground-nesting bird of prey like a hen harrier, all this racket would put you off breeding on the Angus hills; and they haven’t for 10 years.
Ironically, with the cacophony of noise ringing out night and day, you will see precious little else as curlew and golden plover, like the raptors, are forced to move on.
Recent truly scientific papers show that golden eagles, hen harriers and other raptors in the north-east Highlands are largely absent from these managed estates.
Indeed, hen harriers have suffered a catastrophic decline.
So concerned is the Scottish Government that Roseanna Cunningham, Cabinet Secretary for the environment, climate change and land reform, has commissioned a review regarding this.
The RSPB has derided this latest press release attempt at fooling the public as propaganda and make-believe.
The gamekeeping fraternity’s scientific report flies in the face of peer-reviewed scientific reports from Scottish National Heritage, the RSPB and others.
Perhaps not surprisingly, their scientific report is not in the public domain and so their outlandish claims cannot be verified.
6 Henry Street,
Well done, David. Great to see blog readers spreading the word.
As a quick update, a summary scientific report of the bird surveys done at Invermark Estate in the Angus Glens has now been published. As expected, the report reveals that the grouse-shooting industry’s claims about ‘thriving’ raptors were not supported by the evidence, and the Gift of Grouse campaign had misled everyone (see here).