Persecuted or Protected?

Rena George Days Out 6 Comments

01071000 - 250x166A very sad thing is happening in the Scottish Highlands, in a part of the world I know so well – Ross-shire.

Someone is killing beautiful red kites (like the one opposite) and buzzards.

In the last few weeks, 14 dead kites and 5 buzzards have been found.

Indiscriminate, mindless killings!!

It beggars belief that anyone could be so cruel.

A reward set up by the RSPB and added to by horrified members of the public, has now reached £10,000.

Let’s hope this killer is caught soon.

Fortunately, not all wild birds are persecuted, and here on the Yorkshire coast, we are fortunate to have the glorious Bempton bird sanctuary right on our doorstep. Since this is the time of year when it all starts to happen up here, I thought you might like to know a little bit about it.

Wild daffodils in roadside verges, and the blush of new growth on the trees are the usual signs that spring has Bemptpn cliffsarrived. But in this part of the world there is an even more spectacular sight. We call it  Seabird City.

The spectacular 400ft high chalk cliffs at Bempton, between Scarborough and Bridlington, provide the RSPB with one of its most important UK seabird nesting sites.

Every year from April to August more than 200,000 birds put on a magnificent show as they fly back and forth into the North Sea, catching and bringing fish to feed their young.

 

The cacophony of noise as the gannets, guillemots, razorbills, kittiwakes, puffins and fulmars, go about their business, is ear splitting. Nests perch precariously on narrow cliff ledges, but hardly any youngsters ever fall out. The sights, sounds and smells of these bird nurseries have to be experienced to be believed.

 

And before long the visitors will be cramming into the viewing areas for ringside seats to watch the young chicks making their first faltering flights.

 

Bempton BirdsThankfully these birds and their nesting sites are protected, but it was a different story a hundred years ago when local men, known as ‘climmers’ would abseil down the sheer cliff face on ropes to collect the birds’ eggs in baskets. This film shows how they did it.

It’s incredible to believe that these people would risk their lives for the pittance they must have got from selling the eggs to local shops, even more incredible that no-one seemed to see any wrong in it.

 

Seabird City is a wonderful free day out for all the family. If you live anywhere close (or even if you don’t) it is well worth a visit.

Maybe I’ll see you there. Rx

Comments 6

  1. That is awful about the red kites and buzzards. We don’t get red kites here, but when we visit our son in Buckinghamshire, we always see several – and what a sight they are!

    The Yorkshire coast is beautiful – I’d love to visit Seabird City. Thank goodness their eggs are no longer taken. I love waking in the early hours and hearing the gulls calling before all the smaller birds have woken up x

    1. Post
      Author

      It’s particularly sad about the red kites, Teresa, because these wonderful birds were only introduced to the Black Isle area a few years ago, and until now they have thrived.
      On a happier note though, Seabird City is a wonderful place to get right up close to thousands of nesting seabirds without in any way intruding on them. Your grandchildren would love it. Mine certainly do. Rx

  2. I get so angry about these horrific needless killings. My tween book, Summer of the Eagles, is set on a Scottish island and includes villainous bird/egg poachers in the theme. Love your photos.

    1. Post
      Author

      An even sadder thing about these senseless killings, Rosemary, is that at this time of year all these birds would be caring for young, or eggs, so the problem is multiplied. Rx

    1. Post
      Author

      It’s awful, isn’t it. It looks like some kind of mass poisoning is going on, and the numbers of casualties is so high (and getting higher) because these birds all feed together. Mindless cruelty!

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