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BIRD NOTES With Julian Hughes [...].

BIRD NOTES With Julian Hughes SUPPORTERS and critics of pheasant shooting have traded blows on social media all week, prompted by a legal challenge from campaign group Wild Justice against the government in England.

Wild Justice argues that allowing gamebirds to be released into the countryside should require a government assessment under the EU Habitats Directive.

An estimated 43m pheasants and 9m red-legged partridges were released in the UK in 2012, according to the GWCT, which has not published figures since.

While the legal case is being taken in England, the laws are identical in Wales, where GWCT says pheasant shooting occurs in 5% of Wales' woodlands, compared to 28% in England.

Were Wild Justice to win its case, governments would be challenged to find the science to assess the ecological impact of releasing gamebirds.

A recent British Trust for Ornithology (BTO) study estimates around 45,000 tonnes of birds are released, more than twice the combined weight of Britain's native breeding birds.

The BTO study found a relationship between gamebird releases and numbers of buzzards, crows, jays and ravens: they say that gamebird releases boost numbers of these predators.

Since crow predation is implicated in preventing the recovery of birds such as curlew and lapwing, understand- ing the consequences of gamebird releases on native wildlife is important, whatever the courts decide.

| RSPB Cors Ddyga continues to host a Savi's warbler, great white egret and two spoonbills, and an elusive purple heron.

A knot has spent the week at RSPB Conwy and 14 common sandpipers were on the Clwyd estuary on Sunday.

Ten med gulls - one colour-ringed in France - were at Penrhos Coastal Park, with another 18 at Pwllheli harbour over the weekend.

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Publication:Daily Post (Conwy, Wales)
Geographic Code:4EUUK
Date:Jul 25, 2019
Words:283
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