Don’t blame raptors for big fall in bird population

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Re: A Rosbottom’s letter in the Evening News in which he complains about falconry being a blood sport.

It seems to me that Mr Rosbottom will not pass up any opportunity to vent his anger about birds of prey, and then regaling us with his various pearls of wisdom regarding them. For example, his comments about raptors spreading bird flu after “eating all the other birds alive” can only be described as truly priceless!!

Yes, falconry does indeed involve the hunting of live animals with another creature, although I understand that, in most cases, the intended prey often escapes unscathed. A relative of mine is a falconer, and his birds are used for hunting rabbits (I can’t imagine that many farmers would have a problem with that) but, as is usually the case, the birds rarely make a kill.

Mr Rosbottom’s apparent assumption that raptors are solely to blame for drastic falls in the populations of other birds is rubbish. There are several causes, not least changes in farming methods, which have been proved to have detrimental effects on the populations of farmland birds. This particular problem is now being addressed, with some success, by many farmers.

If, as Mr Rosbottom would have us believe, the loss of many birds is down to raptors, would he like to explain why Scarborough continues to be blighted by hundreds, if not thousands, of “flying rats” (feral pigeons), when it is well documented that at least two Peregrine Falcons, which prey largely on pigeons, are resident in our town?

Trisha Scott

West Park Terrace