Scottish Raptor Study Group

Monitoring and conserving Scotland's birds of prey


Petitions Committee hears evidence from SRSG on gamebird shoot licensing
27 October 2016
Earlier this year the SRSG submitted a petition to the Scottish Parliament calling for the introduction of state licensing for all gamebird hunting. Today, three members of the SRSG (Logan Steele, Andrea Hudspeth and Duncan Orr-Ewing) gave evidence to the Petitions Committee and explained why regulation is needed. The official transcript can be read here. The Petitions Committee deferred a decision on whether to pass the petition to the Environment, Climate Change and Land Reform Committee. It is expected the Petitions Committee will take evidence from those opposed to licensing before any further decision is made.

Illegal killing slows red kite population growth in north Scotland
27 October 2016
Slow growth of one of Scotland’s four populations of reintroduced red kites is down to illegal killing, according to a new report.The study, carried out by RSPB’s Centre for Conservation Science for Scottish Natural Heritage, shows the number of birds colonising the north of Scotland is much lower than at comparable release sites elsewhere. Further info here. Read the report here.

Sanction to stop killing of birds of prey 'undermined' say conservationists
23 October 2016
Government moves to penalise grouse-shooting estates suspected of persecuting birds of prey have been “completely undermined” by a gaping loophole, say conservationists. In a bid to combat the illegal poisoning and killing of birds of prey, the Scottish Government in 2013 asked its wildlife agency, Scottish Natural Heritage (SNH), to consider how it could restrict the general licences it issued to estates. These allow gamekeepers to control crows and other birds that take grouse eggs and chicks. In November 2015 SNH withdrew general licences from four properties where it said there was evidence that birds of prey had been persecuted. But this triggered a legal challenge by estates, which denied any wrongdoing. Now however, gamekeepers have been allowed to carry on the killing of crows, rooks and gulls, making the removal of the general licence a pointless exercise and "farcical", according to the RSPB. The move has been defended as “robust regulation” by SNH. Full story here.

Stop killing mountain hares: protest rally at Holyrood
15 October 2016
Scottish charity OneKind is organising a peaceful demonstration against the mass killing of mountain hares on Scottish grouse moors. The rally will take place at Holyrood on Thursday 17 November 2016 between 12 - 2pm. There will be a number of speakers and MSPs have been invited. To find out more please see here.

Satellite-tagged hen harrier 'Hermione' dies of natural causes
14 October 2016
One of this year's young hen harriers has died. Hermione was one of four young to fledge from a nest on an estate owned and managed by the charity, Highland Renewal, on the Hebridean Isle of Mull in 2016. She was satellite-tagged by the Hen Harrier LIFE Project on 29th July 2016, and her name was chosen as the winner of an online poll run by the University of Central Lancashire (UCLan), who sponsored the tag. After fledging a few days later, Hermione spent all her time close to her nest area on Mull, with her tag sending out clear and consistent signals. On 28th September, however, it became clear from the data received that she had stopped moving. RSPB Scotland Investigations staff attended within a few days and quickly located her body and the transmitter, only a few kilometres from her nest – it was clear that she had died naturally, and her remains had been partially eaten. Sad though this is, many young harriers do not survive their first winter, with starvation or predation a regular cause of death. Further details on the RSPB's Skydancer blog here.

Scottish White-tailed eagle population set to soar
13 October 2016
Numbers of white-tailed eagles could rise from 106 pairs of birds to 221 pairs in less than 10 years, a new study claims. Research commissioned by Scottish Natural Heritage (SNH) predicted the growth to the year 2025 and beyond. By 2040, the researchers suggested there could potentially be between 889 and 1,005 pairs. Full story here

White-tailed eagles flourishing on the National Forest Estate
2 October 2016
An interesting article about the excellent conservation work done by Forestry Commission Scotland, along with partners and volunteers, which is helping the re-establishment of white-tailed eagles in east Scotland (see here).


2016: January, February, March, April, May, June, July, August, Sept,Oct,
2015: January, February, March, April, May, June, July, August, Sept,Oct, Nov, Dec,
2014: January, February, March, April, May, June, July, August, Sept,Oct, Nov, Dec
2013: January, February, March, April, May, June, July, August, Sept, Oct, Nov, Dec,
2012: January, February, March, April, May, June, July, August, Sept,Oct, Nov, Dec.