Call for killing of birds deemed health hazard splits conservationists
The humble robin, regularly voted the nation’s favourite garden bird, captures hearts and minds like few other species. Since the Victorian era it has been venerated on the front of Christmas cards and in prose and poetry. “A robin redbreast in a cage puts all heaven in a rage,” William Blake decreed.
A heartfelt concern for the bird’s welfare was also captured in the famous nursery rhyme that asks: “Who killed Cock Robin? I, said the Sparrow, with my bow and arrow.”
But now it appears that the country’s 6.7m pairs of robins are no longer the feathered friend of yesteryear. A consultation by Natural England, the body that advises the government on the natural environment, has made the case for allowing people to destroy the birds‘ nests and remove their eggs, amid growing concerns that they threaten health and safety.
Natural England is also looking at similar measures to permit “taking, damaging and destroying of nests and eggs” for pied wagtails and starlings.
The consultation, which closes tomorrow, explains that the birds’ nests should be considered fair targets if they “present a potential hazard”, such as being found in ventilation flues.
Natural England has produced an analysis which suggests that the new measures, permitted under what are known as “general licences”, will have no conservation issues for the three bird species. It is also proposing similar action against greylag geese and mallards. But the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB) says it is concerned that the measures, due to be introduced next year, will mean the birds’ nests and eggs can be destroyed without monitoring.
General licences allow the public to take action against birds without having to apply for a specific licence. As a result, there is no requirement to record the number of birds killed or nests destroyed. “The number of nesting robins, starlings and pied wagtails prompting legitimate health and safety concerns in any year is very, very small, and we shall be responding to Natural England that it would be disproportionate to change the current licensing system, which should easily cope with genuine problems,” said Robin Wynde of the RSPB.
Wynde said the placing of the starling under a general licence was a particular worry, as this could encourage people to take down their nests at a time when their numbers were falling. “A lot of people quite like starlings, but some people find them a bit of a nuisance because they nest in their roofs,” Wynde said.
RAVENSKEEPER SAYS: PEOPLE LIKE THIS MAKE ME FECKING SICK AND REALLY ANGRY! AS IF WILDLIFE ISN’T HAVING A ROUGH ENOUGH TIME AS IT IS WITH ALL THE DESTRUCTION OF HABITATS AND THE FOOD CHAIN. THIS WILL JUST GIVE SICK PEOPLE THE FREEDOM TO GO OUT AND DESTROY AT WILL WITHOUT FEAR OF ANY CONSEQUENCES.
KILL, KILL, KILL, BADGERS, FOXES, DEER, IN FACT ANYTHING THAT MOVES GIVEN HALF A CHANCE. THERE ARE ALREADY ENOUGH SICKO’S OUT THERE KILLING FOR SADISTIC REASONS, DECAPITATED SWANS, AND PIGEONS BEING JUST A RECENT EXAMPLE IN MY OWN COUNTY. THIS KILLING MENTALITY HAS TO STOP NOW. PEACE (IF THAT’S POSSIBLE IN THIS DESTROY THE WORLD MINDSET) RAVENSKEEPER.