News Items

March 20, 2020
Latest News Laura Wharton

Two New Ponds for Shapwick Moor!

The excavation of two ponds is progressing well on Shapwick Moor Nature Reserve. After a very wet winter, volunteers at Shapwick have finally been able to excavate 2 new ponds on the reserve. The funding for these came from a national scheme run by Natural…
March 20, 2020
Latest News Super User

Bath Peregrines 4th Egg

The Bath Peregrines falcon laid her fourth egg of the 2020 season at 12:02 today, 20 March.
March 18, 2020
Latest News Laura Wharton

Coronavirus Update - Reserves Remain open 18/3/20

Coronavirus update from the Hawk and Owl Trust 18/3/20 ⭐We are open!⭐Sculthorpe Moor Nature Reserve and Shapwick Moor Nature Reserve remain open. Our reserves are to remain open to visitors until further notice. We are operating with reduced numbers of staff…

Coronavirus Update - Hawk and Owl Trust Reserves, Events and Activities

Mar 17, 2020 513
Reserves and Events Update: After to last nights (16/3/20) Coronavirus updates we would…

The First Norwich Peregrines Egg of 2020!

Mar 16, 2020 671
The first Norwich Peregrine egg of the season is here! The Falcon laid the egg at 16…

The First Bath Peregrines Egg of 2020!

Mar 14, 2020 699
The first Bath Peregrines egg of the season was laid on Friday (13/3/20). Hamish Smith-…

Barn Owls Rehabilitated at Sculthorpe Moor Nature Reserve

Mar 13, 2020 501
At the end of 2019, just before Christmas, the RSPCA East Winch Wildlife Centre…

Join us at the Norfolk Festival of Nature!

Mar 11, 2020 249
The Hawk and Owl Trust will be located at The Forum, Norwich on the 15th March for the…

Norwich Peregrine Live Camera - Offline 16/3/20

Mar 11, 2020 447
From Monday 16th March 2020 the Norwich live Peregrine camera will be offline. The…

Bath Peregrines Countdown for First Egg of 2020

Mar 11, 2020 534
In 2019 the first egg from the breeding pair had already been laid. Today the Bath…

Sculthorpe Update: Victor’s Hide is Open!

Mar 10, 2020 326
Sculthorpe volunteers have finished repair work on the boardwalk and fencing leading up…

Gardening Group Plant 1250 Hedge Plants!

Mar 04, 2020 384
Over the past 6 weeks Sculthorpe’s gardening group volunteers have been tirelessly…
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.