Buzzards killed in Sussex shootings

The Argus: Buzzards killed in Sussex shootings Buzzards killed in Sussex shootings

A floruishing breed of bird of prey has become a “victim of their own success” after being targeted by gamekeepers, according to an animal charity.

The RSPB suspects that up to four buzzards have been shot in the past 12 months in the county according to their latest report published this month.

However animal charity investigators said the figures were just “the tip of the iceberg” with prosecutions notoriously difficult to achieve and requiring detailed intelligence and covert operations.

The attacks on birds of prey nationwide is also set to rob Sussex of the pleasure of hen harriers, which face extinction.

The RSPB Birdcrime report 2012 includes two buzzards that were found dead in East Sussex in March last year, which both appeared to have been shot.

In July, a post-mortem on a third buzzard found dead in Pulborough revealed the bird had been shot.

There was a further unconfirmed buzzard shooting in East Sussex in 2012 plus two other unconfirmed shootings of birds of prey in West Sussex.

The common buzzard, which is a protected species, was a rare sight in the county three decades ago, but over recent years their numbers have grown with up to 300.

Mark Thomas, a senior investigations officer with the charity, said successful prosecutions can take up to three years to achieve and were difficult because most occurred on private land when no one else was around.

He added: “Hen harriers winter in Sussex on the coast, especially around Pulborough Brooks, and there should be 300 breeding pairs in the country.

“We didn’t have any breeding pairs this year and they are going to be extinct in England.

“Bird of prey crimes are carried out by people who have shooting interests and who want to get rid of birds of prey who will attack grouse and moor hens.

“Buzzards are doing very well and are appearing in places they had not before and people are targeting to get rid of them.

“Birds of prey persecution is not going away. It has been around for a very long time and even in these enlightened times, it still lives on in areas.”

Comments (4)

Please log in to enable comment sorting

10:23am Fri 20 Dec 13

getThisCoalitionOut says...

Who are the game keepers employed by? These people are all the scum of society.
Who are the game keepers employed by? These people are all the scum of society. getThisCoalitionOut

2:46pm Fri 20 Dec 13

Crystal Ball says...

Give a little man a gun and he turns into a big man. A dangerous one at that.
Give a little man a gun and he turns into a big man. A dangerous one at that. Crystal Ball

7:05pm Fri 20 Dec 13

Saker-Clive says...

It'sa known fact, that Buzzards arenow Britains most widespread raptor overtaking the Kestrel. As a falconer, I know all too well the problems wild raptors suffer; 60% of a clutch will not see it into its first moult. Then, harsh winters takes its toll on them. Poisons, persicution and pure ignorance is also a big factor. Considering the overall size of the Buteos (Buzzards) they have remarkably small feet making them pretty useless as 'falconry bird' as they are generally lazybirds and don't like taking worthy prey such as rabbits, Partridge and Pheasant. They will take sick or injured gamebirds and mixxy rabbits but generally take rodents insects and road kill/carrion. I havewatched them many times taking mice and rats and only once ever witnessed one stooping on a **** pheasant............
........it may havebeen 'pricked' (already shot and injured).
It'sa known fact, that Buzzards arenow Britains most widespread raptor overtaking the Kestrel. As a falconer, I know all too well the problems wild raptors suffer; 60% of a clutch will not see it into its first moult. Then, harsh winters takes its toll on them. Poisons, persicution and pure ignorance is also a big factor. Considering the overall size of the Buteos (Buzzards) they have remarkably small feet making them pretty useless as 'falconry bird' as they are generally lazybirds and don't like taking worthy prey such as rabbits, Partridge and Pheasant. They will take sick or injured gamebirds and mixxy rabbits but generally take rodents insects and road kill/carrion. I havewatched them many times taking mice and rats and only once ever witnessed one stooping on a **** pheasant............ ........it may havebeen 'pricked' (already shot and injured). Saker-Clive

8:19am Sat 21 Dec 13

Juleyanne says...

Shooting is outrageously out of control. Our wildlife don't stand a chance against this, You can't go anywhere in the countryside without the vulgar sound of shooting, It frightens many dogs which is potentially dangerous causing some to bolt and risk of crossing busy roads. I have lost count of the times I have seen horses traumatized by gunshots, livestock stressed not to mention the terrible toll on our wildlife. Where is our right to peacefully enjoy the countryside? Many shoots are far too close to public footpaths and recreation areas. The public should contact police if they suspect these shoots are too close to public areas and rights of way.
Shooting is outrageously out of control. Our wildlife don't stand a chance against this, You can't go anywhere in the countryside without the vulgar sound of shooting, It frightens many dogs which is potentially dangerous causing some to bolt and risk of crossing busy roads. I have lost count of the times I have seen horses traumatized by gunshots, livestock stressed not to mention the terrible toll on our wildlife. Where is our right to peacefully enjoy the countryside? Many shoots are far too close to public footpaths and recreation areas. The public should contact police if they suspect these shoots are too close to public areas and rights of way. Juleyanne

Comments are closed on this article.

click2find

About cookies

We want you to enjoy your visit to our website. That's why we use cookies to enhance your experience. By staying on our website you agree to our use of cookies. Find out more about the cookies we use.

I agree