News Items

February 12, 2020
Latest News Laura Wharton

An Illustrated Talk with Zoe Smith - Braintree Wildlife Group

Braintree Wildlife Group are hosting an illustrated talk with Zoe Smith our Urban Peregrine Project Officer on the 18th February 2020 at St.Andrews Church Hall in Halstead. Entry is £3 donation on the door, no booking required! More information on this…
February 10, 2020
Latest News Super User

Sculthorpe Moor - Monday 10th February

Monday 10th February. We are sorry, but Sculthorpe Moor will be shut all day. We have two trees down across the entrance lane, normal service should be resumed on Tuesday 11th.
February 09, 2020
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Latest News Super User

Sunday 9th February - Sculthorpe Moor

We are sorry due to the high winds Sculthorpe Moor will be shut today.

Events Update: Beginner and Intermediate Photography Courses at Sculthorpe

Feb 04, 2020 154
Join reputable wildlife photographer Steve Norris for beginner and intermediate day…

Events update: Peregrine Watchpoint Training Sessions

Feb 04, 2020 163
The 2020 Peregrine Watchpoint training sessions have been confirmed. These sessions have…

Kestrel Highways Project Update

Feb 03, 2020 135
Last week volunteers replaced some of the Kestrel boxes at Worston House in Highbridge.…

Job Vacancy: Norfolk Urban Peregrines Project Assistant

Jan 28, 2020 901
We're currently recruiting for a Peregrines Project Assistant. The aim of the post is to…

Waxwing at Sculthorpe!

Jan 28, 2020 335
It has been an exciting week at Sculthorpe as a beautiful guest visitor decided to stop…

Sculthorpe Moor Open

Jan 21, 2020 320
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Thank you to everyone for the support shown during the recent flooding. We are now open…

Tree Planting at Shapwick Moor

Jan 17, 2020 177
Tree planting in progress at Shapwick Moor this through the generous donation of a local…

Sculthorpe Moor Closed

Jan 16, 2020 437
We are sorry but Sculthorpe will be closed on until Monday 20th January due to 2 - 3 feet…

Work for the Hawk and Owl Trust

Jan 14, 2020 327
We are now advertising for a Assistant Peregrine Officer for the 2020 season at the…

Sculthorpe Moor - update 27th December

Dec 26, 2019 358
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Sculthorpe is open 8-4 today. Last entry 3pm.
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.