The Buzzard is a fully protected bird of prey, and whilst it is now on the Green List and regarded as the most common and widespread of all our raptors, it is still recovering from sustained historical persecution, which saw the bird lose much of its UK population and range. Yet Natural England as the UK Government's nature conservation agency, is again considering a licence application to trap and shoot Buzzards to protect young Pheasants.
A new application has been made to cage-trap and shoot Buzzards across four sites to prevent 'serious damage' to Pheasant poults. The same applicant is known to have sought licences to control Buzzards in previous years even though they have - and there is - no convincing evidence to justify issuing licences for the control of Buzzards in the name of protection for game-birds.
But surely there are a variety of ways to prevent young Pheasants being killed by anything. Can't these people create cover for the gamebirds, or install other safe deterrents to keep predators away. Defra should be called upon to give clear guidance to Natural England to reject all licences to control Buzzards by a means that can only be described as wildlife crime....Are Natural England really considering granting a license for that.
The RSPB are well aware of this application and the sites involved, perhaps they should publish this to give birders like you and me a clear understanding of where these people are actively operating within the shooting business so that we can at least be alert to the dangers of illegal activities including killing wild and protected birds.