News Items

June 24, 2019
Sculthorpe moor oak fen by Andy Thompson
Latest News Su Gough

Bright future ahead as nationally important nature reserve more than triples in size.

The ink is barely dry, but today Hawk and Owl Trust are celebrating watching the mid-summer sun rising over their new land area. They have ‘signed on the dotted line’ in the purchase of 150 acres of land surrounding their existing 45 acre Sculthorpe Moor…
June 23, 2019
Latest News Super User

Barn Owl Live Update

Barn Owl Update Sunday 23rd June 2019. 3 eggs hatched so far, and 3 remaining. The male is now roosting in another box locally and continues to bring in a good supply of food.
June 18, 2019
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Latest News Su Gough

Serendipity Garden Project

Just a few of our amazing volunteers busy with the 'Serendipity Gardening Project' at Sculthorpe today. Yet another way we are reaching out to the community and helping others get involved with the amazing health-giving properties of being outside in the…

Wet weather affecting breeding season. In some places...

Jun 17, 2019 282
barn owl ringing. sculthorpe 040711 6
In south and eastern Britain last week the heavens opened, and it seemed like the rain…

Norwich Peregrines: all 3 chicks fledge

Jun 07, 2019 1350
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Today, 7th June 2019, at about 20 minutes past midday the third, and final, chick fledged…

Volunteers Week 2019

Jun 06, 2019 131
Flora Surveying
What do a warm welcome, Barn Owls raising chicks in nest boxes, cleared ditches,…

First 2019 Peregrine chick at Norwich fledges.

Jun 02, 2019 718
At 10.40am this morning the first of the chicks at the Norwich cathedral Peregrine nest…

Bath Peregrine chick 'TX' returned successfully.

Jun 01, 2019 303
Bath Peregrine chick, colour-ringed ‘TX’, which left the nest box backwards on 18 May…

Bath Peregrines update - one chick fledges.

May 24, 2019 438
Bath Peregrines latest: Female TV fledged on the evening of 24 May 2019 and spent the…

Bath Peregrines - update 18/05/2019

May 18, 2019 836
Default Image
One of the female chicks left the nest, almost certainly accidentally, this morning. She…

Norwich Peregrine chicks ringed

May 14, 2019 1175
Yesterday (13 May 2019) the three Peregrine chicks at Norwich cathedral were ringed by…

Full brood at Bath

Apr 17, 2019 1435
All four eggs have now hatched at Bath Peregrine nest, all seem healthy and the parents…

First Peregrine chick hatches at Bath

Apr 14, 2019 1831
Exactly on schedule, if anything a day earlier than expected, the first chick has hatched…
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.