News Items

April 17, 2019
Latest News Su Gough

Full brood at Bath

All four eggs have now hatched at Bath Peregrine nest, all seem healthy and the parents are busy feeding them. You can watch as they grow: Bath Peregrine live camera
April 14, 2019
Latest News Su Gough

First Peregrine chick hatches at Bath

Exactly on schedule, if anything a day earlier than expected, the first chick has hatched at the Bath RC church Peregrine platform. We will be expecting the remaining chicks to hatch over the next few days to make up a full brood of 4. Feeding will begin now,…
April 12, 2019
Ring tail Harrier 5
Latest News Su Gough

Sorrel returns to her nesting area in double-quick time

Hen Harrier Sorrel So, having left Ireland on 1 April and appearing to be working her way up through the Western Isles, Sorrel has once again arrived in the Scottish Highlands Region just in time for the sky-dancing and breeding season. Due to her tag’s…

H&OT group joy at Asda 'bags for tokens' success

Apr 12, 2019 238
Barn Owl black
Congratualtions to our colleagues in the East Midlands Hawk and Owl Trust Group! They…

Email addresses at Hawk and Owl Trust

Apr 10, 2019 105
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***We are currently having to change our email accounts and there may be disruption*** In…

Sorrel returns from her travels to Scotland

Apr 05, 2019 308
Hen Harrier
Having left their shores on 1 April, Sorrel has broken a few hearts in Ireland. The hope…

Fylingdales Moor

Apr 01, 2019 3842
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The Hawk and Owl Trust have managed Fylingdales Moor in North Yorkshire as a conservation…

Norwich Cathedral Peregrine web camera - update February 2019

Mar 07, 2019 1279
The pair of Norwich Peregrines on the nest box.
The Norwich Cathedral webcam has a sound function which, although originally working, has…

News from Sculthorpe

Feb 16, 2018 507
Fen Appeal - News February 2019 We recently heard the wonderful news that we successfully…

Hen Harrier Satelitte Tagging Update

Feb 16, 2018 383
Hen Harrier Satelitte Tagging Update Since July 2016, we have been following the fortunes…
Buzzard by Luke Delve Buzzard by Luke Delve

Recently we have seen a number of discussions and reactions relating to a Freedom of Information (FOI) request to Natural England (NE) for the species of birds and numbers of individuals covered by licences which allow them to be taken or killed. It has been revealed by that FOI that 170,000 wild birds have been lethally controlled in a 5-year period and this included licences for several bird of prey species: Peregrine, Barn Owl, Buzzard, Kestrel and Red Kite.

Avian predators are a natural and essential part of a balanced ecosystem and the Hawk and Owl Trust believes they should be cherished and encouraged. Achieving this is our primary concern. However, the Trust also acknowledges the reality that, on rare occasions, control of individual birds may be necessary; large birds may be posing a threat of airstrike at an airport, individual predators may be targeting a colony of rare birds or birds may be nesting in a tree or structure that is in imminent danger of collapse with risk to the public, for instance.

All wild birds in England are fully protected in law by the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981, but there is also an option under that Act that allows application for a licence to lethally control birds in situations where they are posing a threat to air safety, public health, and preventing disease or agricultural damage. The Hawk and Owl Trust welcomes the fact that licences must be applied for and that control of individual birds cannot be carried out before first obtaining such a licence. These licences can only be granted once all other avenues have been explored. From Natural England’s own website, it says:

A successful applicant must clearly demonstrate – with supporting evidence – that: actual damage or a problem is occurring; the species is actually causing the damage or problem; other reasonable and practical non-lethal alternatives have been considered and tried (such as scaring, trapping or proofing); the action is proportionate; and the conservation status of the species will not be negatively affected.”

We are unable to comment on individual licences, but overall figures suggest that in that 5-year period the majority of birds controlled were geese, ducks and gulls, alongside Cormorants (inland fisheries), Wood Pigeons and Starlings. According to NE’s records, the very few licences for Peregrine, Buzzard, Red Kite and Kestrel were all given for preserving air safety.