Page last updated at 09:32 GMT, Friday, 21 August 2009 10:32 UK

Bird 'conflict' solution outlined

Hen harrier
The RSPB hopes to resolve the conflict between hen harriers and grouse

The RSPB has urged moor managers to use new techniques to resolve the conflict between hen harriers and red grouse.

It said a demonstration project at Langholm in Dumfries and Galloway has shown a potential solution.

The organisation has suggested that "diversionary feeding" should be explored as an alternative to killing hen harriers on grouse shooting moors.

The introduction of golden eagles to settle and breed near grouse moors is another potential solution.

The RSPB said hen harrier numbers have been kept low due to illegal killing and disturbance over several decades.

The birds of prey eat red grouse chicks and other animals and can lead to driven grouse shooting becoming "economically unviable".

Work together

There have been suggestions that the law should be changed to allow birds of prey to be culled on grouse moors.

However, the RSPB has said that in Langholm the diversionary feeding technique has reduced the number of grouse taken by hen harriers by 86%.

RSPB Uplands Conservation Officer Dr Pat Thompson said it was time for moorland managers and conservationists to work together.

He said: "The next step is for grouse moor managers to adopt techniques such as diversionary feeding more widely and demonstrate that driven grouse moor management is compatible with bird of prey conservation."



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