Dramatic footage shows buzzard snatching osprey chick from its nest

An osprey chick being snatched from its nest by a buzzard has been captured in dramatic video footage.

The clipshows the chick’s mother flying away from the nest and a buzzard swooping in.

Rural businessowner Euan Webster saw the chick being taken by the buzzard at his property Lochter in Aberdeenshire. The chick was one of two that had hatched at the nest.

The half eaten carcass of the osprey chick was recovered near the nest earlier this week and it was confirmed on Wednesday that it is to be handed over to SASA (Science & Advice for Scottish Agriculture, the ScottishGovernment laboratories) for proper analysis.

Mr Webster has 24/7 video surveillance on the nest for both wildlife watching for the enjoyment of the public in addition to protecting the rare ospreys.

He said: “This was a shocking act and clearly demonstrates why something needs to be done to control buzzards. It cannot be right that the buzzard remains protected yet they swarm over the countryside in large numbers eating prey, including iconic and beautiful birds such as ospreys, at will.

“Any farmer or shepherd will tell you about the threat from buzzards yet the powers that be are reluctant to face up to the fact that sooner rather than later measures have to put in place to control them. This incident should sound alarm bells among those who care about the conservation of our rarer wild birds such as ospreys in Scotland.

“As a former chairman of the Game & Wildlife Conservation Trust’s Grampian regional group I am an enthusiastic believer in balanced and managed conservation. I know research by the trust is suggesting buzzards are active predators that may well be affecting conservation of birds in some parts of Scotland.

“However, I was not prepared to have buzzards active predatory behaviours so clearly demonstrated right under my nose. It would be a great shame if we could not find a way to reduce the very clear predation pressure from this now ubiquitous predator.”

Buzzard numbers have been growing steadily since the 1980s and numbers in Scotland are now at record levels.

Douglas McAdam, chief executive of Scottish Land and Estates, said: “While previous reports of such predation have been brushed off by those who do not like the reality of what is happening in the countryside, this video provides the sad but clear and conclusive evidence of the serious impact that this growing population of buzzards is now having.

“The time has surely come for common sense to prevail and for measures to be introduced to be able to properly protect these wild birds and other species that we value so highly. The need to strike a proper balance is now well overdue.”


Gamekeeper left buzzard to starve in Glenlyon crow trap

A gamekeeper left a buzzard to starve to death after it was caught in a trap used legally for trapping crows.

A buzzard became trapped in a licensed cage and was unable to escape

Jonathan Graham, 30, of Foss, was supposed to have dismantled the trap on the Glenlyon Estate, near Pitlochry, Perth Sheriff Court heard.

After the buzzard got trapped, Graham did not open the cage door wide enough to allow the bird to escape.

He admitted to failing to inspect the trap every 24 hours as he was obliged to do, leading to the bird’s death.

Graham was banned from using trap cages for five years and fined £450.

RSPB Scotland has welcomed the conviction.

When the buzzard became trapped, Graham used a bucket to keep the cage door ajar rather than remove it completely as he should have done, the court heard.

Decomposing remains

Fiscal depute Shona McJannett told the court that gamekeepers could use the licensed cages, but had to carry out checks on them every 24 hours at least.

She said: “In Scotland, all wild birds enjoy a high degree of protection from the law.

“It is vital the cages are checked because they don’t discriminate the birds within them.”

Tayside Police were called to the estate by a walker and found the decomposing remains of a buzzard within the cage on 27 February last year.

Solicitor David McKie, defending, said Graham should have removed the cage door.

He said a fine would mean his client would be “rendered almost unemployable” as a gamekeeper because he would not be able to operate a licence to control wild birds.

Sheriff Robert McCreadie said case involved “a dereliction of the duty owed to all wild birds”.