Stepping up for nature  - that's our latest campaign and you'll hear much more about it over the next weeks, months and years.

There was an interesting piece on the Today programme this morning (at about 0740) with RSPB spokespeople and the Defra Secretary of State, Caroline Spelman, as well as Farming Today and an early start for me on BBC Breakfast.

Mrs Spelman said some nice things about the RSPB and the need for our campaign.

Today there is also a hand-in of the 350,000+ signatures from Letter to the Future into 10 Downing Street, an event for some of our campaigning members and another event this evening where Caroline Spelman will talk to us.

It's a long day but a good one. 

  • JustAlark, Can I thank you for summing up, so successfully, in those few paragraphs, the essence of the arguments about predator / prey relationships.  

  • Ruralgeek I think thats fundamentally wrong. While predation is of course an important part of population dynamics, there really couldnt be a more natural interaction. Studies which look for relationships between a species numbers and its predators will always find them, since they are integral parts of ecology.

    As far as I know, predation only becomes a serious threat to a species long term when many other factors have reduced the fitness of a population to such a low level that it becomes vulnerable to carnivory. In natural systems, predator play relationships exist in delicate highly dependant relationships, which ecological time has stabilised to shallow relatively predictable reactive sine waves.

    Its only introduced species that can upset that balance substantially, and ultimatley threaten entire ecosystems not just species (Eg brown tree snakes and Guam). Im interested in the BTO study that supports your claims, because Ive read none that do unless taken out of context. Where as many studies demonstrate the predator prey relationship, there are not any I am aware of that dont contribute the large additional factors that intensify that relationship.

    Even grey squirrels are now being shown to have relatively little effect on song bird numbers where previously they have been painted as remorseless egg burglers. 'Predator control' is tackling conservation from the wrong end of the food chain. Where as in some places (introduced species) it may very well be a necessary last resort, its practice can have dramatic long term negative effects for the very species you are trying to save.

  • RSPB seem to be upsetting lots of different groups at the moment as reported that they blame gamekeepers for decline in Hen Harriers whereas shooting people say H H  population on Isle Of Man drastically reduced yet no Grouse moors there.Don't know if this is fact but in Telegraph today,think they may have to build better relationships if they want wildlife to prosper.Some people now even suggesting it is a deliberate ploy to kick organisations to encourage increased RSPB membership.This is what seems to be a increasing criticism and when we visit reserves we get fantastic treatment,better than anywhere else so the staff and volunteers on the ground certainly doing a great job,find it hard to praise them enough.  

  • Perhaps the RSPB don't accept that Birds of Prey are responsible for the decline in Song Bird populations because they are not and that comclusion is based on the available evidence. As for Badgers what are they doing clambering around in trees to get at Song bird nests? I'd of thought that their traditional diet of worms was a easier option

  • Why don't the RSPB accept that a lot of this farmland bird decline is due to the increase in predators such as birds of prey and badgers?  The British Trust for Ornithology recognise this issue but the RSPB seems to just keep on pressing for more environmental regulations.  Some of us are wondering whether the RSPB want more CAP money directed towards environmental projects as they are funded so heavily by CAP money themselves.  Please take off your blinkers and look at what is actually going on, badger populations are exploding as are birds of prey and they've got to eat something!