Birds of prey find a warmer welcome
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.”