Not so elsewhere unfortunately.
If these falcons nest on or near a grouse shooting moor, almost all the predatory birds that venture onto the moor somehow mysteriously 'disappear'.
They are indeed 'Peregrines in Peril'!
Methods used to remove birds of prey include shooting, trapping, poisoning, robbing the eggs or killing the chicks in the nest.
|Peregrine with its leg trapped and broken by a |
spring trap set at its nest in the West Midlands.
Away from our uplands, pigeon fanciers also take the law into their own hands and quietly get rid of peregrines nesting in the vicinity. Low cliffs and old quarry faces where the falcons tend to nest can easily be scaled and traps set or the nest contents removed - especially under the cover of darkness.
They may also be poisoned.
Derbyshire successes and failures
In Derbyshire this year, initial results from the monitoring of rural peregrine nests has come up with these results:
Of a total of 19 nest sites surveyed:
- 5 succeeded to rear young but usually less than 4 per nest.
- 14 failed. These are essentially rural sites with no protection by either cameras or wardens.
Some of these sites failed twice - ie the birds laid again after losing their first clutch of eggs but the second clutch 'disappeared' too.
|Quarry (not in Derbyshire) where peregrines nest|
but with no protection......
Such a high 'failure' rate away from towns can only mean one thing - illegal persecution is widespread and commonplace.
Raptor persecution on Derbyshire's moorland.
On the grouse moors, detecting wildlife crime is extremely difficult. It either relies on some walker or bird watcher accidentally stumbling across a carcass or a trap.
In Derbyshire earlier this summer it was a pair of bird watchers who spotted something odd through their telescope on the grouse moor where they were walking. They managed to get a video of an armed man sitting in the heather waiting. Nearby was a model of a male hen harrier which has been placed as if it was perching on the heather, clearly aimed at luring any passing harrier close enough so it could be shot.
|Man with gun waiting near (grey) model of male hen harrier|
on a Derbyshire moor owned by the National Trust
The armed man was too far off to be recognisable and, despite making enquiries, the police did not have sufficient evidence to bring anyone to court. Maybe next time.
To its credit, the National Trust has since terminated the tenant's lease and has said it will advertise for a new tenant next year. There are hopes it will not take on another shooting tenant, but will decide instead to manage the moor for both wildlife and people, restoring what is a damaged, burnt habitat to something much better and richer in wildlife. Fingers crossed!
So, how can we privileged web cam watchers help end end wildlife crime on the moors?
Well, on the week end of 6/7th August, 'Hen Harrier Day' events are being held across the UK.
On Saturday 6th at Rainham Marshes RSPB reserve NE of London, Chris Packham and Mark Avery are the speakers.
Our own Derbyshire Hen Harrier Day event takes place at 11am on Sunday 7th in Edale, with hundreds of people expected to turn up in support. Speakers include representatives of the National Trust, Derbyshire Wildlife Trust, the new Police and Crime Commissioner and Natalie Bennett of the Green Party.
For details of all the events (and maybe there's one near you?) go here.
Do please consider turning up at one of them if you possibly can.
As 'veterans' of the first two Hen Harrier Days, we can assure you there's a great atmosphere and sense of common purpose. See this video made at Hen Harrier Day in 2014 in the pouring rain when an astonishing 570 people turned up in North Derbyshire!
|Male hen harrier - what a wonderful bird!|
The e-petition is here and for more information about the issues see a video by Chris Packham here and a blog here and another from DWT here explaining its 2015 position.
The Project Team
Moorland Vision website and petition: http://nomoorshooting.blogspot.co.uk/
Hen Harrier Day in the Peak