You may have wondered what has happened to our Bird of Prey pledge campaign. This campaign is to send a strong message to this and future governments that the illegal killing of birds of prey is unnacceptable. Back in the summer and autumn there were frequent mentions of it in this blog and heavy hints that we were getting close to the 200,000 mark.
Well, today we handed in the petition to the Defra Biodiversity Minister, Huw Irranca-Davies, at an event in the park next to Parliament.
Volunteers came and held up placards to make the shape of a giant peregrine falcon and as if by magic, when some of the placards were turned over they revealed the logos of some of the 30 organisations supporting the campaign and the magic number 210, 567 - the highest number of signatures that the RSPB has ever gathered for any cause. Thank you to all of you who signed up. And thank you to those who stood in the cold with aching arms today!
And we got support from many countryside organisations and from the environment Ministers in all four UK parliaments and from the biggest three political parties in England.
I know that Mr Irranca-Davies is personally committed to this cause. In one of his first Ministerial days out he visited the Gateshead red kite project and signed the bird of prey pledge on behalf on Defra. That pledge, I am glad to tell you, is still hanging in his office in Defra.
It would have been great had a real peregrine flown over - one quite often sees them perching on the Houses of Parliament these days, but it is a bit sad to realise that there are more pairs of peregrines nesting in central London than in the Peak District or in many other highly suitable upland areas.
So is that it? Of course not! Watch the RSPB website and this blog for news of our continuing work for birds of prey. The illegal persecution of these impressive but vulnerable birds is a national disgrace. Now almost everyone has said that it must stop - let's make sure that it does stop!
I agree Sooty, there just isn't enough public awareness of the problems of raptor persecution.
Here on the edge of the Dark Peak I am yet to see a Peregrine, Goshawk or even a Raven yet this year and believe me I am looking almost constantly, no sign of them in the usual places or nest sites.
A cynical person might think how easily it would be to poison Goshawk and Raven when the snow was making it difficult for them to find food, Peregrine should be starting to appear if there are any left in the area.
On brighter note 5 buzzard in the air at once this weekend over the moor and certainly a pair of Sparrowhawk and a pair of Kestrel around the area also spotted 2 pairs of roosting Tawny owls.
I hope that the introduction of the new RSPB reserve up here is the catalysts for some much needed protection for the birds in this area.
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