Conservationists have condemned plans that would allow buzzard nests to be destroyed and the birds of prey taken into captivity to protect pheasant shoots.
The Environment Department (Defra) is to spend up to £375,000 researching ways to keep buzzards from targeting captive-reared pheasants.
The RSPB said the idea of taking wild buzzards into captivity or destroying their nests was "totally unacceptable", and criticised Defra for spending hundreds of thousands of pounds on the project when money was tight for conservation measures.
In a document setting out plans for the research project, Defra said the 2011 National Gamekeepers Organisation survey found that three quarters of gamekeepers (76%) believed buzzards had a harmful effect on pheasant shoots.
Buzzards are thought to target pheasant release pens if they find there is a readily available source of food and the Government's conservation agency Natural England has received a number of requests to license the killing of the bird of prey, which is a protected species.
In one case it was claimed that 25% to 30% of young pheasants were lost to buzzards, making the shoot unsustainable.
Buzzards have seen numbers increase by 146% between 1995 and 2009, although the increase appears to have levelled off between 2009 and 2010, according to the British Breeding Bird Survey.
But the RSPB said buzzards were eradicated from swathes of Britain by persecution and were only now recovering, as a result of legal protection ....read full article here.
This is an issue which concerns me greatly. It just so happens I have been out filming local buzzards this afternoon (video below) and the thought of the authorities willfully destroying their nests makes me rage with anger. If the destruction was planned for legitimate reasons I would begrudgingly accept such a proposal but to destroy nests and imprison buzzards so Hooray Henries can take take to the moors and blast pheasants to death with shotguns is not a valid excuse in my opinion.
The Denton buzzards will be safe from this madness but the future of the Stalybridge buzzards will be perilous as their range does actually include a 'secret' pheasant breeding site hidden in the woods between Tintwistle and Crowden.
Should anyone spot anyone erecting the equipment needed to attack a buzzard nest, please do let me know as a matter of urgency.
While filming the buzzards today I also come across a Great Spotted Woodpecker ( I think so anyway? ) feeding chicks hidden in holes in a tree. The video can be viewed below.
I will not be updating this blog for a while barring some dramatic developments because too many important items from the likes of J Hall and Tony DJ are getting lost in the comments section. Tameside Citizen