Anybody who keeps abreast of bird persecution incidents will be thoroughly sickened by the reports of numbers of dead Red Kites and Buzzards found in the Conon Bridge area in Ross-shire, Scotland for which details have been reported on by the Raptor Persecution Scotland website. To date 14 Red kites and 5 Common Buzzards have been found, all of which are suspected of being poisoned. Apparently Police raids have been carried out on various premises in the area this morning, but no details are yet available.
Despite a plethora of raptor persecution incidents in recent months and years that have been ostensibly linked to game shooting areas in Scotland, various official bodies linked to such operations, whether gamekeeping or landowning interests, have come out and denied any knowledge of this dreadful incident. Is it that, on this occasion, such obvious candidates are not guilty ?
I'm just a bit suspicious that , at a farm in the vicinity of Conon Bridge, a celebrated feeding facility for Red Kites is operated, much vaunted by RSPB and an obvious tourist facility that earns the operators some income. Envy can be a very vicious motivation and may be the rather heavy handed reason behind the incident. On the other hand the clear targeting of Hen Harrier winter roosts in England, involving Scottish as well as English birds, has led to a demonstrable and noticeable reduction in numbers of this species. The Hen Harrier has been lost as a breeding species in England as a result of such prejudicial action.
So are we looking at commercial envy or opportunity taking?