I WOULD like to relate to the letter (August 25) from Aidan Lonergan of the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds.
I read with some interest the facts laid down by the writer. The quality of these surveys leaves something to be desired in terms of credibility, and this also includes the recent grouse survey.
In his letter he states that recent surveys have not concluded that hen harriers are damaging other upland bird populations. Surely this survey did not look towards this " or am I mistaken?
Hen harriers have not suffered heavily from human persecution but from predation.
Is Mr Lonergan ever at the mountains to see what is taking place? He also states that there is a slight increase in the population of hen harriers: he is wrong. They are staying static with little or no increase. Your surveys are not foolproof.
His letter also goes on to state that if hen harriers were to rely on red grouse and voles here, they would starve.
Well, we don't have voles but, yes, we do have red grouse and they are declining. Studies show that the main prey is small birds such as meadow pipits and larks. Are they not as precious as the red grouse?
How long can this feeding sustain the ever-growing mountain of predators?
Hen harriers are scooping the uplands clean of all birds, including whatever few grouse chicks that hatch. …