Unfortunately, today not just good bird news from Britain.
This video is about hen harriers in Scotland.
From Wildlife Extra:
Just 1 pair of Hen harriers nesting in England
The future of England’s most threatened birds of prey hangs in the balance
May 2012. The future for England’s most threatened bird of prey – the hen harrier – is looking perilous, as the species teeters on the brink of extinction as a breeding bird.
No nests in Bowland
Early reports indicate that only one pair is showing signs of nesting in England. If this situation continues it will be the worst year for hen harriers since they recolonised England, following extinction in the late Nineteenth Century. Worryingly, there are currently no birds attempting to nest in the Bowland Fells, Lancashire – the bird’s only stronghold in England in recent decades.
See also here.
Also from Wildlife Extra:
Ducks are disappearing from UK seas
WWT calls for international action
May 2012. Numbers of seven species of sea duck have dropped by up to 65% in Northern Europe in the last 15 years, including some that winter off the UK’s coasts, particularly long-tailed duck and velvet scoter.
The mysterious nature of sea ducks and the challenges in monitoring their numbers have meant that the situation had gone largely unnoticed.
Moray Firth – Huge decline
The UK coast is one key area for sea ducks during winter. Counts at the Scottish estuary the Moray Firth show that in less than a decade velvet scoters have gone from several thousand to less than 100 and long-tailed ducks have plummeted ten-fold, to fewer than 1,000.
Similar declines were reported from the Baltic Sea at the end of 2011, strongly suggesting that these birds aren’t just going elsewhere, they’re disappearing. Whilst smaller species like Steller’s eider have attracted concern since 2000, some of the more shocking recent declines have been among common and widespread populations like the common eider, which has halved since 1993, and the long-tailed duck, which has declined by over 65%.
The causes remain unknown, however, though the widespread nature of the declines has prompted concern that it is linked to environmental change across much of the arctic and sub-arctic regions where most of these species breed.
Again, from Wildlife Extra:
Australian officials investigating shooting of Wedge-tailed Eagles
DSE investigates alleged Wedge-tailed Eagle deaths
May 2012. Wildlife officers from the Victorian Department of Sustainability and Environment (DSE) are investigating reports that a number of Wedge-tailed Eagles (Aquila audax) have been shot and killed recently in the Yea area. Senior DSE Wildlife Officer, Gary Dash, said DSE has received a number of calls from concerned local residents who have heard about the alleged shootings.
“It concerns us greatly that it appears that a number of Eagles have been shot and killed illegally in recent weeks,” Mr Dash said. “DSE is taking this matter extremely seriously and is seeking the assistance of the local community to provide us with additional details.”
Australia’s largest bird of prey
Wedge-tailed Eagles are Australia’s largest bird of prey and are protected under the Wildlife Act 1975. They can grow to 100cm in height and have a wing-span of 2.5m. Eagles eat predominately live prey, including rabbits and hares. Other food sources include lizards, birds and mammals.
Mr Dash said Eagles at times, depending on other food sources, may prey on young lambs, however this was not a legitimate excuse for shooting or trapping them.
Residents who have information about the alleged shootings are urged to contact the DSE Customer Service Centre on 136 186. They can choose to remain anonymous if they wish.
It’s not the first time DSE has investigated allegations of destroying protected wildlife in the north east region. In 2005 a Euroa man was fined more than $3000 and costs for illegally trapping and starving to death two Wedge-tailed Eagles at a Strathbogie property. The man claimed he trapped the birds so that they didn’t attack his new-born lambs.
And last year, DSE investigated the death of a Wedge-tailed Eagle on private property near Violet Town after it was found with a serrated jawed rabbit trap around its leg. Under the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Regulations serrated jawed traps, which were once used to hunt rabbits, are now prohibited.
The legal smooth, padded jawed traps can only be used on rural private land and are not to be used on Crown Land. Large fines and imprisonment can apply to people who illegally kill or injure protected wildlife.