Illegal persecution of birds of prey remains a continuing problem in the UK, with only a small proportion of cases brought to court, according to the RSPB's Senior Investigations Officer, Guy Shorrock. Speaking at the annual Herts Bird Club / British Trust for Ornithology (BTO) conference on March 10, he warned that the use of baited carcasses and cruel traps to kill Buzzards and Red Kites – as well as rare Hen Harriers and Golden Eagles further north in the UK – remained all too common.
While RSPB investigators, working with local police, had brought well publicised prosecutions against gamekeepers, the resulting fines and other penalties were not enough to deter unscrupulous landlords and managers from putting keepers under pressure to break the law.
Around 105 people attended the conference at the officers of Affinity Water in Hatfield. Other presentations included a talks by Tony Blake on the Birds of Hilfield Park Reservoir and Neil Calbrade from the BTO on the Wetland Bird Survey (WeBS) which monitors non-breeding waterbirds in the UK. Graham Knight summarised bird highlights of 2017, when 198 species were recorded in Hertfordshire. Click here to read a full conference report by Bird Club Secretary Graham Beach.
Our thanks for another successful conference go to HNHS events organiser Tim Hill, and to Alistair Leggett and Affinity Water for, again, hosting the Conference.