Saturday, 12 August 2017

The Glorious Twelfth

I have been meaning to post this video up here for a while now, but today being the 'Glorious Twelfth' (the first day of the Red Grouse shooting season) has reminded me to do so.

I have seen this several times on social media, but realised that if you're not social media savvy (which I think many of my readers aren't) you wouldn't know anything about it at all. Typically it received zero coverage (at least that I saw) on TV, radio and the newspapers.

In June 2013 on a shooting estate in Scotland, a camera placed by the RSPB to monitor a Hen Harrier nest filmed this. It's upsetting but not overly graphic...

As you can see this video shows someone with a very large gun (and undoubtedly a very small *****) flush a female Hen Harrier from its nest, before shooting it then collecting its life-less body and the inevitable scattering of feathers. Good solid evidence.... you'd think!

This case was subject to a prolonged Police investigation, and nine separate court hearings. But a matter of weeks before the trial was due to take place earlier this year, the Crown Office informed all parties the case was to be dropped and the prosecution to be abandoned.

Obviously the RSPB went completely mental, but in reality there was nothing they could do. And the pathetic reason given was basically "because the shooter didn't know he was being filmed".  The Crown Office alleged the camera had been deliberately placed there on private land to film exactly this, but actually RSPB insists it was simply there to monitor the nest (how many young fledge, how many feeding visits by the adults, etc).  

But does it really matter why the camera was there!? You can't get more solid evidence of illegal raptor persecution than this! And if this is apparently not good enough, then oh dear we have serious problems.

It just shows how hard us conservationists need to work to save our birds. Especially our birds of prey. They really are in serious trouble.

You can find more details about this sorry tale here:

Normal Axe Birding service will be resumed from the next blog post...


  1. So does that mean if a person is caught stealing on CCTV. They can get away with it if there are no signs stating there's CCTV in operation as they didn't know they were being filmed? Absolutely disgraceful. I guess the RSPB need to now advertise that they are filming?

    1. Ridiculous isn't it! Beggars belief and shows how crazy the legal system in this country is.

  2. Yes I saw this clip and it's appalling. The lack of stiff penalties for raptor persecution over many years has made these people so bold they don't even care if they're seen or filmed. A lack of political will to stop this means we should all support Chris Packham's campaign to get something done.

    1. Completely agree with that Tim, I am so impressed with Mr Packham and all the work he puts into this.