Whoops, should have wrote RSPB.
Whoops, should have wrote RSPB.
Last edited by JAYB; 20-05-2015 at 10:15. Reason: wrong title
I'm afraid that 'Sir Ian' is not doing himself or anyone involved in shooting any favours here. Three of the four male harriers on Bowland have vanished within a few weeks. It stinks. Sure, some birds may be predated, but adult males have a relatively high annual survival - about 75% I think and this not concentrated during the breeding season, but more common in winter. I believe that someone is killing them and the RSPB along with local raptor groups are trying to stop this. If the spokespeople for grouse shooting interests had any PR sense, they too would be throwing their full weight behind catching whoever is responsible (you never know - it could even be someone with a grudge against shooting trying to stir up rage: Tin foil hat now off). Botham suggests that keepers would do a better job of protecting the birds, presumably by shooting predators, but I'm not sure that nest robbers come under AOLQ.
Despite impressions of some to the contrary, the RSPB is not, at the moment, vehemently anti shooting. Indeed, it's frequently attacked by other conservationsists for being too reticent. We have to remember that it is a membership organisation with (as we're repeatedly told) over a million members. This makes them politically powerful. This kind of abuse and criticism will just drive them into a more entrenched position and harden their opposition to shooting. Idiotic.
Hold your friends close....
Here we go again.
Hen harriers are England's most threatened breeding bird of prey with only four successful nests in the whole country last year, two of which were on United Utilities Bowland Estate.
Bull**it - as previously posted Ban Driven Grouse Shooting ePetition
We're still doing ok in N Bedfordshire.
I'd be extremely pleased to be proved wrong. I wish it was an Eagle owl swooping down on them, or they'd all decided to have a long stag weekend in Prague, but I can't convince myself that these are the answers. Instead, my belief is based on probability, as is most science. Here's my working:
Adult HH typically have a 75% chance of surviving a year. Therefore, there is about a 1/4 chance they will die naturally each year (for any reason). Let's assume that this probability of death is evenly spread over the year, although in reality, its most likely they will die over winter when conditions are worst for both their prey and their predators will be most desperate, but I'm being conservative here in my calculations. Each month, a bird has 1/4 x 1/12 chance of dying. For two birds to die within a single month (if you're not going to specify the month), there is a 1/48 chance. For an additional third bird to die in that same month there is a 1/48 x 1/48 chance. That works out as a one in 2304 chance. In science, a probability of 1 in 20 is considered to be significant. The probability of 3 adult HH dying naturally within a month is more than 100 times less than that. Hence, I believe that their deaths were not natural and a likely cause of non-natural death is someone killing them. As I said before, I accept that the killers may not be keepers - they could be some perverse antis, but I stand by my belief that those 3 hen harriers have been killed.
I truly hope to be proved wrong. If you know of an alternative explanation, let me know.
I've never shot driven grouse, but have done a little walked up shooting and it was some of the most fantastic shooting that I've been fortunate to have. I don't want further restrictions on grouse or any other UK bird shooting. However, this kind of baiting of the RSPB and bunker mentality is only going to end in one way. It's rather like the SAS taking on the Chinese army. If you play the numbers game and conduct a full on frontal attack, you're doomed. Strategy, tactics and some intelligence is in order and choose the battles carefully on ground you know you can win. Suspicious deaths of charismatic raptors is not that battlefield.
Now, what do you believe, and what is your justification?
It's what makes predator control so important- removing the individuals who turn fleeting opportunities into a career.
You say that "there is about a 1/4 chance they will die naturally each year (for any reason)".
But there are a myriad of reasons which could be "natural".
When you say someone is killing them, what do you believe is the method, poison, shooting, pollution?
No bodies have been found of the male HHs, so no autopsies. The females have abandoned the nests due to starvation, but these have not been killed in the same manner.
So you think whomever has killed the males has been selective as between sexes?
It's easy to prove me wrong. If it's a predator - say a fox - then I expect that the bodies or feathers will be found fairly swiftly with bite marks on them. As I said, I hope you're right, but I fear not. Happy to eat humble pie.
Tamar, as has been intimated your calculations, whilst fine as far as they go, don't take the reasons for death into consideration. In any particular area a cause of death could well be such that it is likely to affect more than one bird. Predation is one cause that's been mentioned but that isn't the only one. Disease, overly inclement weather, a lack of food or other localised factors would affect all. Thus in circumstances such as these, the probability of three birds dying will be more akin to the mortality rate for one bird.