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Falcons are modern success story.

WHILST I agree that the tale of the young falcon recovered in Huddersfield is newsworthy, I am less comfortable with you telling the story in the terms that you did.

The peregrine can only be considered to be rare in the UK as a consequence of its biology - it requires largish territories with suitable nest sites in which to breed, together with a strong prey-base. Thus it will never be common, in garden bird terms.

There have however never been more peregrines in the country than their are today. Their recovery from the pesticide era has been an enormous success.

For numerous reasons a fair number of youngsters are found, rescued and brought into captivity each year and the majority of these are cared for and ultimately released by falconers. This is done under licence and is a longstanding commitment many falconers make to the health of our wild raptor populations without payment or desire for publicity.

Indeed it is likely the rescued youngster from Huddersfield will end up with a falconer to release or at the very least, will be trained and hacked back to the wild using falconry techniques.

In recent years there have been very few prosecutions of falconers for wild peregrine theft. Our registering, closed ringing and DNA tracing has meant such habits are largely consigned to the past. That UK falconers steal peregrines from the wild is an old slur.

When we look at our most magnificent native falcon, the peregrine, I feel it is far more appropriate to focus on the great conservation success story that falconers have contributed to, rather than recycling old views peddled by the illinformed.

Dr Gordon Mellor, chairman, The Hawk Board

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Publication:Huddersfield Daily Examiner (Huddersfield, England)
Date:Sep 5, 2019
Words:282
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