From Birdwatch on-line:
From Birdwatch on-line:
Colin; I once saw a programme about Eagle Owls. Seemed pretty balanced. And I was astonished to hear from one of the 'experts' studying these birds on the Continent saying how they're absolute fiends for preying on Raptors.
I'm not sure if they even know whether it's a true dietary preference, or wether it's down to competition elimination. But, there it is. They're seemingly well known for it.
I am surprised that this did not get more replies. The same article was published on the BirdGuides weekly bulletin and generated a lot of responses, including several from myself ( http://www.birdguides.com/webzine/ar...ments=y&a=2139 ). I am one of the "anti" Eagle Owl brigade. The vast majority (maybe all?) of the U.K. birds are escapes and something really ought to be done to regulate falconers and breeders more rigorously (stricter licensing plus ringing and micro-chipping of birds).
This species is at the top of the avian food chain. I have several pairs nesting quite close to where I live and I have seen the carnage they can cause. They are certainly magnificent birds, but anyone wanting to re-introduce them into the U.K. is playing with dynamite. If it was just a few natural immigrants from the continent then that is fair enough, and natural, but this large number of escaped birds (from an estimated 3,000+ in captivity) ought, in my opinion, to be culled.
P.S. An interesting photo:
Last edited by Colin Key; June 19th, 2010 at 07:20 PM.
Colin; To be perfectly honest, I don't think that entire debate really even came close to any answers. It was just too fundamentally emotive, for my tastes.
More than half the consensus ~ from a single, casual read through ~ appeared to be based around the view that 'All 'Shooters' etc. are the devil incarnate and should be stopped. Period.
Then there's ye own camp, which seems to suggest Evil Owls, no matter what their provenance, should be vanquished from the island.
Rest seemed to churn itself up amongst Mute Swans, Eastern Europeans and lord knows what.
OK. It's late. It's 'Saturday Night'. I'm not even That bothered to start with. But, I have this thought buzzing round in my head; HH's seem to have done alright before. As in, back in the days when no one questioned what Gamekeepers wiped out. And there were far more Gamekeepers too.
I wonder ....? The last HH nest I heard of getting 'publicly' wrecked, like this? It was foxes. 'RSPB Proven' job, like this too.
Can't help but wonder who's pulling which strings on this one.
OK, MichaelF, as indicated by my statement that " I'm not even That bothered to start with. ", I'm not. I have no axe to grind here.
Some source citations would help me while away some boring times though, if ye have any, please? Otherwise, this 'It's the Gamekeepers!' chant is starting to sound like Yahoo Answers / Pets, 'Take It To A Vet! / Castrate It!'. Thanks.
See, I genuinely find myself on the fence over this issue.
As you appear to have highlighted; I'm no expert on HH's.
I am not, and never have been a Gamekeeper.
Would ye know how many HH nests have been recorded as pillaged by foxes (Hedgehogs, what ever)?
In fact, if so many HH's are wiped out by Gamekeepers; Would this not suggest that they 'could' only survive on the places Gamekeepers lurk ~ if the GK's would just stop killing them?
If not; Why are they not thriving on land void of GK's? What am I missing here?
Why would a GK of 'The Old School', taught and trained that Anything with hooked beak or claw must be hung on the gibbet, kill HH's and yet let Evil Owls drift by?
Sorry. Just too many unanswered questions here to let this one be settled by sound bites.
As Colin implies; The lack of discussion is, of itself, interesting. I feel so, anyway. Is this a raw nerve?
As far as the British List is concerned, Eagle Owl has not occured naturally in Britain since the end of the last ice age and certainly not since the land bridge with the continent was lost.
This is all set out in the BOU paper, The Eagle Owl in Britain, published in British Birds in 2008 which is now free to view online courtesy of BB.
In this paper you will note the Independent Bird Register's statistics on captive Eagle Owls in Britain and their susceptibility to escape.
Mammals listed by Mikkola as prey items found during the EO breeding season (data from Estonia, Finland and Sweden) include Badger, Red Fox, Roe Deer and lambs. So the photo above of an EO with Red Fox might be genuine.
Mikkola, H. 1983. Owls of Europe. T & AD Poyser, Carlton.