“Peregrines & Hen Harriers last about a week, then they’re shot”
UK’s largest bird of prey returns to English skies for first time in 240 years
The white-tailed eagle became extinct in England early in the 20th century due to illegal killing, but now these birds, which spend hours perched on a lookout before soaring to high altitudes, have made a comeback
White-tailed eagles disappeared from English skies in 1780, but held on in Scotland until 1916. Now these birds, which spend hours perched on a lookout before soaring to high altitudes, have made a comeback of late.
Also known as the fish eagle, they are the UK’s largest bird of prey with a wingspan of up to 2.5 metres. They became extinct here early in the 20th century due to illegal killing.
But thanks to Forestry England and the Roy Dennis Wildlife Foundation, who are leading a project to reintroduce them, releasing a group on the Isle of Wight last year, they may become a more frequent sighting in the skies near you. They are currently GPS tracking four young birds making their first big trips. During winter, they were sedentary, but with better weather they have flown from their nests to Somerset, Kent and Norfolk. Two brave birds, G318 and G393, have flown up as far north as Yorkshire to roost. Campaigners are appealing to people for sightings and photos. The birds have black-ridged tails, a hooked yellow beak and golden eyes with yellow legs and talons.
Evidence from the Netherlands, where there is a small but growing population of white-tailed eagles, shows that the species will readily nest in densely populated areas, close to people.
As a generalist predator, an animal that thrives in a wide variety of environments and scavenges on dead animals, white-tailed eagles favour fish in spring/summer, with water birds in autumn/winter, but also take rabbits and hares.
Alex Thomson Chief Correspondent
They’re some of the most magnificent birds seen in British skies but birds of prey, like the hen harrier, are increasingly the victims of crime – shot and poisoned in some cases to the brink of extinction. – But residents in one village have had enough, as the grouse shooting industry finds itself under pressure to stamp out illegal killings. And a warning there are distressing images of dead animals throughout this report.
Surge in illegal bird of prey killings since the coronavirus lockdown:
RSPB is overrun with reports of kites, buzzards and owls being slaughtered
- RSPB has been inundated with reports of unlawful killings of birds of prey
- Targeted bird in the last six weeks include buzzards, red kites and goshawks
- Charity says criminals are using the lockdown to shoot the protected birds
- Intentional killing or injury of animals covered by the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 comes with an unlimited fine or up to six months in jail
Raptor Persecution in the Forest of Bowland – a video interview with Terry Pickford
Terry Pickford a founder member of the North West Raptor Group (1967), provides his views in the attached video of the ongoing raptor persecution taking place throughout Lancashire’s Forest of Bowland. Terry points out that the persecution of raptors in his opinion is currently much worse now than it was 40 years ago. Many followers will be astounded to learn that since 2006 Peregrine nesting pairs in the Forest of Bowland have been reduced from 18 to a single breeding pair, with many breeding territories completely destroyed making their future use impossible. No one will be surprised to learn both the Peregrine and Hen Harrier are now being forcibly restricted from settling to breed on all of Bowland’s privately owned shooting estates, being contained to one estate owned by United Utilities Plc.
Raptor Persecution In the Forest of Bowland | Terry Pickford Interview September 2019
Welcome to VFS Videos, this is a short video of Graham Clark interviewing Terry Pickford a founder member of the North West Raptor Protection Group discussing Raptor Persecution In the Forest of Bowland, an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) in the North West of England, United Kingdom. Terry talks about the plight of Peregrine Falcons, Hen Harriers, Goshawks, Short Eared Owls and other birds of prey in the Forest of Bowland. The interview was conducted just below the summit of Burnslack Fell. Click Link below to go to the North West Raptor Protection Group website:- https://raptorpolitics.org.uk/ Click the following link to subscribe to the VFS Videos Channel: https://www.youtube.com/user/vfsvideos We can also be found on FaceBook: https://www.facebook.com/vfsvideos/ We also have a Twitter Account: https://twitter.com/grahamcvfs Thank you for watching this video. If you enjoyed this video please like the video and subscribe to our channel. More videos coming up.