Birds of prey in the UK: On a wing and a prayer
Birds of prey in the UK: On a Wing and a Prayer is a report produced by 26 organisations, which attempts to address some of these controversies, relying on fact rather than anecdote.
The report describes the status of our birds of prey, provides a brief history of their conservation, and, with an eye to the future, explains why we must do more to protect these birds.
Many birds of prey have recovered spectacularly from historical human interference and the debilitating effects of organochlorine pesticide poisoning, representing a conservation and cultural success story. However, much still needs to be done to secure the future for species including the golden eagle and hen harrier, the populations of which continue to be limited by illegal killing.
It is therefore essential that birds of prey continue to receive full legal protection and that our wildlife laws are properly enforced, bringing an end to the illegal killing.
The 26 organisations that have endorsed this report represent a diverse set of backgrounds, interests and experience, and collectively reflect the interests of more than 7 million people - a powerful voice demanding strong protection for some of our most iconic species. This demonstrates how highly regarded birds of prey are. Their fate is a concern for anyone who cares about our countryside.
From this page you can access the main report, summaries of the main messages contained within it and a series of factual briefing sheets which go into more detail on specific issues often associated with birds of prey.
Why should we protect birds of prey?
In more detail
The historical decline of birds of prey
Bird of prey destruction increased dramatically during the 19th Century when game shooting became widespread.
The road to recovery
Most UK bird of prey populations have recovered significantly during the last century.
Racing pigeons and birds of prey
Predation by birds of prey accounts for only a small proportion of losses of racing pigeons
Despite the improvements and successes, humans still pose a threat to birds of prey.
Become a Bird of Prey Defender
You can help the RSPB’s Investigations Team fight for the future of birds like hen harriers by becoming a Bird of Prey Defender for just £3 a month, or through a one-off donation.