Predatory Birds and their Economic Status

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    THE British Field Sports Society is pursuing an enlightened policy in endeavouring to educate gamekeepers and others in the identification of predatory birds and in recognizing the economic standing of each species, so that only those seriously harmful to game and other wild birds should be destroyed. In a foreword to a pamphlet of 83 pages, just published by the Society and entitled “Predatory Birds of Great Britain” (price 2s. post free), an appeal is made to gamekeepers and their employers to see that the law regarding the protection of such birds is known and enforced, and the knowledge is made easy by lists embodied in the pamphlet showing the amount of protection given in each British country to each predatory bird. The main part of the pamphlet, by Eric Parker, consists of short descriptions of the birds themselves, with illustrations by G. E. Lodge, and brief notes upon range and feeding habits. The last set out very fairly the main character of the birds' food, though we note that the little owl is condemned, contrary to the findings of the Report of the British Trust for Ornithology, that the author does not realize that the damage done by rooks depends not so much upon their numbers as upon the kind of farming where they occur, and that the black-headed gull in Scotland is condemned on the strength of one opinion for its destruction of eggs and young birds. That is an opinion not shared on balance by Scottish county councils, which, by the way, obtain county orders from the Secretary of State for Scotland and not from the Home Secretary.

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    Predatory Birds and their Economic Status. Nature 143, 974 (1939) doi:10.1038/143974a0

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