Media coverage

 Media coverage will be stored here, the most recent being placed first

 

Press release On Red Kite Wings
 
Orkwings press release
Orkwings_Press release

 

 

 

Orkwings_Press release_d 24 June14

 

 

Red Kites flourishing in Yorkshire

Red Kites are back in skies over Yorkshire after a successful programme of protecting the once endangered birds. But 15 years since the reintroduction, conservationists are still worried about bird of prey persecution.

http://www.itv.com/news/calendar/story/2014-04-03/red-kites-flourishing-in-north-yorkshire/

 

Red Kites should be enjoyed not targeted say RSPBRed Kites are flourishing once again in Yorkshire but the North of the county still has one of the worst records nationally for reports of crimes against birds of prey.Tim Melling spoke to Duncan and Christine about how the birds have recovered since being reintroduced to the area 15 years ago: 7:38 pm, Thu 10 Apr 2014

Skies not yet clear for Red Kites

There are calls for tougher penalties for wildlife criminals after figures showed 30 red kites have been shot or poisoned in Yorkshire since the birds were re-introduced in the region 15 years ago.

Red kites were all but wiped from Britain's skies in Victorian times when the rapidly expanding population saw the birds, which are scavengers, as a threat to food supplies.

Now more than 100 years later, conservationists in our region are at the forefront of the campaign to ensure the birds of prey have a brighter future. Emma Wilkinson reports.

Back from the brink of extinction, Red Kites are flourishing since they were re-introduced on the Harewood Estate.  Doug Simpson led that project and was awarded an MBE in recognition of his work.

 

Doug Simpson MBE Yorkshire

He advised and  agreed to transfer their kite buildings to our Project in 2004, and we maintain contact.

He is concerned about the status of Red Kites, saying:

I was aware that there was a persecution problem.............since their reintroduction thirty red kites have been found dead, and those are the ones which have been found.

View the video to hear more about this.

http://www.itv.com/news/calendar/story/2014-04-03/red-kites-flourishing-in-north-yorkshire/


 Sent to us by Linda Johnstone   Muir and Ord

 Highland Council united in

condemnation of Black Isle red kite killings

   Written by Laurence Ford

Highland councillors unite to condemn the recent killings. From left Carolyn Wilson, Isobel McCallum, Carolyn Caddick, David Alston, Drew Hendry and Deirdre Mackay.
Highland councillors unite to condemn the recent killings. From left Carolyn Wilson, Isobel McCallum, Carolyn Caddick, David Alston, Drew Hendry and Deirdre Mackay.

BIRD champions RSPB Scotland has welcomed the condemnation of the recent killings of birds of prey by Highland Council.

A motion condemning the slaughter of almost two dozen raptors was unimoiusly agreed by the full council in Inverness yesterday.

The council also pledged to work with police and other agencies to fight wildlife crime.

The motion, presented by senior representatives of the SNP, Liberal Democrat, Labour and Independent groups, read: "The Highland Council condemns the recent illegal killing of red kites and buzzards on the Black Isle both as wrong in itself and as an act with potential to reduce the economic benefits that wildlife tourism brings to the Highlands.

"The council urges anyone with relevant information to contact Police Scotland; welcomes the actions of Scottish Land & Estates and of NFU Scotland in supporting attempts to identify the culprit(s); and commits itself to continuing to work with community planning partners, through the Highland Environment Forum, to reinvigorate the fight against all wildlife crime in the Highlands."

Council leader Drew Hendry said: "This is an extremely serious matter. It has been a blow to the reputation of the Highlands, a blow to our economy and a blow to our daily lives."

RSPB spokesman Alan Tissiman said: "The deaths of so many birds - at the last count 16 red kites and six buzzards - has triggered an enormous response from the people of the Highlands.

"It is very encouraging that their elected representatives on the council are also speaking up on behalf of our wildlife."

http://www.highland-news.co.uk/Home/   
 

 


 

With so many red kites being poisoned, seeing them now fills me with sadness

Black Isle, Highlands: For me, they typify birds of prey as they float along, with their forked tails twisting
              The Guardian,

 

Country Diary : Red Kite soaring in the sun
The ever-twisting forked tail is the red kite's hallmark. Photograph: Mark Medcalf/Alamy

Almost every time I drive through this area, just north of Inverness, I see red kites, although sometimes only one. So last weekend was a surprise, with six different birds seen. No matter how often I see them they are, for me, very moving, as if they typify birds of prey. They just seem to float along, with the ever-twisting forked tails their hallmark.However, last weekend was different, as seeing each bird filled me with sadness, gloom and frustration. I have lived in this part of the Highlands for more than 30 years, so the recent poisoning of at least 16 red kites and six buzzards in one small area seems very personal.

Normally, one effect of seeing a red kite is to remind me of my favourite poet, John Clare (1793 - 1864) whose words seemed to embody the image of these birds: "Ah, could I see a spinney nigh, / A puddock riding in the sky / Above the oaks with easy sail / On stilly wings and forked tail." Clare knew these birds as red kites, puddocks or gleeds.Clare's lines did come back to me as I saw the various red kites last weekend but seemed to have lost their depth of meaning after the senseless poisoning.   

I used to live very close to where the first red kite release cages were, and even shared the same view of the strath that the young birds would have had. I was even privileged to be present when one of the releases of the juveniles took place and they flew for the very first time.One red kite epitomised the poisoning, as it had been a male chick in a nest on the Black Isle; its wing tag, for identification, was D9. It was ringed and wing-tagged with two of its siblings on 19 June 2013 and it was found poisoned on 24 March 2014. The huge reward of £32,000 that has been offered has come from the RSPB, local landowners, an anonymous donor and the public.


 

BLACK  ISLE  RAPTOR  MASSACRE  PROTEST  RALLY  IN  INVERNESS.

Two of our members, Tim Watson and June Atkinson, travelled to Inverness to show solidarity with those in the Black Isle Raptor Protest Rally.  Here is Tim's report:

  A short 'march' through Inverness and a well attended gathering of the public recorded widespread anger at the worst single incident of bird of prey persecution in modern times. 

 Raptor Rally

After 15 Red Kites and 4 Buzzards were found dead, mostly poisoned, in a small area of Easter Ross (Black Isle) in late March, members of the public, farms, estates and the conservation community came together on April 12th 2014 in the centre of town to call for an end to repeated wildlife crime. 

 Raptor Rally

  19 'ghost' raptors (white painted cut outs) were carried though the town from different directions before gathering in the town centre.

 Raptor Rally

 Raptor Rally

Speakers included Sir John Lister-Kaye, vice president of the RSPB and Allan Bantick, chair of the Scottish Wildlife Trust.
 Raptor Rally 

Because of the deaths of Red Kites, all from the Black Isle reintroduction scheme which started in 1989, two volunteers from Friends of Red Kites made the long journey north to show solidarity with the conservation community.  Sadly, Gateshead's own Red Kites, reintroduced between 2004-6, have not been immune from poisoning incidents and this is thought to be compromising the spread of the birds here in our region.    One of our kites flew north and was photographed along with the Scottish kites before heading south again.  A Black Isle bird which moved south in the winter of 2012/13 to mingle with our kites on the upper Pennines was found dead in March 2013.
 
This outpouring of anger is probably the first specific protest of its kind about bird/wildlife crime and comes as Golden Eagles, Peregrines, Goshawks and Hen Harriers are also still being targeted. (Reminds me of the heady days of anti-whaling marches in the 80's!)  It comes at a time when some are calling for protests around August 12th (so called Glorious Twelth) at the fact that no Hen Harriers nested successfully in England during 2013.

Images courtesy of June Atkinson

Muir of Ord  dead kites

                                                                Dead red kites from Muir of Ord                              Image L-D Johnstone


 

RK7
The number of dead birds of prey uncovered in the Ross-shire Massacre has increased to 20, according to Police Scotland. These include 14 red kites and 6 buzzards.

 

Twelve of the victims have now been confirmed as being poisoned (9 red kites & 3 buzzards). Tests continue on the remaining corpses.

Police Scotland has thanked the general public for their 'patience, cooperation and assistance'.

The police investigation continues, one month on from the initial discovery of six dead birds…

Police Scotland press release here.

17 April 2014 Last updated at 11:09

Birds of prey deaths in Ross-shire increase to 20

Dead buzzard
 

The number of birds of prey found dead in Ross-shire has risen to 20.

The 14 red kites and six buzzards were discovered in an area of about two square miles to the south east of Conon Bridge around Conon Brae, Balvail, Leanaig and Alcaig.

Tests have so far confirmed that 12 of them were poisoned.

 

The Scotsman    Tuesday 15 April 2014

Police search, as birds of prey killings reach 19

A number of red kites and buzzards have been found dead in a two square-mile area of Ross-shire. Picture: Ian Rutherford

A number of red kites and buzzards have been found dead in a two square-mile area of Ross-shire. Picture: Ian Rutherford

  • by ALISTAIR MUNRO

POLICE searches are being ­carried out on farmland and buildings in the Highlands in connection with a series of raptor deaths - as a reward for information about the illegal killings rose to more than £26,000.

A total of 19 birds of prey - 14 red kites and five buzzards - are now at the centre of a poisoning probe after their carcasses were found in a two-square-mile area south-east of Conon Bridge, Ross-shire. Post-mortem examinations carried out on 12 of the birds - nine red kites and three buzzards - confirmed they were poisoned, police said.

A Police Scotland spokeswoman said further reported discoveries have not yet been linked to the investigation, but may later become part of their inquiries.

She added: "Police are currently conducting searches in the Conon Brae area as part of ongoing inquiries into a wildlife crime investigation regarding the death of birds of prey. Landowners in the area are co-operating with the searches."

Yesterday, police wearing blue protective gloves began searching farmhouses, outbuildings, barns and bins.

The development comes as the reward for information leading to a conviction over the deaths rose further.

Members of Scottish Land and Estates and the NFUS farmers' union, which has condemned the killings - branded the most serious wildlife crime in recent years - offered an additional £12,000 to an appeal for information. Their pledge takes the total reward to more than £26,000.

The death toll for the birds of prey has slowly risen from six a fortnight ago. That prompted an anonymous donor to come forward with an additional £5,000, while 160 members of the public have donated £4,000.

One of the landowners involved in collating the reward is Alex Matheson, from the Brahan Estate, which operates the Tollie Red Kites centre in partnership with the RSPB.

He said: "We have been appalled by these tragic and senseless bird deaths. By pulling together as a community to do all we can to help, we want to send a strong and clear message that any form of wildlife crime is totally unacceptable."

NFUS regional board chairman for the Highlands, Jim Whiteford, said: "This is a horrifying and disgusting incident."

And Duncan Orr-Ewing, head of species and land management for RSPB Scotland, said: "We welcome the pledge by local farmers and landowners. The illegal killing of these birds has disgusted many in the local community and beyond and we hope that by working together, we can identify those responsible and help to eliminate wildlife crime."

Douglas McAdam, chief executive of Scottish Land and Estates, said the reward being ­offered by farmers and landowners demonstrated a determination by local communities to help police gather all the information they can about the birds- of-prey deaths.

The investigation is being ­carried out by police in close ­collaboration with partner agencies RSPB, the Scottish SPCA, Scotland's Rural College, and Science and Advice for Scottish Agriculture.


 BBC   12 April

Inverness 'ghost raptor' protest over Ross-shire bird poisonings

Red kite protest
People marched through the streets of Inverness to express anger at the deaths

"Start Quote

Scores of people marched to the city of Inverness over the deaths of 14 red kites and five buzzards. The birds have been found near Conon Bridge since 18 March.

Nineteen white cut-outs of birds dubbed "ghost raptors" were displayed during the event.

RSPB vice president Sir John Lister-Kaye, who attended the rally, said: "This incident is an outrage and the public are right to be angry."

"Poisoning is unacceptable and we call on the Scottish Government and the police to stamp it out."

Protester Andrea Goddard said: "If the public, RSPB and the authorities can pool our collective sadness and anger at this atrocity we may be able to effect real and lasting change. It's time for action."

Police Scotland, RSPB Scotland, Scottish SPCA and Scottish Natural Heritage (SNH) have been involved in investigating the deaths.

Members of the landowners organisation, Scottish Land & Estates, and NFU Scotland have contributed £12,000 towards a reward for information leading to the prosecution of whoever is responsible for the poisonings.

Dead red kite
The birds of prey include tagged red kites

Many of the red kites were tagged when they were chicks as part of a conservation project. They include a 16-year-old female kite tagged in 1998.

On Friday, SNH chairman Ian Ross has described the deaths as "shocking, grim and distressing".

The killings threatened Scotland's appeal as a wildlife tourism destination, he added.

Nature-based tourism is said to be worth £1.4bn a year to the Scottish economy.

 

 Black Isle Rally April 14

Image courtesy of June Atkinson

 Tim Watson (far right) and June Atkinson attended the Rally.  Some time ago, a Black Isle red kite flew south and was with our kites on Muggleswick Moor.  Sadly, it was later found dead.    More recently, one of our kites was found dead and forensic tests showed it had died of carborfuran poisoning.  This illustrates that we, in the broader region, face similar problems to those which have occurred in the Black Isle.


 Ross-shire Massacre: death toll rises to 19.

Inverness Courier   Thursday 10 April

Protestors to march through Inverness

as campaign heightens to catch bird killers

Protestors are set to march through Inverness this weekend to highlight the illegal killing of 19 birds of prey around the Conon Bridge area.

The campaigners plan to carry life-size cutouts of the 14 red kites and five buzzards which have been found dead over the last two weeks.

Police confirmed yesterday 12 of the raptors had been poisoned.

Below is a video taken by an Inverness Courier reader who regularly fed the red kites from his garden - before the incident 32 birds were counted but since there have only been a handful.

  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LjydNkVXYwY

 



 Tim Watson and June Atkinson, two of our members,  attended this Rally

on behalf of Friends of Red Kites.

The number of dead raptors found in the Conon Bridge area of Ross-shire has risen to 19. These include 14 red kites and five buzzards.

Toxicology tests so far have determined that 12 of them (9 kites and 3 buzzards) had been poisoned. Tests have not yet been completed on all the corpses.

In response to one of the worst mass poisoning incidents in recent times, RSPB Scotland is organising a public protest in Inverness town centre this Saturday. The key aim of this protest is to let the Scottish Government know that we all want action to prevent this criminal persecution of our raptors from happening again.

RK7 

Protest Date: Saturday 12th April at 2pm.

Meet at the top end of the pedestrianised High Street, Inverness (near Marks & Spencer & Santander).

All welcome (including children) and protesters are encouraged to make their own banners.

If you can't attend the protest, please consider showing your support by donating to the reward fund HERE.

http://raptorpersecutionscotland.wordpress.com/

RK5 

Police raid farms as Black Isle raptor death toll rises to 19

Just giving website :  £4,420.00          Gift Aid£1,000.00

More dead birds of prey have been found on the Black Isle as police launched a series of raids on farms in the area.

The death toll of raptors in the Ross-shire area is now 19: five buzzards and 14 red kites.

A reward of more than £26,000 is now on offer for information leading to a successful conviction of those responsible for the deaths.

Tests have revealed 12 of the raptors have been poisoned.

A group of landowners and farmers have pledged £12,000 to the reward fund, adding to £5,000 put up by the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds, matched by an anonymous donation. Members of the public have also contributed more than £4,000 through an RSPB Scotland justgiving page.

The bodies of the birds of prey have all been found within a two-square-mile area on the edge of the Black Isle south-east of Conon Bridge.

Police Scotland used a number of vehicles to raid farms in the area.

RSPB Scotland is organising a protest gathering in Inverness this Saturday to highlight the problem and urge the Scottish Government to take action.

Donations can be made to the reward fund via the justgiving page.


Ross-shire bird poisoning reward up to £25,000    9 April 2014

A number of red kites and buzzards have been found dead in a two square-mile area of Ross-shire. Picture: Ian Rutherford

A number of red kites and buzzards have been found dead in a two square-mile area of Ross-shire. Picture: Ian Rutherford

  • by ALISTAIR MUNRO

A REWARD for information on a spate of raptor poisonings in the Highlands has risen to £25,000 after a group of farmers and landowners pledged an additional £12,000.

Police Scotland are investigating the deaths of 17 birds of prey - 13 red kites and four buzzards - found in a two-mile square mile area south-east of Conon Bridge, Ross-shire.

Several of the deaths have so far been confirmed as poisonings.

A spokeswoman said further reported discoveries have not yet been linked to the investigation, but may later become part of their inquiries.

A local group, comprising of members from Scottish Land and Estates and the National Farmers Union (NFU) Scotland, have condemned the deaths and offered another donation to an appeal for information. Their pledge takes the total reward for information to more than £25,000.

RSPB Scotland last week offered a £5,000 reward for information about the killings leading to a conviction.

The death toll rose last week, prompting an anonymous donor came forward with an additional £5,000, while other members of the public have made other donations towards the reward fund.

'Appalled'

One of the landowners involved in collating the reward is Alex Matheson from the Brahan Estate, which operates the Tollie Red Kites centre in partnership with RSPB.

Alex said: "We have been appalled by these tragic and senseless bird deaths.

"By pulling together as a community to do all we can to help, we want to send a strong and clear message that any form of wildlife crime is totally unacceptable. We would urge anyone who has any information to come forward.

"Scottish Land and Estates and NFU Scotland have both fully supported this initiative. We call on all sections of our local communities to work with the police - and through appropriate organisations such as PAW Scotland - to create effective partnerships in order that we can totally eradicate all incidents of wildlife crime."

NFU Scotland's Regional Board Chairman for the Highlands, Jim Whiteford, said: "This is a horrifying and disgusting incident where 17 birds of prey have been killed.

"I hope that those who are responsible are found and prosecuted. I am heartened by the news that a group of farmers and landowners around the Conon Bridge area have been able to add a generous donation towards the conviction of whoever has done this horrific deed."

Poisonings 'not tolerated'

Douglas McAdam, chief executive of Scottish Land and Estates said the reward being offered by farmers and landowners demonstrated an undoubted determination by local communities to help police gather all the information they can about these birds of prey deaths.

He added: "We would offer our full support to the local partnership who have come together to offer this reward.

"Alex Matheson, who is a member of our organisation's Highland committee, helps to operate an exceptional red kite viewing centre and he has actively supported the reintroduction of red kites in the region, as have other Scottish Land and Estates members in other areas such as Moray Estates at Doune.

"Alex's resolve, along with that of many others, ensures that wildlife crime will simply not be tolerated by the responsible majority.

"On behalf of Scottish Land and Estates, we would once again wholeheartedly appeal to everyone to provide the necessary support to the police investigation.

"We will continue to strive to eradicate all forms of wildlife crime and as a member of the Partnership for Action Against Wildlife Crime Scotland, we are fully focused on working with other agencies to help achieve this."

Background

The fatalities, all of which were discovered in the last fortnight, have all been located within a two-square-mile area of Ross-shire. The birds have been found in an area south east of Conon Bridge around Conon Brae, Balvail, Leanaig and Alcaig.

One of the dead birds was a 16-year-old female first tagged in 1998. She had been breeding in the Black Isle for 14 years and had raised between 25 to 30 young - one of which, an eight-year-old female, was also among the dead.

Around 25 volunteers dedicate their free time at the Tollie Red Kite reserve, helping to feed the birds and speak to visitors.

The wildlife criminal investigation is being carried out by police in collaboration with the RSPB, the SSPCA, Scotland's Rural College and the Science and Advice for Scottish Agriculture (SASA).

The reward will be paid for information that leads to the successful prosecution of the perpetrators of the crime.

Any information on the deaths should be given directly to the police by calling 101.

Contributions to the latest reward can be made by contacting Brahan Estate at reward@brahan.com.


  Ross-shire Massacre: death toll rises to 18, and counting….

This is the story that just won't go away.

This morning we reported that a 13th dead red kite had been found (see here).

Now, a 14th red kite has been uncovered in the Ross-shire Massacre, bringing the total of confirmed dead birds to 18 (14 red kites & 4 buzzards). We fully expect this figure to rise again.

As the death toll grows, so does the reward fund, reflecting the public's increasing frustration and anger. If you'd like to donate, please click HERE.

red kite rspb

 

 The RSPB has set up an on-line donation page where those of us who want to show our disgust and outrage at the Ross-shire Massacre can contribute towards the 'reward for information' fund.

The reward was initially set up by RSPB with a £5,000 contribution. This has now been increased to £10,000 thanks to an anonymous donor. Here's our chance to further increase the reward.

If the reward is unclaimed, the funds will be used directly for contributing towards the RSPB's Investigation Unit - a small team of dedicated professionals doing their utmost against the powerful, well-funded and influential game-shooting industry.

If you'd like to show your support, and ramp up the pressure on the poisoning criminals who continue to commit these atrocities, you can donate here.

RSPB press release here.

Friends of Red Kites have made a contribution to this cause.

Inverness Courier

Number of red kite poisonings go up as police investigate Black Isle farms

Written byOlivia Bell

Police search outbuildings and barns
Police search outbuildings and barns

Police have confirmed their investigation into the death of birds of prey in the Ross-shire area is now centred on 19 cases, 14 red kites and five buzzards. 

Following analysis of the birds' carcasses, 12 have been confirmed as having digested a poisonous substance (nine red kites and three buzzards). Post mortem examinations and toxicology work continues into all the birds seized.

The birds were located within a  two square mile area to the south east of Conon Bridge around Conon Brae, Balvail, Leanaig and Alcaig.

The news comes as police raided a number of Black Isle farms this morning investigating the illegal killings.

Up to 10 police cars and vans pulled up outside the farms and began searching farm houses, outbuildings, barns and bins.

Dressed in their usual uniforms but wearing blue protective gloves, officers started looking into barns and yards around the premises with some inside farm houses.

One resident Michael Campbell saw a farmer and his wife leaving their house about 10am soon after police officers pulled up outside.

"It looked like a full blown raid to me," he told The Inverness Courier.

"They have been everywhere, all over the farms, all over the fields. It was a shock."

A spokesman said: "Police are currently conducting searches in the Conon Brae area as part of ongoing enquiries into a wildlife crime investigation regarding the death of 17 birds of prey consising of 13 red kites and four buzzards.

"Landowners in the area are cooperating with the searches."

The move comes as the reward for information following the deaths rises.

A group of farmers and landowners from the Moray Firth have come together and pledged a reward of £12,000 for information about the deaths of the 17 birds of prey in the Highlands.

It brings the reward total to £25,000.

One of the landowners involved in collating the reward is Alex Matheson from the Brahan Estate, which operates the Tollie Red Kites centre in partnership with RSPB.

 "We have been appalled by these tragic and senseless bird deaths," he said.

"By pulling together as a community to do all we can to help, we want to send a strong and clear message that any form of wildlife crime is totally unacceptable. We would urge anyone who has any information to come forward.

"Scottish Land & Estates and NFU Scotland have both fully supported this initiative. We call on all sections of our local communities to work with the police - and through appropriate organisations such as PAW Scotland - to create effective partnerships in order that we can totally eradicate all incidents of wildlife crime."

The reward will be paid for information that leads to the successful prosecution of the perpetrators of this crime. Any information on the deaths should be given directly to the police by calling 101. If anyone would like to contribute to this reward they should contact Brahan Estate directly via email reward@brahan.com

People are being warned that if they find any further dead birds or animals in the area to make a note of its location and inform the police on 101. Under no circumstances should anyone touch or attempt to recover any dead animal.

Police are keen to speak to anyone who has any information about the incident and would encourage them to contact Police on 101 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111 or online at http://www.crimestoppers-uk.org/. No personal details are taken, information is not traced or recorded and you will not go to court.

Officers investigate farms on the Black Isle
Officers investigate farms on the Black Isle
Police cars and vans pull up outside a farm on Black Isle
Police cars and vans pull up outside a farm on Black Isle

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


 Online donations to boost bird poisonings reward

The dead birds were found in a two square mile area to the south east of Conon Bridge

'Voicing anger'

Duncan Orr-Ewing, head of species and land management at RSPB, said: "Our staff have been inundated with calls from concerned members of the public voicing their personal anger and frustration about this appalling incident and calling for firm action by the authorities against the perpetrators.

"Many have said they would like to contribute financially to the reward already on offer, and this Justgiving webpage will allow those who wish to do so.

"We urge anyone with information to contact Police Scotland as soon as possible."

In a separate incident, a dead peregrine falcon was discovered in the Abington area on 17 February by a member of the public.

Tests carried out by analysts at the Centre of Science and Advice for Scottish Agriculture showed the bird was poisoned.

Police have appealed for anyone with information about this case to contact them.


  STOP PRESS  5 April 2014     http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotland-26871358

 An anonymous donor has doubled the reward for information leading to prosecution of perpetrators.  

Death toll rises to 16

A total of 12 red kites and four buzzards have now been retrieved in the Ross-shire Massacre - one of the worst mass poisoning incidents to have been uncovered in recent years.

The victims have all been recovered from a very small area near Conon Bridge in the Highlands. They include breeding adults and juvenile birds - the impact of these deaths on the already-struggling Black Isle red kite population will be significant.

This mass poisoning comes on the back of the news that reported poisoning incidents in Scotland in 2013 doubled from 2012 figures. Other types of persecution were also reported, including shooting, trapping, nest-tree felling and birds that were trapped and then beaten to death.

We await the Scottish Government's response to this latest outrage with great interest.

The RSPB has put up a £5K reward for information leading to a successful conviction.

Previous blogs on the Ross-shire Massacre here, here, here and here.

Photo of red kites at Gigrin Farm, Wales, by David Bowman.


28 March 2014            BBC News   Highlands and Highlands

Thirteen birds of prey found poisoned in Ross-shire

Red kite
Red kites are among the dead birds found at various locations in Ross-shire

Related Stories

Highland raptor deaths rise to 11

Thirteen birds of prey have now been found dead in an area around Conon Bridge and Muir of Ord in Ross-shire.

Police Scotland said tests done so far had confirmed that six of the raptors were poisoned.

The nine red kites and four buzzards were found at different, but nearby, locations since 18 March.

The latest update to the tally of dead birds found has come the same day a new report revealed the number of raptors illegally poisoned doubled last year.

Figures from the Partnership for Action Against Wildlife Crime (Paw) Scotland showed six birds were found to have been illegally poisoned.

The numbers remain well below a peak of 30 poisoned birds recorded in 2009.

Map

Police said the 13 birds had been found within a 5 sq km (two sq mile) area to the south east of Conon Bridge around Conon Brae, Balvail, Leanaig and Alcaig.

A spokesperson said: "Seven of the birds have undergone post mortems and six of these have confirmed as having been poisoned.

"Due to this discovery the initial inquiry has now been confirmed as a wildlife crime."

RSPB Scotland described the latest rise in the number of dead birds as "devastating".

Scottish Gamekeepers Association chairman Alex Hogg said the discovery of some many birds in one area was "unprecedented and alarming".


Report by A Kite Officer, Brian Etherideg, RSPB on the above dreadful news: http://raptorpersecutionscotland.wordpress.com/2014/04/02/ross-shire-massacre-the-worst-2-weeks-of-my-life-says-red-kite-officer/



 British Trust for Ornithology  flags up this new site.  

 Welcome to BirdID

 
'Bird Identification' is a website for anyone who wants to learn more about birds and wants to gain formal evidence of their developing skills. Here you can choose to take a formal test on the birds in your own country or for the whole Western Palearctic, and receive a valid certificate at higher education level. You can also choose to join our field study trips in the Western Palearctic or study the birds yourself by using our training quiz.

 


Selection of BBC Videos about the Red Kite:   http://www.bbc.co.uk/nature/life/Red_Kite#intro

WE WELCOME OUR FIRST PATRON ~ TRAI  ANFIELD

Friends of Red Kites are delighted to announce that Trai Anfield, well-known to everyone here in the north as a former BBC Weather Forecaster and Look North Presenter, has agreed  to become our Patron.

In accepting this important role, Trai says:

"I am honoured to become Patron of such an important and successful conservation initiative as Friends of Red Kites. I have admired the work of the group since it started out in 2004 as the Northern Kites Project. It has been terrific to see such an iconic species as the red kite return to this area and flourish beyond expectations. The birds themselves are magnificent, and they bring benefits to the whole community. 

Trai Anfield Patron 

However Friends of Red Kites work is far from over. We encourage local communities to learn about the birds and get involved in the project, monitor the population and strive to protect red kites and their prey species from deliberate and accidental poisoning. This unfortunately is a real problem, which has led to the deaths of a significant number of birds since their reintroduction. We will continue to work very closely with local landowners to prevent it."

Friends of Red Kites was inaugurated in 2009, when the Northern Kites Project,  begun in 2004 to re-introduce 94 young kites donated by the Chilterns group, ended. Too great a legacy had been left for the work not to be continued.     A number of long-standing volunteers agreed to establish a group and become the guardians of these majestic birds of prey, which grace our skies and enrich people's lives. We have gone from strength to strength and our membership is now over three hundred. 

We are extremely grateful to Trai for agreeing to be our Patron. We look forward to meeting her and sharing our future plans with her.

More about Trai - 

Trai is best known as a weather forecaster and presenter for the BBC. Having recently left Look North she is going on to present Radio 4's flagship wildlife programme Living World. She is also an exhibited photographer and Creative Director at Enlightened Media, her ethical media production company www.enlightenedmedia.net

Find out more about Trai's work.

http://www.enlightenedmedia.net/#!Red-kites-flying-high/cd6c/63FE0BDF-6565-420B-A3FA-1CE5B12E9581