I had hoped to be a bit more on the ball with the blog but it’s proving tricky as we have so much going on with both our captive birds and right in the thick of monitoring the wild birds of prey.
So a lot has gone on since I last blogged, on the captive bird front we are busy with our small team of birds. We very rarely talk about them and that’s partly because we don’t feel the need to advertise and also because Raptor Aid wants to focus more on wild birds of prey and conservation. The captive birds do play an important role though as yesterday we did two flying displays to over 100 children which is incredibly important. You may have seen a Horizon BBC documentary recently on whether zoos are important, I won’t go into my stance here that’s another blog but I do get asked more and more about the ethics of birds of prey in captivity and I to sometimes question the role birds of prey play in captivity.On the conservation front we are very busy monitoring wild birds of prey, we have been in Wales monitoring Peregrine’s and back to Scotland to finish off the Golden Eagle work – more on this in a separate blog. One thing that I learnt is Scotland and the Highlands in particular is simply stunning! Closer to home the usual Buzzards are breeding, my Kestrels pairs have dropped off but this may be down to me not keeping my finger on the pulse whilst down in Gloucester for the last 3 years. Little owl chicks should be out and about I just hope all this bad rain we are having isn’t having to much of a negative impact on their survival and dispersal. Now my attentions turn to the stunning Hobby a migratory falcon that visits our shores to breed. Since returning to Cheshire I had always planned to try and find as many pairs as possible and begin a long term study if possible. This is easier said than done as this species is particularly secretive and elusive around a nest site so lots of walking and watching is in order for the next couple of months. If you are lucky to know of a bird of prey breeding site please keep it confidential but make sure you share it with organisations like BTO or your county bird recorder. Other projects include the nest box scheme for schools which is still very much in the planning stages, this is mainly because we have very specific ideas for how the boxes are to be made and the aims of the project. We’ve made some great contacts nationally for the project we just need to get the blueprint right from the start before rolling it out! August sees us running two raptor identification courses, a one day course for Staffordshire Wildlife Trust and a three day course for the Field Studies Council at Malham Tarn, if they are successful we will be looking to run a full diary of events in 2017. Next year could also see the introduction of a very unique day with our captive birds of prey for fans of British birds of prey but it’s very early days yet – watch this space!
Elsewhere in the bird world raptor persecution is still rearing it’s ugly head in the UK, Hen Harriers are at the forefront along with driven grouse moors but also Red Kites and Common Buzzards are being shot and poisoned and if your a bird of prey reading this (you never know) stay away from the Peak District as that is a real black hole for raptors. I think as of July I will try and make a conscious effort to write a monthly blog piece on the previous months bird of prey news. I probably shouldn’t mention the referendum but what’s done is done now, one thing is certain never has it been more important for our conservation organisations to step up and push to protect our environment and wildlife as we soon won’t have the protective laws of the EU Legislation.
Keep an eye on the blog over the next week as I’ll publish Part 3 of the Golden Eagle monitoring and also a bit more in depth on what else we’ve been monitoring. Thanks for reading!