Birds of prey find a warmer wel­come

Kentish Express Ashford & District - - COUNTRYFILE - by Nick Cullen

BUZ­ZARDS are on the up in the Gar­den of Eng­land, where they have tended to re­ceive a frosty re­cep­tion in the past.

Bri­tain’s most com­mon large bird of prey has tra­di­tion­ally had lower pop­u­la­tions along the east coast, be­cause of the more zeal­ous game­keep­ers there.

But now it seems hearts are warm­ing to th­ese feath­ered preda­tors, who now have an es­ti­mated breed­ing pop­u­la­tion in Kent of around 100 pairs, ac­cord­ing to the Royal So­ci­ety for the Pro­tec­tion of Birds (RSPB).

It seems they are par­tic­u­larly keen on the wood­land around Ash­ford, with sight­ings re­ported from Ham­street to Chal­lock.

Gor­don Al­li­son, an RSPB war­den for the north Kent marshes, said: “There’s not been any or­gan­ised sur­vey, cer­tainly, but the recorded sight­ings are in­creas­ing and it’s a re­flec­tion of more birds in the area.

“I think in the past in the east coast of Eng­land they’ve suf­fered a fair bit of per­se­cu­tion from game­keep­ers and any sort of birds with talons have been re­garded as pests, so right up the east coast of the coun­try they’ve been quite scarce.

“They’ve al­ways been re­stricted to the west part of the UK, where they are very com­mon.

“ It’s one of the three com­mon­est species of birds of prey, af­ter the kestrel and spar­rowhawk.”

“Now they seem to be com­ing back nat­u­rally.”

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