Red Kites drawn to the guns.
But no where have they added the reasons for such killings. The Red Kite is a well known bird for taking carrion but they have learnt [to their cost!] that if they hear gun shots that carrion may well be available. This is well known to Doug Simpson who ran the successful Red Kite reintroduction to Yorkshire at Harewood Estate as we phoned him to discuss a bird drawn to the guns here at Geltsdale where a partridge shoot was taking place.
In the case of these missing Red Kites in Yorkshire the birds are being drawn to the Red Grouse shoots but by being over the guns and the direction of the driven Red Grouse the grouse will not go over the guns and with as many ‘flankers’ you like to employ around the butts the grouse will swerve away causing a ‘bad drive’ and tax free money lost by the keepers.
So at every possible occasion keepers will remove Red Kites, harriers, Buzzards, kestrels or any thing they think will spoil a shoot. Even Black Grouse! This is called ‘cleaning up’ before the shooting season nothing to do with breeding but to make sure when a shoot takes place there is absolutely NOTHING that will get in the way of a drive and the cash that will fill their pockets at the end of a day’s shooting.
So as long as the RSPB continue to look at persecution of protected birds the real reason for persecution is being missed which is the ‘tax free’ cash that can swill around a shooting day. This can be in the £10,000s given the present climate at shoots. One keeper was found with £4000 in cash after one shoot! So until the industry cleans up this cash birds of prey and other species will always be targeted by the keepers! A fine for killing protected birds will be just a fraction of his pocket money!!
Sadly for locals in Nidderdale these keepers are also destroying Wildlife Tourism which over in Dumfries and Galloway was worth over £8million to the local economy when a 'Red Kite trail' was set up allowing members of the public to come to the area to watch the kites and other wildlife. Nidderdale is well set with other wildlife attractions like Gothwaite Reservoir, Brimham Rocks, Bilton Woods and the moors themselves if managed right to create a 'Kite trail'. This would bring in much more than Dumfries and Galloway as the area is set nearer a much larger accommodation.
So this killing can be seen to be taking £millions away from the local economy!!!.