Anyone up for a Spot of Red Kite Shooting?

August 7th, 2010

Though I’m aware that taking pot shots at birds of prey is generally considered unsporting, there are so many in the part of mid-Wales I’m staying right now that I think they almost qualify as a pest. Plus, of course, it would really, really, REALLY annoy the RSPB. And annoying the RSPB, to my mind, is such a noble and worthwhile task it’s kind of the modern equivalent of being a medieval peasant and doing the pilgrimage to Santiago de Compostella or dying of dysentry on the Crusades: it earns you a top tier seat in the kingdom of heaven because, you know what? Even GOD hates the RSPB, that’s how awful it is.

Why does God hate the RSPB so much? Well, obviously I can’t presume to enter the brain of the Almighty, but I suspect that in general terms He loathes the organisation’s cant and hypocrisy and weaselly leftishness (God, of course, being a true Tory) and that what really got His goat specifically this week was the story about the declining kestrel population.

The RSPB, with wearisome inevitability, blamed it on “intensive farming.” Does the kestrel’s decline really have anything to do with intensive farming? Of course not. As the Country Landowners Association pointed out in response some 70 per cent of all farmland in England is now covered by agri-environment schemes: there has certainly been no increase in intensive farming in the last five years.

No, there are two far more likely culprits – as several sensible letters in the Telegraph pointed out his week – and both, funnily enough, are heartily endorsed by the RSPB. The first is wind farms, which have been implicated in any number of raptor deaths, yet to which the RSPB remains ideologically committed.

And the second is other, larger, birds of prey – such as the once rare but now absurdly overabundant red kite and the sea eagle, another voracious predator species which the raptor-obsessed RSPB is so keen to re-establish in Britain regardless of the environmental consequences.

“We speak out for birds and wildlife, tackling the problems that threaten our environment. Nature is amazing – help us keep it that way,” declares the RSPB on its website’s home page

But in fact this is at best partially true. For one thing, if the RSPB really cared about the “environment” and keeping nature “amazing”, the last thing it would be doing would be lending its considerable muscle to supporting the wholesale destruction of the British countryside with wind farms. For another, the RSPB seems to have an exceedingly feeble understanding of what it is that makes our natural world amazing.

A survey a few years ago showed that biodiversity on an RSPB managed sanctuary in Wales wasn’t nearly as great on that of private, gamekeeper-run grouse estates. How so? Well, because proper country people – as opposed to the right-on eco types who tend to be attracted to a heavily politicised activist body like the RSPB – understand that the apparent naturalness of the British countryside is in fact the result of generations of management by humans. Predator species are kept in check (usually by the destruction of their eggs; or in the case of foxes, by hunting or shooting) so that as many species as possible are able to live together in balance. Hunting, shooting and fishing folk are generally far better conservationists than bien-pensant RSPB/RSPCA/WWF bunny huggers, because they don’t sentimentalise nature.

Some of you may be disappointed to find me blogging about kestrels and the RSPB instead of “global warming.” You shouldn’t be, though, because it all connects. If you want to understand why it all connects, I heartily recommend Melanie Phillips’s superb new book The World Upside Down: The Global Battle Over Truth, God and Power, which she summarises in this Standpoint article.

Mel rightly sees a connection between the death of Judaeo-Christian values and the growth such modern secular religions as environmentalism. These new secular religions claim to revere reason and evidence and “science” but they are in fact every bit as dogmatic and averse to contradiction as any of those old religions they have displaced.

Just like their medieval forbears, these modern millennarians persecute dissenters from the faith. Academics teaching evidentiary problems with evolutionary theory are fired. Scientists expressing scepticism of man-made global warming theory find they cannot get grant funding. Scientific research journals are closed to them and they are subjected to vicious ad hominem attacks, with some Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change scientists bullied into telling lies about the science.

Defenders of national identity and traditional morality are vilified as racists, homophobes, Islamophobes or xenophobes. Jews expressing outrage at the lies and libels being used to delegitimise Israel are denounced for “dual loyalty”, demonised as part of a global conspiracy to harm the world and ostracised socially and professionally.

How does this apply to the RSPB and kestrels? Well, like so many environmental NGOs, the RSPB is prey to certain over-riding religious tenets which trump all reason. For example, it believes that man is the problem not the solution (ergo it cannot bring itself to support proper, intelligent, old-school country estate management, never mind how effective it is); and it is ideologically committed to the concept of Anthropogenic Global Warming (ergo it feels it has to campaign for “renewable energy” such as wind farms, even though these are proven to destroy the very creatures the RSPB is supposed to be saving).

(to read more, click here)

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15 Responses to “Anyone up for a spot of red kite shooting?”

  1. Alan Tilmouth says:August 7, 2010 at 10:08 amThis post/story is littered with factual inaccuracies, if you can’t even be bothered to get your facts correct how can you possibly begin to offer any sensible comment.1. Wind Turbines, There are 2908 operational wind turbines in the UK, scientific surveys have shown that they kill 0.19 Common Kestrels each per annum. That represents c550 individuals from a population of c37,000 breeding pairs.

    2. Larger Raptors, Red Kite do not prey on smaller raptors they feed on Carrion, nor do Common Buzzards and to cite White-tailed Sea Eagle that have a population size of of c40-50 pairs almost all on the West coast of Scotland is beyond laughable. They could not eat that amount of Kestrels if you caught them, cooked them and served them up on a silver platter.

    What you completely fail to mention is that the most likely cause of the Kestrel population decline is the indiscriminate use of poisons including the banned substance Carbofuran to kill rodents. These poisons are present in around 70% of the livers of Kestrels tested by the independent Predatory Bird Monitoring Scheme and build up as Kestrels repeatedly catch rodents that have been poisoned.
    Either your research (assuming you did any) was sloppy or you deliberately ignored it as most poisons are put out by farmers and landowners, your mates at the CLA will probably be able to tell you all about it.

    For the record I am not an RSPB member.

  2. John of Kent says:August 7, 2010 at 1:34 pmBirds of prey have been protected far too much and for far to long to the extent that their huge numbers are now having a detrimental effect on their prey. Garden birds, such as the Robin and Sparrow are falling prey to the large numbers of birds of prey and the RSPB then wonders why the sparrow numbers are diminishing????It is because their predators are not being controlled. Now we have a healthy breeding populaton of birds of prey, it is time they were controlled to give the smaller birds a chance. Another example of environmentalists meddling with things they don’t understand (nature) and getting it badly wrong again- just like with CO2 and global warming!
  3. Jerry Jolly says:August 8, 2010 at 9:54 amSuch ignorance is remarkable. Red kites feed on carrion, they do not take live robins or sparrows but what can you expect from an idiot who idolises the vacuous Mealanie Phillips and can’t even spell dysentery.
  4. Mark Skevington says:August 8, 2010 at 10:29 amIs this a satirical blog? Or are you being outrageously controversial for some comedic reason? Or could it be that you simply have absolutely no clue about British bird populations, conservation, the food chain etcIt’s a long while since I encountered such a load of twaddle.
  5. Mal Taylor says:August 8, 2010 at 9:59 pmI am truly amazed at the incredible level of ignorance achieved by the writer of this article. If I knew as little about a subject as Mr Delingpole does on this particular topic, then I would simply not write about it. My 9 year old son has a better grasp on predator / prey relationships than the author of this twaddle!Mal Taylor (a proud member of the RSPB along with one million others!)
  6. EyeSee says:August 10, 2010 at 8:27 amOops a daisy. It does look like an off-day posting, James. Totally agree that institutions like the RSPB rarely put much thought into their reason for existing, but rather more into political and ideological projects. I do like the selective nature of the people upbraiding you for remarks of the eating habits of Red Kites. They eat carrion our experts shout. Well they do, but why not mention that they are quite happy to take small mammals and the like? How much of a sin is that lack of accuracy?I have to say, driving from Aylesbury to High Wycombe the sky seems full of Red Kites and a majestic sight it is too.

    Is 550 raptors killed per year acceptable? Our helpful correspondent doesn’t say. Would it be OK for just anyone to kill 550 birds a year? Randomly. I thought people shooting birds was a heinous crime in the left-liberal book of sanctimony, because it was pointless. But killing them with a pointless machine is satisfactory. This lack of consistency, logic and reliance on an ability to ignore hypocrisy when it is your own, is why I can never get into the ranks of the especially-good-hearted left-liberal.

  7. George says:August 11, 2010 at 8:37 amI think what’s most shocking about all of this, is the surprise which some commentators are expressing in relation to James’ lack of research. This is James Delingpole. THE James Delingpole. Renowned for utterly failing to present anything approaching the truth, nor substantiated by anything approaching a fact.Thanks to Alan Tilmouth, for his informative and corrective post, and thanks to John of Kent, for his ignorance, which quite frankly made my morning.
  8. tiggy says:August 11, 2010 at 11:50 amWhy not Scotland(avoiding its raging burns of course) this year?
  9. Frank Tavos says:August 11, 2010 at 1:40 pmClearly, George, you haven’t read any of Delingpole’s novels. They are extremely well researched. He does not have a reputation for untruthfulness, such as you have alleged in your post, except perhaps in your own closed mind.I don’t know why I bother responding to people like you who have already drunk the liberal-left Kool-aid. Total waste of time.
  10. George says:August 11, 2010 at 3:27 pmQuiet right Frank. Reading Delingpole’s novels would involve spending money, which would inevitably filter down into Delingpole’s faux-aristocratic mitts, to be spent on private education for his mini-mes. Judging by the standard of his articles, actually buying his books would represent a colossal waste of money akin to the financial blackhole that was the Labour Government’s new NHS IT system.Personally I’d rather stick it in the charity jar.
  11. Pete says:August 12, 2010 at 10:53 amIf the RSPB really wanted to effect numbers of garden birds positively, they would instigate a cull on Magpies.One pair of Magpies has taken over 18 chicks, and dozens of eggs, from my small 1/3 acre plot this year alone.
  12. John of Kent says:August 13, 2010 at 9:02 am“Pete says:
    August 12, 2010 at 10:53 amIf the RSPB really wanted to effect numbers of garden birds positively, they would instigate a cull on Magpies.

    One pair of Magpies has taken over 18 chicks, and dozens of eggs, from my small 1/3 acre plot this year alone.”

    Well said Pete, but it is not just Magpies. My personal experience of this problem- My folks in Scotland kept 120+ (approx) garden song birds alive for years on their small holding by feeding them though the harsh Scottish winter- including sparrows, blackbirds, robins etc. Last year when I visited the folks, their garden bird population has been decimated by Sparrowhawks- yes birds of prey- which farmers are sadly no longer allowed to shoot.
    These birds have absolutely no fear of humans anymore as we are no longer their predator. The final straw for my Dad was when one of these hawks killed some of his budgies- one of then had a death grip on the poor budgie through the chicken wire that surrounded the budgie enclosure- and would not let go- despite being hit with a stick- these birds of prey are now a pest and a menace as James D correctly blogs about- and they need to be controlled.

    Shame on the RSPB and shame on most the posters above for posting misinformation and slandering James good name!

  13. John of Kent says:August 13, 2010 at 9:05 am“#
    George says:
    August 11, 2010 at 8:37 amI think what’s most shocking about all of this, is the surprise which some commentators are expressing in relation to James’ lack of research. This is James Delingpole. THE James Delingpole. Renowned for utterly failing to present anything approaching the truth, nor substantiated by anything approaching a fact.

    Thanks to Alan Tilmouth, for his informative and corrective post, and thanks to John of Kent, for his ignorance, which quite frankly made my morning.
    #

    George, you are the one showing your ignorance – please take back what you said as you do not know what you are talking about! Shame on you….

  14. George says:August 13, 2010 at 4:38 pmJohn of Kent,Did you flunk O-level biology? You know how animal populations and prey/predator ratios work right? If there are, in fact, “too many” birds of prey, they will rapidly decimate their own food chain, and their numbers will subsequently decline.

    It is human intervention – which you propose – which causes all the problems. Left to their own devices, birds of prey will find their niche in the British eco-system and enrich all of our lives.

    You make lots of mistakes in your posts, not least when you insinuate that we were once ‘predators’ to sparrowhawks. Shooting something and then not eating it does not match any definition of predatory I’ve ever heard.

    Back to school for you. Preferably not JD’s school of half-truth and bluster.

  15. Norman of Dorset says:August 26, 2010 at 10:16 pmWell Done JDI will forgive a few minor inaccuracies – the general tone of your piece was spot on. The RSPB have had it their own way for far too long, infiltrating Whitehall with their vested interest in countryside legislation.

    The RSPB need to check their facts a little more closely too – did I see a retraction and apology in a recent publication for false reporting again about raptor poisoning. Its always been a good money spinner for them when Joe Public thinks that wicked gamekeepers are out to get every buzzard, kite and harrier that ever takes to the wing.

    The most recent fraud is their complaint that the Herring Gull is now a species in decline and needs special protection! I don’t see many twitchers camped out on out local landfill site hoping to get a rare sight of Larus argentatus.

    Well on a recent visit to Dorset, I see that they have reached far into their coffers to spend thousands on enormous bill boards all over the county appealing to Oliver Letwin to leave them out of the next round of funding cuts! The warden was bleating on the local radio about what impact cuts might (hopefully) have on them.

    I’m not a natural conservative voter but if Oliver and his friends can put the RSPB mafia onto the endangered species list then he will get my vote every time.

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