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Another Licence to Control Buzzards (1 Viewer)

Jack Dawe

Well-known member
A couple of weeks ago I wrote to my MP asking the following specific questions:

1) How, precisely, will Natural England ensure that that the gamekeeper(s) to whom the licence has been granted will actually conform to the terms of that licence?

2) How will Natural England determine that the licence has not been used surreptitiously as a carte blanche to remove more birds than the number specified?

3) What are the non-lethal measures that will be employed alongside this control?

4) Why are the rearing pens not already Buzzard-proof and what measures are being taken to ensure that they will be?

5) How many pheasants annually has this estate been prevented from releasing because of attacks by Buzzards?

6) How many pheasants does the estate anticipate that the control measures will now enable it to release that would not otherwise have been released

7) What proportion will this increase be of the total number that the estate expects to release?

I don't think these questions were unreasonable. All of them should have been considered and resolved robustly before any licence was granted, so a reply should be a straightforward matter.

This morning I received a formal reply, through my MP, from Natural England. This reply totally ignored all of the questions I posed and merely regurgitated the stock explanation that NE posted on their website on 5 August (and which I had already seen). As it happens, this does provide some sort of answer to my question 4), but that is purely coincidental. For a supposedly accountable body to treat legitimate enquiries with such laziness, sloppiness and downright discourtesy inspires no confidence whatsoever in Defra's and Natural England's competence. Naturally I have conveyed my dissatisfaction to my MP and asked for my questions to be properly addressed, but I do not hold out much hope because, frankly, I doubt that NE have many of the answers. NE's reply that I linked above does intimate that the problem may lie with released birds returning to the pen area, so NE could dead-bat my questions 5-7 by giving a strictly literal reply in which the numbers would probably be minimal or zero, but if they don't want yet another letter they'd do well to address the obvious point I'm making.

If it turns out that these points have been properly considered and NE can demonstrate why they are not sufficient to mitigate the problem satisfactorily, then I might - just might - be able to accept that NE acted within reason. Not that that would make me feel any better.
 
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string boozel

Well-known member
That is an excellent series of questions Jack and I would have thought Natural England might have anticipated most of them before embarking on it's current course. I understand that the individual requesting the control measures is claiming that Buzzards are effecting his economic prospects but I wonder if this is offset in a wider sense by the amount of Rabbits that they predate. Given that Rabbits are regarded as an agricultural pest I would have thought a free and environmentally sustainable control would be welcome.

I note that this measure will be effectively self policing but anyone familiar with the industry's record in the past will not be confident. If a limited programme of Buzzard control is deemed necessary, and I don't believe that it is justified, then a third party should be brought in to conduct the control. As I stated in a previous post I would prefer someone who can recognise and separate Buzzards from similar species, one who will put as much effort into non lethal measures and who will also limit the bag to ten birds. Forgive my distrust but I feel that should the licenses become more easily attainable now that a precedent has been set some keepers might allow some mission creep to sneak in.

A final thought, has the Pheasant killing industry or their obliging chums at NE made any effort to refine or improve the design of Pheasant rearing pens?. I'm not aware of any significant impact on the chicken rearing business by Buzzards, might lessons be there to be learned?

James.
 
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rosbifs

Well-known tool
France
If the Buzzards are so common the killing could be restricted to a specific day with observers present to ensure that excess are not shot....

What am I talking about! If a pheasant farm thinks buzzards are taking 100 pheasants then they should pay for a 100 more not be allowed to kill the buzzards - its not their fault that they are too lazy to ensure protection for the stock or poor release plans. Perhaps they should ban all motorists within a 10 mile radius of a release pen to limit road deaths - better still reduce the speed limit to 10mph and take out licenses to kill passing motorists exceeding this limit and thereby risking the lives of their precious pheasants!

I grew up in Suffolk when there weren't any buzzards - there were still lots of pheasants lost though. And at the end of the day you only want to shoot them...
 

Jack Dawe

Well-known member
Well said, Rosbifs. I don't know for sure the identity of the estate in question and I don't know what roads are nearby, but in general there must be thousands more pheasants killed annually by cars than by Buzzards. I really don't see the rationale for control. If Buzzards take a few, so what?
 

rosbifs

Well-known tool
France
The difficulty is that we, as birders, are obviously (with some exceptions) going to be anti in some form or other and frankly aren't taken that seriously.

I have been trying to see how many pheasants are killed on the road. The cost to those who hit a pheasant either through their insurance or self-insurance must be huge. Perhaps the birds should be tagged and those costs passed back to the bird 'owner'. The knock on effect of losing your bonus, excess etc. means that most will not inform insurers but either way you will get hit financially - also means pretty unquantifiable. If a landowner let out a million dogs then he would have some liability towards them gathering on the road and it would certainly be considered irresponsible.

These are just thoughts which I have no doubt would be laughed at somewhere down the line but think about it 40million pheasants released of which 20million (+-5m) are shot. Even if 1% are hit by cars thats is 400k - average damage 250£ (if a pheasant takes out your radiator its substantially more) talking about 100,000,000£ - even if I am 10x out its 10m£ (ie 0.1%)...........

If it takes out your windscreen its better for you less excess but the cost to the insurer 300-400£.

Like I said just some random (sort of) thoughts.


PS after a quick search on google it seems that there are various motorcycle deaths caused by pheasants...
 
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jim48

jim48
In this area there are reports of barn owl feathers as if birds have been plucked on hedges and some tree stumps, raptor style rather than the result of a mammal , a buzzard has been seen with a dead barn owl in its talons, but not yet seen in the act of catching a live one. Could this be competition for prey sources, or just a faster flyer catching a slower one?
 

string boozel

Well-known member
I've just been e-mailed a petition by Care2 Alerts dealing with this matter and rather encouragingly it had over 41,000 signatures. It seems that most people can see the utter folly of this decision and they are taking the time to let Natural England know. Killing a predator of both rabbits and corvids, those enemies of farmer and keeper just to save a few living targets, what idiocy!

James.
 

Farnboro John

Well-known member
In this area there are reports of barn owl feathers as if birds have been plucked on hedges and some tree stumps, raptor style rather than the result of a mammal , a buzzard has been seen with a dead barn owl in its talons, but not yet seen in the act of catching a live one. Could this be competition for prey sources, or just a faster flyer catching a slower one?

Or scavenging of corpses created by gamekeeper activity, whether traps or guns.....

Or just roadkill of course, Buzzards scan roads as much as kites do.

Chance of it being predation fairly low I should think.

John
 

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