So 2017 has started a bit damp a bit cold but plenty of plans for birdy stuff. The big news is that we have applied to be a charity, this has been a long term aim of Raptor Aid and at the end of last year we started the process of approaching potential trustee’s and drafting a constitution and sorting the application to send off to the Charities Commission. This is all done with four fantastic trustee’s who will be introduced in due course and also two fantastic advisors but first we need the green light – watch this space!
Some of the reasons for going charitable is longevity towards working for birds of prey in the wild and captivity, accountability and credibility in the long term. Asking anyone for their hard earned cash needs to be done in a professional and accountable manner plus the Gift Aid will make that money go a long way further. The nice thing about Raptor Aid as a charity is we have next to no over heads, no staff wages or bills to pay so all the money raised will go towards projects we are supporting and involved with.There is no point going into to much details before we have the green light though but we have irons in the fire already and plans afoot.
In the meantime we are not sat watching the phone, our captive bird of prey team has been separated to a sister company which will take care of all the commercial side of things. Raptor Aid will continue with the conservation work with several things currently keeping us occupied check them out below.
Captive birds of prey – More and more people are owning birds of prey and also breeding them in captivity, sadly it seems birds of prey are being treated like any other consumable humans buy and are all to easily dispensed with as quickly as they are bought. We are monitoring four internet bird of prey for sale pages over the next 12 months to document the sad state of affairs captive bird of prey ownership seems to be in. This also means the rise in people using birds of prey to make money commercially has seen an increase and as you might imagine the standards have slipped, there is little legislation and with councils and government bodies already stretched Raptor Aid will be working with other organisations to develop better guidelines that may one day help or become legislative. We will also be lobbying schools and venues to avoid using companies which fall below such guidelines.
Field Work – This has already started here in the UK, we have been out checking some territories and watching pairs starting courtship displays in certain areas. Nest boxes are being either renewed, revamped or new ones put in place with 4 Little owl boxes off to the Gloucestershire Little owl project tomorrow. We also head up to Scotland at the end of February for two meeting one being the Highland Raptor Study Group spring meeting followed by the Scottish Raptor Study Groups Conference a week later. We will be stopping up in Scotland for the week and starting our Golden Eagle surveys to check for birds on territories so hopefully we will have some nice weather.
Field Trips – Raptor Aid are all about making connections and creating working links with other conservation projects and highlighting these to a wider audience as well as offering our own advice and support. We start by heading to the Philippines to work with our friends at the Philippine Eagle Foundation in mid March taking out supplies for the centre, support in training at the centre and also the possibility of climbing to a wild nest to fit a GPS tag to a Philippine Eagle Chick. We will also be giving some talks to Staff, students and schools and hopefully looking at getting some of their schools into a twinning project with UK school children. We have several other projects we are going to work with this year including Belize and India.
Nest Box Scheme – Although we already run and take part in nest box schemes the ultimate plan is to start one for school children to get involved with. This is something that has been going on for a while now as it has to be just right, the nest boxes, how it will work and how it will be managed and monitored. There are lots of exciting aspects to this scheme that will come to light in the near future. Watch this space!
We will also be running our raptor identification workshop for the Field Studies Council and will be looking to roll out our own one here in Cheshire along with some other organisations along with getting out to groups to talk about our work and how you can help birds of prey. Lots happening so keep an eye on here and Facebook.
Thanks for Reading!