The RSPB has just published it's annual report on Raptor Bird Crime
And a sickening read it is too, with reports of Shootings, Poisonings and the use of Pole Traps (banned in 1905). There are areas of the UK, such as the Black Isle in Scotland that are described as a black hole for raptors so many have been killed. So what are the UK government, Scottish Government and their respective legal systems doing about this? Well it issues a lot of fines, suspended sentences and the occasional short jail term. So how this compare to other countries? Well how about Spain, recently a Spanish man was found guilty of poisoning 6 imperial eagles and some other birds, he was fined 360,000 Euro and got 18 months in jail, another farmer convicted of killing 11 Kites got a 90,000 Euro fine and 2 yrs in jail. In comparison a man found guilty of killing 10 Buzzards and 1 Sparrowhawk in Norfolk got a 10 week suspended sentence and a £930 fine. I think it is about time that the UK courts upped their response to wildlife crime, the wildlife is being killed is part of our countries natural heritage and should be protected as such.
Most of the reported crimes against raptors occur around the large shooting estates in the North of England and in Scotland, so it was extremely upsetting and shocking to see the report of the killing of a Rare Red Footed Falcon near where I live in Cambridgeshire http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-cambridgeshire-34910110
No one has been charged with this crime as of yet and no motive has been found. This bird has been seen but lots of birders over the last few months, which may have been the problem, birds have been killed in the past because they draw crowds and disrupt local activity, hopefully this is not the case and the culprit will be caught.Obviously if anyone knows anything contact the police or Birders against Wildlife Crime BAWC link opposite.