The RSPB Investigations team assists the statutory agencies to investigate crimes against wild birds in the UK.
Staff are based at the UK headquarters, Scottish headquarters and the Northern England Regional Office.
This blog will be used to keep you informed on key issues and court case results on a regular basis, but for legal reasons, we may only be able to report on certain aspects of our work.
If you witness a crime against a wild bird and wish to report this to the RSPB, please e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org or use the online form at: http://www.rspb.org.uk/reportacrime
Like many nature lovers born in the massively populated areas that surround the Peak District National Park my life has been inextricably linked to that special place and its wildlife.
My passion was really ignited on my first ever school trip, to a Peak outdoor pursuits centre, despite the really exciting itinerary it was the birds that did it, 5 days of specialist birding, dipper, merlin, stonechat, ring ouzel, dunlin all being new species.
Then at 15 my first ever goshawk, a moment permanently etched on my psyche. THE prize, the gold card in the football sticker album, how proud I was of my goshawk, a monster of a female, flapping low across a woodland ride, flashing its fluffy white under tail coverts as if replicating the plates in the field guide that I had studied.
At that time I was vaguely aware that not all people liked goshawks, I remember a headline page in the Sheffield Star newspaper with an image showing an x-ray of a goshawk – blasted to pieces whilst on its nest. I also knew that the birdwatching community was doing its bit, trying to protect these birds.
Twenty-five years later the goshawk is still persecuted and on the verge of extinction in the northern Dark Peak whilst starkly, the population in the southern White Peak is doing well. Now, the goshawk really needs you to do your bit. You may have visited the Derwent Valley in the Dark Peak and been lucky enough to see a goshawk, if you haven’t then your chances are fading away, so please comment. Five years ago we published a report highlighting the way things were going and then further invested in our investigations work, see the report here http://www.rspb.org.uk/Images/PeakMalpractice_tcm9-132666.pdf
So what’s going on? The National Trust (NT) have undertaken an ambitious piece of audit work, assessing the condition and value of their huge 'High Peak' estate, this work informing a new vision for the future. This co-incides with a number of the NT land tenancies coming up for review. Public consultation ends on November 30th.
Raptor persecution has hardly been out of the news in the Derwent Valley, a shot peregrine, a dead squirrel covered in glue found under a goshawk nest, a ravens nest pulled out, a poisoned buzzard found with only one leg, goshawk chicks taken, two vanishing male hen harriers, an active goshawk nest removed and its eggs smashed, it goes on and on ....
And then the prosecutions, firstly in 2003 a keeper on NT land on the west side of the Derwent Valley, convicted for destroying an active goshawk nest after extensive forensic work by RSPB and Derbyshire Police and most recently the infamous case of Glen Brown, a keeper on NT land on the east side of the Derwent Valley, filmed red-handed using a cage trap baited with a live white pigeon to catch birds of prey. See link
This case was perhaps THE most important conviction of its type with much more than the gamekeepers future at stake. This case was pivotal in winning further support for birds of prey and changing opinions.
Following on, The National Trusts’s vision clearly acknowledges persecution has to stop. The vision will also end burning as a grouse moor management tool on deep peat, good news for all in the fight against climate change.
So why is this important now, because this might be the ONLY opportunity in your lifetime to comment, we need goshawks to survive, we need change, NT need your views.
Please - it’s your turn, do your bit, now, support NT’s vision. http://www.high-peak-moors.co.uk