Reduction in persecution

Several species, particularly raptors and corvids, used to be held way below their natural population level by human persecution. Corvids, especially Carrion Crows and Magpies, were trapped or shot on many farms and estates, but fewer are taken these days; both species have spread to breed closer to man. These two species were already amongst the top ten most widespread breeding species in 1978–84, and have consolidated that position now in the breeding and wintering seasons. In the last twenty years, Peregrines and Ravens have become established as breeding birds in the county, and Buzzard, Raven and Sparrowhawk are all in the top twelve of the table showing increases in the number of tetrads with breeding presence since our First Atlas.

Ironically, now that some of these species are achieving a more widespread status, some individuals and organizations are arguing for predatory birds to be killed, often invoking the false equation between nests being robbed or small birds being killed and population declines amongst some prey species.