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.

Sunday, 31 March 2019

OUTRAGE from UK's top shooters after ROGUE gunmen kill one of England's rarest birds

ROGUE gunmen killing England’s rarest birds of prey over grouse moors have caused outrage among the country’s top shooters.
PUBLISHED: 17:45, Wed, Mar 20, 2019 | UPDATED: 19:06, Wed, Mar 20, 2019
Hen harriers: RSPB warns of threat of hunting to birds of prey
Academic proof that hen harriers are being illegally slaughtered has seen the country’s leading shooting organisation warn how the killings are causing “terminal damage” to the sport. A ten-year study tracking 58 satellite-tagged harriers that vanished mysteriously has concluded almost three quarters were either confirmed or highly likely to have been destroyed illegally. As the study was published this week, the British Association for Shooting and Conservation warned: “the criminals are wrecking shooting”.
The plight of the hen harrier on moors managed for grouse shooting has become one of conservation’s most controversial issues.
Harriers, known as sky dancers because of their flamboyant breeding display flights, are blamed for taking young red grouse and posing a serious threat to a countryside tradition that has become big business and starts with a bang on the Glorious Twelth of August.

Prestigious "driven shoots" can cost up to £15,000 a day for a party of eight guns, with a brace of grouse costing a shooter more than £140 to bag although they only fetch around £4 from game dealers for the table.

With far fewer legally protected harriers nesting on English uplands than conservationists believe the landscapes should be supporting, illegal persecution to protect game birds has long been suspected. 
By analysing a tracking study from the Government’s wildlife agency, Natural England, along with data supplied by the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds, researchers from the University of Aberdeen and the University of Cape Town found direct evidence of four tagged harriers being illegally killed while another 38 disappeared in a way that makes them believe they were also illegally slaughtered.

The findings prompted a stern response from BASC.

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