One of my news alerts brought a comment/blog type posting from one James Delingpole on-line at The Telegraph today. Clearly attempting to be controversial it was entitled 'Anyone Up For a Spot of Red Kite Shooting?'
Please read it, as most of the people that bother to read my blog are reasonably interested in birds and probably even the least experienced will be left incredulous at the unbelievable lack of research and accuracy. Opinion stated as fact and obviously existing in a totally different time and space to the rest of us.
In a nutshell JD blames the decline in the Common Kestrel population on Wind Turbines, Red Kites and White-tailed Sea eagles, no really, he does.
So the 2908 operational wind turbines in the UK, wind turbines that survey work has shown kill roughly c.0.19 Common Kestrel per turbine per annum are one of the main reasons for a huge decline in the last few years. They account for c.550 birds per annum from a current breeding population estimated to be c.37,000 pairs.
As for Red Kites and White-tailed Sea Eagles, Red Kites, whilst pre-dominantly feeding on carrion do also catch live prey and birds do form a part of this. However again study work in Wales for example examined 764 pellets and found 36 species of bird, funnily enough Kestrel wasn't one of them.
His suggestion that White-tailed Sea Eagles are to blame, to be honest, I won't insult even the casual reader in offering an explanation for this absurd piece of nonsense.
Whilst I may be being naive I am simply shocked that The Telegraph can publish and pay for this rubbish, he obviously hasn't got a clue what he's talking about when it comes to birds and favours 'intelligent, old-school country estate management' (an oxymoron if ever I've seen one). Not much point leaving a comment at The Telegraph as it's full of nearly 400, mostly stupid comments by bored young blokes who not being able to terrorise foxes have resorted to fiddling about on the Internet. Do please visit his website above and let him know how you feel about his piece though I'm sure he will just love the fan-mail.
Be warned though it might not get published as JD obviously isn't up to dealing with criticism, I left a comment at 10:04 this morning, he has moderated a comment at 13:34 supporting his views but mine is yet to appear....