• BirdForum is the net's largest birding community dedicated to wild birds and birding, and is absolutely FREE!

    Register for an account to take part in lively discussions in the forum, post your pictures in the gallery and more.
ZEISS. Discover the fascinating world of birds, and win a birding trip to Columbia

Why is the RSPB SO against eagle-owls? (1 Viewer)

G

Gleb Berloff

Guest
It came as a huge shock that the RSPB wants the eagle-owls culled. And the reasons they provide are quite stupid in my view. so the eagle-owl dines on hen harriers. These species coexist outside the UK perfectly normally, and the situation in England is a little hard to believe because I have seen hen harriers with my own eyes and nothing about them suggests they are as big a threat to farmers as made out to be.
It is already strange the RSPB is doing nothing to reintroduce hen harriers to places where they were lost- but massacring birds who eat hen harriers? That isn't how the RSPB is supposed to operate. Furthermore whereas eagle-owls hunt at night and may simply by chance stumble upon a hen harrier nest, other predators like golden eagles and goshawks hunt by day and can easily attack and kill a harrier. The RSPB protects these birds- so why not the eagle owl, which has been proven several times to be a native species?
I sincerely hope that the eagle-owl is left to its own devices, even if it destroys some harrier nests. If you remember an angling society wanted beavers culled allegedly because of fictional damage they can do. It was only very recently they were allowed to stay. Furthermore lynx will easily kill harriers if they catch them- and there are almost back.
The RSPB only hates eagle owls. The Royal Society for the Protection of Birds hates owls. And not a single reason I have ever seen is enough for me to seriously consider the remote possibility they are so dangerous- harriers are not their only food source. Put them in a place with no harriers like Thetford forest and they will actually do a huge benefit there.
To be perfectly honest I feel the eagle-owl will bring much more benefits than the hen harrier. Hen harriers do what?
Eagle- owls can kill prey up to the size of a muntjac deer. That is one way of getting rid of the ridiculous surplus of deer which are destroying the Caledonian forests and everything else. Hen harriers are powerless here.
I would leave them alone, even if it meant the entire Bowland population of harriers would be decimated. I would choose to protect something which is not only beautiful but also brings real benefits. In fact, eagle-owls can easily take down foxes, actually reducing the risk to farmers.
I hope the Government uses its head and rejects the RSPBs pleas to save the harrier and kill the owl. Even if the owls wipe out the harriers, they can still survive on Mull and other places. And they can be reintroduced.
If such a massive and powerful bird like the white tailed eagle was brought back amidst desperate pleas from farmers to stop, hen harriers will be brought back even more easily.
My opinion of the RSPB has dropped hugely after finding out about this. So some pretty bird will be killed a bit. Big deal. But something native and hugely benefitial to Britain will take its place. And to be perfectly honest I think half of claimed killings by farmers of hen harriers can be related to an opportunistic goshawk attack, which often go on berserk rampages if anything approaches their nest.
I applaud the efforts of the conservation right-mind who wants to create a huge reserve with lynx, eagle-owls, bears and wolves.
 

Andy Adcock

Well-known member
England
Well,
where to start, where has it been 'proven' that Eagle Owls were once native, I thought it was still, absolutely, unproven?

Second, Eagle Owls are an indiscriminate killer of all birds in their territory and will kill without the need to feed, including other Owl species. I've seen a Buzzards nest where the entire family had been killed by an E.O and there was a video recently of one taking a Long-legged Buzzard, off it's nest.

Hedghogs, one of our most threatened, genuinely native animals, are also on the menu for Eagle Owls. Given that we have so much fauna which is already, seriously endangered, I don't think that an apex predator, with no proven, historical rights, should be allowed to breed on what is a very limited land mass.

In what way will the proliferation of Eagle Owls be 'hugely benefitial to Britain'?
 
G

Gleb Berloff

Guest
Like I said, extermination of deer and rabbits.
It has been determined by the fossil records that eagle-owls were present 7000-2000 years ago. Interestingly the last number is not so far from the lynx extinction date, which was terminated 1,300 years ago and is now almost reintroduced.
Like eagle owls kill other bird, like golden eagles kill eagle owls. It is a simply predatory nature. And do you not think reintroducing the lynx will threaten hedgehogs?
The eagle-owl has just as big a right to live because it is native:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eurasian_eagle-owl_in_Great_Britain
https://www.conservationjobs.co.uk/articles/eagle-owls-in-the-uk-native-or-not/
If people are concerned about hedgehogs these birds should be reintroduced further away. Thetford Forest for example. And established birds will be left alone. Predators mirror their prey- if indeed the big, bad owl kills almost all hedgehogs and hen harriers, it will start to die out because its food supply will shorten, so prey will recover and so on and so forth. A golden eagle is a far more dangerous animal and there is no controversy surrounding it.
I still see no reason to cull it- hedgehogs can and will survive especially if reintroductions occur. The best place for them is deer infested regions and the Highlands.
 

Andy Adcock

Well-known member
England

PYRTLE

Old Berkshire Boy
Gleb,

I admire your enthusiasm when you embark upon a concept and write in support of your particular interest or point of view. Sometimes this can cause a raised eyebrow or two as some of your previous correspondence has shown that your motives were questioned, but for this thread we will put that to one side.

So, let's look at some of your claims and statements please.....

"The RSPB only hates Eagle Owls. The RSPB hates owls".
How do you equate these two sentences please? My experience suggests otherwise, that this charity positively views the prescence of many species of owl in the UK, in particular the Barn Owl and actively encourages efforts for their protection and conservation, in many ways.

"Eagle owl will bring much more benefits than hen harriers. Hen harriers do what?"
Why does an avian species have to fulfil a human's expectation in any way whatsoever, you could apply this to any species of bird could you not. Hen harriers are quite simply a beautiful piece of the natural world's jigsaw. Their high profile of concern and protection is as a result of their obliteration on breeding moorland by unscrupulous gamekeepers, and hunters whilst on migration to and from.

" Put them in a place like Thetford Forest where there are no harriers and they will do a huge benefit there".
Mmmm, perhaps reducing some of the corvids but are we forgetting the fragile L.E. owl population, the Stone Curlews, the Brown Hare - all nocturnally active. You believe they would not have an impact on the resident bird species here, including the odd bird of prey?

Just my thoughts and contribution to a debate. Finally, it comes across to me that you use the word farmers whereas the phrase " shooting estates " may be more appropriate in your examples.
 
Last edited:

Deb Burhinus

Used to be well known! 😎
Europe
Gleb said:
If people are concerned about hedgehogs these birds should be reintroduced further away.Thetford Forest for example. And established birds will be left alone. Predators mirror their prey- if indeed the big, bad owl kills almost all hedgehogs and hen harriers, it will start to die out .

Do you actually know what you’re talking about?

The UK hedgehog rural population is down 50% since 2000 alone and still declining. The Brecks, particularly Thetford Forest, is one of the important areas hedgehogs are thriving due to sandy soils that epitomises the forest floor and the diversity of beetles (their preferred food) that result from this. Personally I’ve worked hard to support the local hedgehog population so your suggestion that Eagle Owls should be introduced there is based on ignorance of the sensitivity of the local eco system. Thetford forest also holds nationally significant populations of declining migrants such as Willow Warblers, Garden Warbler, Redstart and Tree Pipit, priority 1 species such as Turtle Dove, Marsh Tit and Yellowhammer. Rare birds of prey, Goshawk, Long-eared Owl and rare/declining species such as Lesser Spotted Woodpecker. It also supports nationally significant populations of bat species. I cant think of anything as less founded on common sense than to suggest introducing an apex bird species such as an Eagle Owl into such a nationally environmentally sensitive area because you think it would be a soft option when trying to change people to your point of view.

and yes, Lynx should be considered and thought through very carefully as should any attempts to reintroduce top predator species give the existing pressures already on bird and animal populations due to habitat loss, human disturbance and CC. The choice of release areas are critical to the failure or success of any reintroductions and to the extent of any secondary impact on the existing micro and macro ecosystem.

I too don’t believe there is a need to cull existing cat C EO but there’s no need to ‘reintroduce’ them either.
 
Last edited:

Sangahyando

Well-known member
Furthermore whereas eagle-owls hunt at night and may simply by chance stumble upon a hen harrier nest, other predators like golden eagles and goshawks hunt by day and can easily attack and kill a harrier.
Like Deb intimated, Eagle Owls have a thing for intraguild predation and will happily massacre other raptors up to and including Goshawks (the latter of which are of a similar disposition btw). While Golden Eagles also occasionally prey on other raptors, AFAIK they're not quite as notorious. Also, during the night harriers are practically defenceless, which increases their vulnerability, as even the healthy adults may not have time to escape.


I sincerely hope that the eagle-owl is left to its own devices, even if it destroys some harrier nests. If you remember an angling society wanted beavers culled allegedly because of fictional damage they can do. It was only very recently they were allowed to stay. Furthermore lynx will easily kill harriers if they catch them- and there are almost back.
The scenario of lynx killing harriers is a very hypothetical one, personally I've never heard about that happening. By contrast, EO have a well-earned reputation. If anything, lynx might have a slightly net positive effect on ground-nesting birds and hedgehogs because they eat foxes and martens.
As for your mentioning EO eating small deer, that's probably also an uncommon occurence (lynx, however, would be a big help there).


I applaud the efforts of the conservation right-mind who wants to create a huge reserve with lynx, eagle-owls, bears and wolves.
Not realistic in Britain, I'm afraid. Wolves and bears in Britain are a pipe dream.


Finally, it comes across to me that you use the word farmers whereas the phrase " shooting estates " may be more appropriate in your examples.
Perhaps he meant "lead farmers"... :-O
 
Last edited:

Mono

Hi!
Staff member
Supporter
Europe
The British countryside is not some grand zoo, where people can introduce animals they like the look of. There are rules and regulations governing the introduction of animals, if you want to release Eagle Owls, get some landowners on your side and fill in the forms.

The current crop of Eagle Owls in the UK are escapes/deliberate releases from falconry stocks. Their provenance is unknown, they may not even be European birds, they were released without any assessments or checks made.

If Eagle Owls were ever a UK species they were driven out by post glacial changes in land use and climate, not by direct human persecution. (Re)introduction of such animals without changing the land use is folly.
 
G

Gleb Berloff

Guest
Eagle owls were a UK species, which were seen last less than 200 years ago and there is a documented instance of breeding not that long ago, about 2,000 years- read it in the document I attached previously. If you remember lynx disappeared 1,300 years ago, which is not that far away.
Britain is no zoo and flooding it with non-natives is bad. An example is the cane toad in Australia. But reintroducing genuinely lost species is another thing. The eagle owl is inarguably one of them- that document attached previously spend a long time proving this. Other are bears, wolves, wolverines, lynxes. If you remember the same hysteria surrounded white-tailed eagles, which are much stronger than eagle owls.
About Thetford forest- so there are hedgehogs. There is also a mega-surplus of deer. If you remember lynx was to be reintroduced there, and the only reason it stopped was farmer hysteria and some quality-impaired naturalists whereas more than 3/4 of the public voted for it.
It is not folly, it is valid behaviour. Again, that example with the lynx.
Bear and wolf are going to be of huge benefit- and i am sure they will be reintroduced- even in that fenced-off reserve planned. Indeed, moose is already back, despite hysteria of traffic accidents.
Eagle owls deserve as much a toehold here as hen harriers, perhaps even more because they are more benefitial and one way of preventing the deer in Scotland from causing the Caledonian forests to be wiped out. I am sure even the most diehard hen harrier worshipper will agree it is better to lose a few harriers and halve the hedgehog population rather than face a truly massive catastrophe which will see species like capercaillie die out- and they are fast heading that way because of the deer. Eagle owls can keep them in check. So can wolves and bears. To be blunt I would rather the hedgehog disappers from Thetford forest rather than see the Caledonian forests destroyed completely.
Those are some strong-worded posts above, but unfortunately with the Brecks business are quite vapid. Eagle owls are not going to go just after hedgehogs. In fact, deer and fox would be much better for them. In fact, lynx can and should be brought back because it is a genuine resident. So is eagle owl. The difference in their extinction date is 700 years, maybe much less. Why is lynx brought back and eagle owl on the verge of culling? Preventing recovery of a native species just because of hedgehogs is also rather strange- hedgehogs can and will recover, their numbers boosted by reintroductions if necessary.
That owl document I attached previously explains it much better than me, anyway, and I fully agree with that.

"Sometimes this can cause a raised eyebrow or two as some of your previous correspondence has shown that your motives were questioned, but for this thread we will put that to one side."

@PYRTLE, you mean just asking about long-eared owl roosts with one person blowing it into a huge scandal and making me look like an egg-collector? And what are you even talking about? I have just the same right to speak as you- including to ask about where to see birds- and if you can't understand that I can and will ask about species I ask you to refrain from replying to my threads, if you cannot help but attempt to spread rumours about me in one of the most disgusting way possible
F.Y.I I know of a good long-eared owl location, possibly the nest. If you want I can PM it to you so you can put a security camera up there and make sure big, bad Gleb does not loot the nest or disturb the birds. After all, he asks about them, there fore he must be an egger or a person with ill intentions. Other posters must be in awe of your deductive reasoning, to be honest.

To sum up, I might not know as much as some people do, but that document was written by people knowing way more than you, probably. And maybe my ideas are a little far-fetched, and so?
Do people also have problems with:
Beavers, maybe they'll chew up some rare plant
White storks, after all they could decimate the poor frog population
White-tailed eagles, because they might catch and kill a threatened species
I ask you?
 

dantheman

Bah humbug
The argument that Eagle Owls will effectively control deer and fox numbers whilst having minimal effect on softer (smaller and easier) prey (vulnerable species mentioned by a couple of posters upthread) is reasonably ridiculous? ;)

Even in a wild area like the Brecks the ecosystem is under other pressures (man-induced I guess for the most part) - some collateral damage is definitely not warranted nor sustainable.
 

PYRTLE

Old Berkshire Boy
Crikey Gleb Berloff, I have touched a raw nerve. Thank you for your offer but I will pass on your PM of details on the whereabouts of a site for LEO, whether roosting or breeding.
From my perspective I was challenging some of your thoughts and views on the thread you had created ( primarily as I disagree with many aspects of what you try to portray ) and hopefully entered into a public debate; occassionally these discussions are enlightening and informative in terms of knowledge.

I read the report and other publications you linked to. They are quite dated, the content questionable and some comments suggesting the information is unscientific and incorrectly presented by the author and member of the World Owl Trust.

Perhaps you might ponder on why the various wild bird recording committees still do not accept any records of European Eagle Owl having recently occurred as genuine wild birds in the UK, whereas we regularly encounter many eared owls crossing the North Sea in Autumn whilst Tengmalms, Snowy and Scops have all been encountered within the last couple of years.

I dont think any other BF members are in awe of me, in any way (I found that suggestion quite amusing to be frank).
 

Deb Burhinus

Used to be well known! 😎
Europe
I dont think any other BF members are in awe of me, in any way (I found that suggestion quite amusing to be frank).

oh I don’t know Pat - probably better to be thought of as being awesome than to be accused of being ‘vapid’ I suppose :-O. (is it possible the ‘raptor lover’ doth protest too much?)
 

Andy Adcock

Well-known member
England
oh I don’t know Pat - probably better to be thought of as being awesome than to be accused of being ‘vapid’ I suppose :-O. (is it possible the ‘raptor lover’ doth protest too much?)

You could be the site racist if you want Pat although it seems the qualifying criteria are unimpressively low.
 

THE_FERN

Well-known member
I'd welcome links to more recent material about the status of eagle owls if we think what's been posted is out dated. I think it's quite probable that the owls were natives until recently and would be interested in what evidence there is to the contrary. I think I read somewhere that populations are increasing on the near-continent so presumably colonisation is a possibility regardless of its previous status.

(I personally don't assume that rarity [or taxonomic] committees get it right: I prefer to read their comments and evaluate for myself)
 

jurek

Well-known member
It came as a huge shock that the RSPB wants the eagle-owls culled.

It is because older British grew up on Beatrix Potter stories where wildlife is generally cute and cuddly. Otherwise it is hard to understand sympathy to obviously harmful Canada Geese and Ruddy Ducks versus indifference to fear and hatred to Eagle Owls.

Younger people have a different attitude - generally are fascinated by predators.

Otherwise, it is hard to justify the oddly selective idea of naturalness. Habitats are modified using bulldozers and chainsaws, but transporting wildlife from one place to another is generally disliked. Possibly because RSCB largely started with protection of water birds. Waterbirds are unusual because they are nomads, adapted to find out newly appearing habitats. Sedentary land birds and non-fling animals are not like that, and here the policies fail miserably.
 

Xenospiza

Distracted
Supporter
There has been extensive research on what they eat in the Dutch/German border region where I live: an article in Dutch with a short summary in English can be found here: https://oehoewerkgroep.nl/_files/200004062-ae893af828/LIM833-1_dieet.pdf
The main interest will be the bilingual table on page 101.
Pheasant is high on the list (and Partridge, which is almost impossible to find, amazingly so) - and so will be Red and Black Grouse on the moors. I think the RSPB are making a politically wise decision here.
 
ZEISS. Discover the fascinating world of birds, and win a birding trip to Columbia
ZEISS. Discover the fascinating world of birds, and win a birding trip to Columbia
ZEISS. Discover the fascinating world of birds, and win a birding trip to Columbia
Warning! This thread is more than 2 years ago old.
It's likely that no further discussion is required, in which case we recommend starting a new thread. If however you feel your response is required you can still do so.

Users who are viewing this thread

Top