The pic above is by Sue Tranter/RSPB/PA Wire, and I'm using it to illustrate the press release I received recently from the RSPB... just shows that there are still plenty of scrotey scrotes out there prepared to pinch the eggs or young of birds of prey - you can't be too careful.
It bothers me, that as soon as some species of birds of prey start doing well, the first thing some folk try to do is relax the protection on them.
As the current trend seems to be to increase legal powers of observation, surveillance etc in society, I'd have thought the Govt would have been happier to tighten, rather than relax any laws.
While we're on changes in the law, and as for the Beeston Castle incident (as I'm ranting), we could alter the law, so that instead of a fine or slapped wrist if the thieves are caught, perhaps we could just throw them off the old ramparts instead.
A bit medieval, but when in Rome....
Anyway, here's the press release...
"Theft of chicks highlights need for legal protection
Three wild peregrine chicks stolen from a nest in Cheshire are thought to have been taken to supply the trade in illegal falconry birds.
The disappearance of the chicks has led the RSPB to renew its appeal to the Government not to weaken laws on the keeping of birds of prey.
Under proposed changes, peregrines kept in captivity would no longer need to be registered with government. The RSPB believes this will lead to more birds being taken from the wild by unscrupulous bird keepers.
In the Cheshire incident, the chicks were taken from a well-known nest site at Beeston Castle on May 20. Six men with ropes and rucksacks were seen on the cliffs above the nest at around the time the chicks vanished.
The chicks were well grown and there was no evidence of birds being trapped or killed, leading investigators to believe that they were taken for use in falconry.
Tim Melling from RSPB Northern England said: Ã¢ÂÂThe news that these chicks have been stolen is very upsetting and illustrates why we are so concerned that the law protecting these incredible birds be maintained.
Ã¢ÂÂThe bird registration scheme, in conjunction with DNA testing, allows stolen birds to be traced. These measures have a proven track record in reducing nest robberies and the laundering of wild birds into captivity to be sold for profit.Ã¢Â?
Defra is considering whether to prune the list of birds of prey covered by the scheme to just seven species. The proposed list would consist of: golden eagle, white-tailed eagle, goshawk, honey buzzard, marsh harrier, MontaguÃ¢ÂÂs harrier and osprey. The Government will announce its decision soon.
Tim Melling said: "Peregrines have made a remarkable comeback from an all time low in the 1960s as a result of DDT poisoning. The fact that you can see them in many of our towns and cities is clear proof of this.
Ã¢ÂÂHowever, peregrines do face a number of persecution threats including nest robberies. Public support for peregrines is playing an essential role in helping to protect these birds.Ã¢Â?
The RSPB, Manchester City Council and BBC have been working together to show people the peregrine at the RSPBÃ¢ÂÂs ArenÃ¢ÂÂt birds brilliant public viewing scheme in Exchange Square, Manchester. The adult peregrines, who arrived back in the city centre in April, have raised four chicks for the third year running. Their lives over the last few weeks have been avidly watched by thousands of visitors to the site which was open until 6 July."
Eyes to the skies everyone, eyes to the skies...