learn that the tree in which they nested has been cut down just 5 days after these precious birds had laid eggs; it was a deliberate intent to destroy the nest and the birds. It was the first such nest in the east of Scotland for 150 years.
[caption id="attachment_1266" align="alignleft" width="150"] A safe red kite in Wales[/caption]
It happens regularly that remarkable and scarce birds often only found in Scotland are found dead, shot or poisoned, and it is no coincidence that almost invariably there is a link with lands used for commercial shooting. Gamekeepers and landowners are known to dislike the larger birds which may take their game birds – never enough to make a difference, and bred to be shot down by wealthy heartless paying guests – and sometimes to take steps to ensure it does not happen, regardless of the law, the rarity value, and the cruelty.
For years the police and the Scottish government have wrung their hands in apathy as influential shooting estate owners and farmers deny involvement and possibly protect the criminals, but now, at last, something may be done to reinforce the law and deter these wanton acts. As the landowners’ organisation, Scottish Land and Estates, defended its members yesterday, the Environment Minister Paul Wheelhouse has promised to introduce new measures to prevent the persecution of birds of prey. Perhaps the white-tailed sea eagles will prove the tipping point, along with exasperated public opinion, and the Scottish wonders of nature will be given the protection they deserve.