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six eaglets released on the Isle of Wight (1 Viewer)

Farnboro John

Well-known member
Hi Jos,

Thank you for the debating points.

I don't think there is a real contradiction between saying eagles are prevented from leaving Scotland southwards and that starting new projects elsewhere should not happen. I think the elimination of the problem is the next essential conservation action, not least because we know from the Hen Harrier that raptor persecution is already worse in England than in Scotland - though presumed to be regional, this means that heavily predatory raptors in England are at serious threat. One can argue that the rise of the Red Kite and the state of the Buzzard population deny this, but kites are understood by all to be essentially scavengers and Buzzards are under legal as well as illegal threat currently with licenses for their destruction being issued: one can safely assume this means someone is prepared to destroy them without moral scruple, so what price bigger raptors capable of taking bigger prey?

When I mentioned Goshawks it was specifically to emphasise that although they are common in the New Forest and have been so for years, this has not translated to a healthy population across Hampshire. If I go to the New Forest to look for Goshawk in suitable weather it will take me no more than an hour to see one. Where I live and spend most of my birding time - a lot of which is looking at the sky for raptors - I have not seen one for years: I am aware of just one pair within a ten mile radius of my home. This can only be because they are being specifically prevented from expanding across the county, which argues not only knowledge but the skills to identify and target them among the game-farming community and that they are actually doing so. Its a point I was also making in relation to Peregrines. They ought not to be confined to urban areas but as breeders they mostly seem to be.

My main issue with the current project is the likely welfare of the birds, including their ability to find nesting territories: and I don't believe there are enough safe areas in the South of England at present based on what is happening to other raptors. My other issue, like several other people, is that given the overall state of British raptors, every spare penny of raptor conservation funds is needed for Hen Harriers, not White-tailed Eagles.

Our Southern England harrier roosts are now tiny compared to what they were when I took up birding. Some have disappeared altogether. This must be because the source of Southern Britain winter birds was not principally the Continent but actually the native population that has been near-extinguished. This is the main crisis and this is the Southern Britain raptor spectacle that needs aid: but the aid is needed in the breeding areas, not in the South. A potential Northern powerhouse is being underfunded for a Southern vanity project. Sound familiar?

John
 

DMW

Well-known member
Personally I am strongly in favour of this reintroduction and I hope it will be successful. There is the potential for birds to spread from here along the English coast, and potentially also cross the channel to the coasts of Normandy and Brittany, or the Channel Islands. It will add to the birding experience on the south coast, and will allow the human population of southern England to become reacquainted with wild predators after several centuries of ecologically-impoverished countryside.

There is no historical evidence that White-tailed Eagle has ever occurred in the Channel Islands, so expansion from a UK introduction would basically be an anthropogenic range extension of what for us is a non-native species.
 

dantheman

Bah humbug
There is no historical evidence that White-tailed Eagle has ever occurred in the Channel Islands, so expansion from a UK introduction would basically be an anthropogenic range extension of what for us is a non-native species.

There would be unlikely to be any? Doesn't mean they may not have occurred in the past (millenia past) if the Channel Islands would fit into range and habitat type within Western Europe.

My main issue with the current project is the likely welfare of the birds, including their ability to find nesting territories: and I don't believe there are enough safe areas in the South of England at present based on what is happening to other raptors. My other issue, like several other people, is that given the overall state of British raptors, every spare penny of raptor conservation funds is needed for Hen Harriers, not White-tailed Eagles.

Is there any evidence that funds are being taken away from other projects? I'm sure this point came up in previous discussions of so-called 'vanity projects'. Different pots, different objectives, different possibilities.
 

Farnboro John

Well-known member
Is there any evidence that funds are being taken away from other projects? I'm sure this point came up in previous discussions of so-called 'vanity projects'. Different pots, different objectives, different possibilities.

Its obvious. Funds are finite, so any funds expended on incorrect priorities are funds denied to correct priorities. Not difficult really.

John
 

dantheman

Bah humbug
Its obvious. Funds are finite, so any funds expended on incorrect priorities are funds denied to correct priorities. Not difficult really.

Not quite that obvious ;)

The Hen Harrier situation is more complicated than just putting some money into it. Funds in themselves won't solve it. The benefits to raptors in general (all species) from engaging the public in iconic species should be obvious to see ...

If it were the case that the parties involved are disassociating themselves from Harriers and finding a fun project to play with then I'd be inclined to agree - but is that the case in reality???

That may be the crux of the matter ...
 
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johnallcock

Well-known member
I agree with the point that Dan is making, that there is no reason to believe that funds spent on this would be spent on harrier conservation. Especially if this were a 'vanity project' - which suggests that some funds might instead be spent on some luxury item (car, boat, etc).

I also don't see why this is a decision between these two species. Why should we spend money to conserve harriers in England, but not to conserve eagles? Wouldn't the money be best spent on the project that had the greater chance of success? Given the political complications of resolving the harrier issue and persecution of raptors, and the required change in human behaviour for that to succeed, it is not just a case of throwing money at the problem.


One of the differences between the UK and other countries in terms of conservation is the lack of understanding that wildlife and people can live in proximity. There is an attitude that large animals are to be feared (leading to the argument of WTE hunting sheep) and that it lives in far-away places. This also means that there is an assumption that any area without people must be good for wildlife - hence the difficulty of convincing people that driven grouse shooting or large-scale agricultural monoculture is not the natural landscape of the country.

One of the potential benefits that I see from the WTE project is that it could start to change attitudes about this. If holidaymakers were to see eagles hunting over the Solent or soaring over the centre of Portsmouth, they may understand how biologically impoverished England (especially the south) has been for centuries and this may help to improve attitudes and funding for conservation projects. It may also give them more of a sense of ownership and responsibility for these birds. Knowing that 'their' WTE rely on a healthy marine system may encourage people to think more about the marine environment and the impacts of pollution/overfishing. Seeing 'their' WTE threatened by persecution elsewhere may make locals more active in protecting raptors... which in turn could mean they might indirectly help to protect harriers.
 

rollingthunder

Well-known member
I will start by saying that i do not believe birds should have to justify their existence or any funds expended on their reintroduction. High profile large birds, particularly birds of prey, are eye-catching pulse-racers and a win-win for the general public. The IOW will cash in on ‘staycations’ much like Mull has. This has resulted in a tourist industry that has been generated by these birds and the knock-on effect to the island economy has been noted and acknowledged...

Laurie:t:
 

Farnboro John

Well-known member
One at least wandering widely already I notice.

Incidentally, I wonder to what extent people will holiday on the IOW rather than Mull due to the accessibility of WTE? Probably very little (Mull has other attractions of the same nature as the eagles, and different ones, not least the absence of South Coast holiday crowds) but it would be a shame if Mull's nature-related tourist income were to suffer in order to draw even larger crowds to an island and nearby areas already stuffed out with the British public every summer.

John
 

Sandra (Taylor)

Registered User
Supporter
One at least wandering widely already I notice.

Incidentally, I wonder to what extent people will holiday on the IOW rather than Mull due to the accessibility of WTE? Probably very little (Mull has other attractions of the same nature as the eagles, and different ones, not least the absence of South Coast holiday crowds) but it would be a shame if Mull's nature-related tourist income were to suffer in order to draw even larger crowds to an island and nearby areas already stuffed out with the British public every summer.

John

WTEs notwithstanding, John - IMO there's no contest between IoW and Mull!!
 

Dave_4

New member
Hope they have better luck than the juvenile we had up here near Louth Lincolnshire. It was a suspected poisoning by a local farmer, not proved. Beautiful bird, looks enormous when close but blends in well with trees when perched. We used to call it cilla, from it's Latin name Haliaeetus albicilla, birders came from all over the UK to see it.

suspected poisoning by a local farmer, not proved” 🤦🏻🤦🏻👍🏻
 

rollingthunder

Well-known member
They are not self poisoning afaik and as they are part-scavenger they will readily feed on dead carcasses that can be laced or baited so almost certainly deliberatly targeted and either farming or shooting interests would be the suspects the smart money would be on the former (not a typo).....

Laurie:t:
 

gerald762

Well-known member
England
Kindly do not assume that farmers are to blame. When I was farming all the farmers that I knew would not have done anything such as you are suggesting. I know that there might be a rotten apple in the barrel but it is very rare. Less finger pointing please.
 

rollingthunder

Well-known member
Your time might be better spent dealing with poisoning and illegal killing in Spain - of course it is ‘rogue’ farmers and they are not the norm but when things are poisoned it usually is because it is their land and they have access to the poisons which are usually illegal in themselves.

Around here the Common Agricultural Policy has done the job for them - there is little or nothing to poison as it is a pretty birdless landscape as they have hung off the EU’s ample teat for 40+ years...

Value your birds whilst you have them because EU subsidies have a price that we all pay in a devalued landscape:C

Laurie:t:
 

Kits

Picture Picker

One of six white-tailed eagles released on the Isle of Wight two months ago has died and another is missing.

The young birds of prey, also known as sea eagles, are part of a five-year reintroduction programme on the island.
Forestry England said "very sadly" the remains of one of the male eagles had been found, with tests now under way to discover the cause of its death.

Attempts are continuing to find another eagle whose tracker data showed he flew to Essex and back before disappearing.

The tracker worn by the second eagle, known as "Culver", stopped working shortly after its return from the mainland.



Link
 

PYRTLE

Old Berkshire Boy
A huge setback for the programme, wonder how the other four are fairing. I'm guessing their daily location is kept confidential in case of some idiot looking to harm them. How would this compare to the first year back in the Scottish Isles I wonder.
 

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