Humans are to blame for birds’ decline in our region

Are building projects one of the main reasons for the cause of our small bird population? Picture: D

Are building projects one of the main reasons for the cause of our small bird population? Picture: DENISE BRADLEY - Credit: Copyright: Archant 2017

In response to the accusation that our birds of prey are the cause of the demise of our small bird population, I would like to offer an alternative cause.

I have worked with and studied birds of prey all my life and know that raptors are not to blame.

The main cause lies with us.

We are building more roads, more houses, cutting down woods, taking out hedges and continually spraying fields.

Take away our houses and food and we would not survive so why do we think that birds and animals can?

Cats are a major problem.

I am not a cat hater, loving all animals, but they are responsible for the deaths of millions of birds and small mammals every year.

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Also, you cannot travel anywhere without seeing dead birds and mammals on our roads.

A raptor feeding on roadkill does not mean that it is the killer.

Many raptors will take advantage of this free food; they are scavengers who actually clean up the environment for us.

These three forces account for the deaths of about 80 to 90 percent of all small bird and mammals.

Unlike us, raptors only kill for food, and only when necessary as they cannot afford to waste energy.

They will rest for about 14 to 18 hours a day until they need to hunt again.

In the late seventies our fields were full of lapwings, golden plovers, red wings and fieldfares to name but a few.

I cannot remember the last time I saw these birds in any numbers.

If we insist on destroying our environment there will be no wildlife left.

Birds of prey have been around for thousands of years and did not have a negative impact on other species numbers, so why would this change now?

Before you blame the raptors say to yourself, mea culpa.

Gordon Hiscock, Spratts Green, Aylsham