Monday, 16 November 2015

Another one bites the dust

NOTICE: We have been asked to relocate our IT equipment into a different part of Derby Cathedral's Tower. This necessitates our webcams going offline at times. We hope to undertake most of this work on Monday 23rd November.

This time it isn't one of our peregrines but a juvenile bird from St. Michael's Church in Exeter, fledged (and ringed) in 2013.
It was found dead in Halifax in the spring with five lead shotgun pellets inside its body. The whole story has just been made public.
Read about it here .
X-ray of the Exeter peregrine clearly showing round lead
shot in its neck, base of skull and leg

It is of course illegal to injury, harm or kill any bird of prey, with special penalties if you kill a bird on Schedule One - and the peregrine is on that Schedule because of its rarity.
Sadly, peregrines are persecuted both up on the hills and moors where they come into conflict with the grouse shooting industry and also in more urban/lowland situations where pigeon fanciers sometimes decide to take the law into their own hands.
Where this bird was shot at is unknown but it seems more likely that it may have been shot as it flew over the grouse moors to the south of Halifax rather than in Halifax itself. We'll never know.
In Belper, a town in central Derbyshire, where peregrines have nested for a few years, earlier this year the resident male was found dead, again with lead pellets in its body. So we can surmise that many other peregrines suffer a similar fate but their corpses are never found.
Thanks to Lorraine for alerting us to this recent case and to Nick Dixon in Devon for the full details and the x-ray photo. Nick has been a constant supporter and source of wise advice to us here in Derby right from the beginning of our project in 2005/6.

Petition to ban the use of lead shot
The use of lead in shotgun cartridges is a subject much in the news at the moment. There is a petition to call on government to ban it completely since it does so much harm in the environment. Please sign the petition here. To read about the background (why it needs to be banned) please see Mark Avery's excellent blog here  - though you will need either to scroll back several posts or use the link saying 'Lead' on the right hand side of his blog. There are also concerns about anyone eating game shot using lead, a Mark explains.

Thank you.

The project team

Ps One bit of good news today is that the estate in Norfolk (Stody Estate) on which corpses of several buzzards were found (and proved to have been poisoned by the estate's gamekeeper) has been heavily fined.
To read about this see Mark's latest post.


Phoebe said...

Terrible news!

Anonymous said...

The Derby page of the BBC news website is reporting "disappointing results" for a project aimed at boosting raptor numbers in the Peak District. Peregrine numbers have declined, see:

Vicky said...

I am looking forward to Feb/March and seeing the clips of the peregrines.