As regular CFZ-watchers will know, for some time Corinna has been doing a column for Animals & Men and a regular segment on On The Track... particularly about out-of-place birds and rare vagrants. There seem to be more and more bird stories from all over the world hitting the news these days so, to make room for them all - and to give them all equal and worthy coverage - she has set up this new blog to cover all things feathery and Fortean.

Thursday 4 August 2016

Gamekeepers and RSPB clash over licence to cull buzzards on shooting estate

By WMNPBowern  |  Posted: August 02, 2016
The RSPB stands accused of hypocrisy over its opposition to the granting of a licence by Natural England to control buzzards that threaten pheasant poults on a commercial shoot.

The accusation, in a blog written by the gamekeepers’ political advisor, Charles Nodder, is that the RSPB is itself happy to use lethal control in the name of conservation of certain species and it is hypercritical of the organisation and its conservation director, Martin Harper, to complain when someone uses the same rules to protect their own interests.

In his blog on the RSPB website, Mr Harper wrote: “The thorny issue of licenses for buzzard control reappeared when Natural England issued a licence permitting the control of up to 10 buzzards to “prevent serious damage to young pheasants”.

He goes on: “The killing of a recovering British bird of prey to protect an introduced gamebird for the benefit of commercial interest is wrong. The decision sets a worrying precedent. What will be next? Red kites, peregrines, hen harriers?”

But Mr Nodder, political adviser for the National Gamekeepers’ Organisation, says buzzards are thriving and asks, if it is okay for the RSPB to be granted licences to kill even rarer birds in the name of conservation, why it is wrong for shooting estates to also apply for licences to control buzzards?

He writes: “I was particularly interested in Martin’s reaction, because there is no risk to buzzard conservation arising from Natural England’s (NE) decision whatsoever.

In law, NE cannot issue a licence if, as a result of its being carried out, the conservation status of the licensed bird would be adversely effected.

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