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Natural England issues licences for taking peregrine falcons from the wild for falconry

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By Dave Slater, Natural England's Director for wildlife licensing.

Yesterday (15 April) we granted licences for three falconers to permit the taking of a small number (six in total) of peregrine falcon chicks from the wild for use in falconry. Each falconer intends to take one male and one female chick to form a breeding programme with the other licensees.

We understand that some people may have questions and concerns over the taking of birds from the wild and so I wanted to outline more about our decision.

A peregrine falcon. Credit: Pixabay
A peregrine falcon. Credit: Pixabay

We issue wildlife licences for a range of purposes, and falconry and aviculture are listed as purposes for which licences can be granted under the legislation. This includes the potential to take a small number of birds from the wild for these pursuits – but only if strict welfare and conservation conditions are met. The taking of birds from the wild for these purposes is also practised in a number of other European countries.

 Our expert staff have taken care to ensure the strict legal tests have been met, and that there will be no negative conservation impacts to the population. To ensure this is the case, the licence holders need to meet a number of conditions before they can take any chicks from the wild. We have also put in place strict conditions to safeguard the welfare of any chicks taken, and we will be closely monitoring the operation throughout.

Conservation status of peregrine falcons

Peregrine falcons have a conservation status of green which means they are widespread and their numbers are not under threat. In fact, the species’ current range and numbers are greater than at any time since detailed recording began in the 1930s. The peregrine population has particularly increased over the last 50 years – there were just 47 breeding pairs in England by the 1970s but by 2014 this number had increased to 826 breeding pairs.

Conditions of the licence

Part of the licence assessment process is to consider the expertise of the applicants and those involved in any field work. The applicants have also had to demonstrate that they will appropriately consider, and provide for, the welfare of any chicks taken.

We are only permitting a chick to be taken from a nest where three or more chicks are present. We know from detailed studies that peregrines typically lay 3-4 eggs and that only two of these are likely to survive to adulthood. We have specified that the smallest (weakest) chick must be taken from the nest and so are only permitting the taking of a chick which would ordinarily not survive in the wild. Over the past fifty years peregrine falcon have been exceptionally well studied and surveyed in the UK, and this provides us with the confidence that any birds taken would typically not survive in the wild.

If a chick was to die, we would investigate to try and establish the cause. The taking of another chick would need a new licence application and we would need to be satisfied that the reasons for the chick’s death would not repeat themselves under any future licence application.

We will be closely monitoring the operation including through asking the applicants for evidence to ensure compliance, whilst staying within the government guidelines around Covid-19.

The applicants have declared that any birds taken, and their young, will remain within the breeding programme. In the unlikely event that a licence holder ever wishes to sell a bird, they would first need a CITES certificate for ‘commercial’ use – this would be a decision for APHA (who manage CITES in England) however we understand that such a certificate would not be issued. There are no restrictions on the movements of the birds under the licences, however a CITES certificate would need to be obtained to export any of the birds.

We have limited the licence period to two years and have the power to revoke or suspend the licence if there was evidence that the licences have been assessed on false information.

Why do these birds need to be taken from the wild?

Falconry is an ancient tradition which has been practised in England for centuries and is recognised as an ‘intangible cultural heritage of humanity’ by UNESCO. The applicants wish to breed verifiably British peregrines for use in their falconry activities, and the European Commission’s (EC) Wild Birds Directive includes reference to the sustainable use of species to fulfil cultural requirements, providing this does not affect their conservation status.

Following comprehensive discussions, we concluded that birds already held in captivity cannot provide verifiably British birds. This is because it is incredibly difficult to definitively establish the provenance of birds held in captivity due to poor documentation.

Wild peregrine falcons which have arrived in captivity due to injury are also not likely to be suitable as breeding from a bird from the wild is much more difficult than one reared by humans – they are simply not used to humans and are not as likely to breed successfully as a chick taken from the wild and reared by a human.

The above alternatives have been carefully considered by Natural England when reaching a decision. This has included the need to consider the alternatives and evidence in a manner proportionate to the likely conservation impacts which could occur from the licensable activity. In concluding our decision we have noted that there are likely to be some minor conservation benefits to the peregrine falcon population as a result of these licences; for instance in reducing the likelihood of non-native and hybrid birds escaping into the wild during falconry.

Are these licences a one-off?

These licences are intended to provide birds for a specific breeding programme and the issuing of a licence does not mean that we will issue licences for further taking of wild birds in future.

This will provide UK native peregrine falcons to falconers and potentially limit the amount of peregrines taken from the wild in the future, and it will also have the added benefit of creating a captive population on known provenance which we have never had before and would give us options in the future.

We have published the redacted licences.

In summary, while we do understand that many will find taking these magnificent birds from the wild uncomfortable - our rigorous approach has ensured that this will have no impact on populations, will be done humanely and will support legitimate and responsible falconry practices.


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  1. Comment by Richard Hargreaves posted on

    Falconry is a tradition?!! Like bear baiting, fox hunting & cock fighting, you mean?!
    What on earth are you thinking?!
    You're supposed to be protecting these very species, not allowing idiots a way to make their hobby slightly better!!
    Disgusting. A dereliction of your duty.
    Think again.

    • Replies to Richard Hargreaves>

      Comment by Jeffrey Armstrong posted on

      Wow , just wow

  2. Comment by S Alcorn-Davenport posted on

    Fox hunting is another one Of the oldy worldly outdated patriarchal traditions outgrowing your closed mindset like falconry.
    Just because you believe in “tradition” doesn’t make this behaviour of snatching wildlife or killing it for one’s sick pleasure doesn’t make it right.
    By the way, have you seen The Tiger King documentary yet?
    Leave these birds in the wild where they belong. No animals should be trained for human’s entertaining. Very disappointing decision indeed.

  3. Comment by James Smith posted on

    Absolutely disgusting decision. There is no reason to take birds from the wild, especially to simply facilitate a hobby. The licenses should be revoked, and your decision making process reviewed.
    Our birds are not for others to steal from the wild. They are for everyone.

  4. Comment by Roger Heaton posted on

    You are a disgrace

  5. Comment by Alan Thompson posted on

    What an absolute disgrace a massive groundswell of opinion and years of protection effort turned on its head to appease handful of falconers

  6. Comment by Dr Rob Thomas (Cardiff University) posted on

    Hi Dave, thanks for this blog -which perhaps raises as many questions as it answers! In the interests of transparency, and to pre-empt an expensive freedom of information request, would you be willing to publish the license application as submitted to Natural England (presumably a re-draft of the application previously submitted to Scottish Natural Heritage), along with any subsequent correspondence between the three applicants and Natural England? Many thanks.

    • Replies to Dr Rob Thomas (Cardiff University)>

      Comment by Dean Leadon posted on

      Decent idea..but the birds should only be taken for falconry...not breeding.There are far too many being bred in captivity and sold for prices up to £5000 per female...the wild birds are holding their own up to a point of saturation...also taking age must be considered...birds should not be taken as downies allowing for money should be made from wild stock as I can see the £££££s appearing in many eyes...birds should be flown/hunted and released...

      • Replies to Dean Leadon>

        Comment by William pinchers posted on

        Agree Dean there’s enough breeder of all species this should be for falconry and if for breeding then No progeny should hold a value ,even second and third generations.

      • Replies to Dean Leadon>

        Comment by Mark springthorpe posted on

        Totally agree

      • Replies to Dean Leadon>

        Comment by Jeffrey Armstrong posted on

        If there was to many getting bred they wouldn’t sell for £4000 , you can’t have it both ways

  7. Comment by Richard Goswell posted on

    Your reasons for this are valid; all EXCEPT the fundamental argument for the application behind this license: what relevance does obtaining birds of ‘British provenance’ have to the cultural value of falconry?

  8. Comment by Mike Hurst posted on

    You just couldn't make it up.
    If I saw this on April 1st I would have chuckled.
    Why doesn't anyone in the government and it's departments have an ounce of intelligence.
    It must be a requirement of the job.
    We have HS2 going back to work at this critical time in lockdown . It should be scrapped and the money spent on the NHS and now we have this announcement by Natural England.
    Has the world gone mad ?

  9. Comment by Richard Taylor posted on

    So when these birds are fully manned and trained, how much are they worth? 2k? Each female has 3-4 chicks which is 6-8k possibly more? Iv no problem with falconry as i do it myself. But people are going to make alot of money out of these licenses. For the right reasons? I dont think so

    • Replies to Richard Taylor>

      Comment by Jeffrey Armstrong posted on

      The birds taken can’t be sold as the first generation of offspring also £8000 , peregrines do not sell for this also I suspect most if not all 6 young taken will be males or tiercels due to the fact the smallest are to be taken .

    • Replies to Richard Taylor>

      Comment by Liam posted on

      Exactly my thoughts, there are plenty breeding in captivity so why remove them from the wild and interfere yet again. Because of proven wild British blood? The only person who cares is the one who wants to breed them and sell them labeled as British.
      Emirates comes to mind. I wonder what benefit it'll be to the birds in the long run? They'll never reach full potential in captivity either.

      • Replies to Liam>

        Comment by Jeff armstrong posted on

        Hi Liam your wrong , simply being in Britain breeding peregrines fills the criteria if being British unless otherwise stated . Taking a small number from the wild will have no impact what’s so ever as a big proportion of wild clutches die so removing a chick only enhances the chances of the others , another point is that in enhances the blood line in captive breeding which would be the first port of call if our wild population crashed for what ever reason

  10. Comment by Alistair Crowle posted on

    It seems to me that that this is a moral rather than nature conservation issue. I am disappointed though that some of the issues that appear to have led to this request are not being addressed nor the answer to the question of what is in it for the Peregrines? For my part, I could live with this decision more if there were conditions attached to the effect that neither the breeding birds nor their progeny could ever be taken abroad. Maybe for every 6 chicks successfully reared, 1 or 2 should be hacked back to the wild and after 4 years, all breeding birds are to be hacked back and the process starts again. To some degree, this would address the “what’s in it for peregrines” question. An additional action should be for Government to enact a ban on the cross-breeding of falcons of different species. The gyr/peregrine/sake/lanner crosses are an abuse of science and nature and cannot be said to be a cultural part of falconry. More rigorous controls on captive breeding may help prevent a repeat of the perceived need (by some), for this project in the first place.

    • Replies to Alistair Crowle>

      Comment by shaun bannister posted on

      id like to address one point in your missive and that is the one of hybridisation, i'm disappointed that someone who evidently has an understanding of falconry and birds of prey ( i agree with many of your points on the licensing subject matter) has chosen to use words such as "abuse of science and nature" when it is actually no such thing at all ,you will or should know yourself that natural cross breeding of many species has occurred and recorded many times whether that be Gyrs and Sakers in the Altai mountains ,Prairie and Peregrine, or Peregrines and Saker in Morris /Stevens garden ,to call for a ban or further restriction of a falconry aspect which can and often does bring benefits in particular of robustness to species ,really is badly researched and pitched,I can provide evidential links that completely refute and undermine that allegation

    • Replies to Alistair Crowle>

      Comment by Jeffrey Armstrong posted on

      Falcons don’t kill there siblings as a rule and are not aggressive towards each other . Small chicks die because they get crowded out at feeding time by the bigger, stronger ones but even then still usually get fed unless it’s cold . I do this for a living by the way , can you expand on where you get your information from ?

    • Replies to Alistair Crowle>

      Comment by Jeffrey Armstrong posted on

      The birds that are to taken are likely to be imprinted so cant be returned to the wild as imprinting is the best way to get the best from the gene pool of the 6 . Hybrids , gyr x Pere and the like are very important as this is what the gulf falconers like and it prevents the need for them getting their falcons from the wild do is a huge conservation point . Why not stop breeding them and breed pure falcons I hear you ask ?? Because if peregrines replaced hybrids they would go back to getting them from the wild because they are better . I suggest you make yourself more informed before talking about the subject !

      • Replies to Jeffrey Armstrong>

        Comment by Alistair Crowle posted on

        You have not made a very compelling argument for the issuing of a licence. None of the things you have said are a requirement for Peregrines to thrive in the wild. Because overseas falconers want hybrid falcons, is this any reason for those in the UK or the UK Government to go along with this? You have not addressed my point that hybridisation in this instance is unnatural and unwelcome to many. Just because something can be done does not make it a reason for doing it.

      • Replies to Jeffrey Armstrong>

        Comment by Sue Benjamins posted on

        I dont think it is necessary to tell people to "learn more" before they ask reasonable questions. Sounds pompous & defensiveto me

    • Replies to Alistair Crowle>

      Comment by shaun bannister posted on

      i disagree with your comments on hybridisation as being some form of abuse or against nature /science ,its is evident you have some knowledge of falconry and birds of prey ( i agree with many of your points on the wild take issue ) so i'm rather disappointed that you display ignorance of natural hybridisation occurring in many records,either in the wild or captivity between species such as Gyr/Saker ( the jury is still out on the Altai mountain falcons) Prairie/Peregrines ,Saker /Peregrine in Morris /Stevens's back garden, so its far from unnatural or an abuse of science or nature and from a falconry perspective can introduce hybrid vigour.
      the modern day willingness to call for bans for anything that you dont agree with is far too common these days

  11. Comment by Chris Little posted on

    This is disgusting

  12. Comment by david lillywhite posted on

    is this how you treat OUR wildlife not YOURS.Shame on you.

  13. Comment by Russell Finney posted on

    Falconry is an ancient tradition which has been practised in England for centuries and is recognised as an ‘intangible cultural heritage of humanity’ by UNESCO

    We also use to sacrifice humans and animals for religion many moons ago but we move on...
    Just because its an ancient tradition DOES NOT MAKE IT RIGHT or LEGAL!

    How much are fully grown and trained birds worth? Will these so called falconers be putting this amount in to conservation, I think not.

    • Replies to Russell Finney>

      Comment by Sandy rollo posted on

      Just the same as eating fish and chips . Both are a natural recourse only the fish ends up on a plate . Falconry has a place in modern society just as much as millions who enjoy fish and chips . You may not like just as much as don't like people allowing domestic cats out to kill wildlife for fun , but we obviously realise that will never come to fruition , you like me will just have to respect others wishes. It's called democracy

      • Replies to Sandy rollo>

        Comment by Sam posted on

        Prove falconry has a place in modern society.
        Why does a wild animal need to be a pet?

      • Replies to Sandy rollo>

        Comment by Retro Jet posted on

        I call it greedy, selfish abuse of power and especially abuse of the Falcon!
        It's not democracy it's capitalism, and it's disgusting!
        Cultural heritage and ancient traditions need stamping out when they used as an excuse to feather your nest and your pockets!
        You take a wild animal and make it a mindless tool... That's not something to be proud of... That's a bloody circus act!
        Natural England? That's an oxymoronic statement if ever there was!!!
        Sounds more like the National Front!

    • Replies to Russell Finney>

      Comment by Andrew Hollinshead posted on

      I think you will find no one has contributed more to the conservation of raptors than falconers

    • Replies to Russell Finney>

      Comment by Susan Stanford posted on

      I agree Russell. Why has Scottish Natural Heritage refused these men a license? Surely there is no reason to allow this behaviour in a civilised country. Lets not take wild birds into captivity for any reason. Especially if there might be monetary gain involved.

  14. Comment by Christopher J Chappell posted on

    Absolutely disgraceful

  15. Comment by William Vincent posted on

    This is an appalling decision. There is no justification for taking wild birds to provide breeding stock for a rich man's sport. Please reverse this decision.

  16. Comment by Ian Malone posted on

    ?You say 6 chicks , is this per year , Does this include going back if one dies. Also the removed chick supplied the larger chicks with food and as a live victim the first kill, will the remaining chicks now fight it out for survival. And how will this be monitored. Yes you claim to monitor the removed chicks but how about the raided nest.

  17. Comment by sarah orbell posted on

    If a genetic sample can be taken from these young then later when they are used for breeding they can be "tracked" as can any other zoo animals in breeding programmes. Future young should also then be registered on their sale. Possibly micro chipping could help in this.
    I would also like to see included in the rules that some income generated from the sale of future offspring should also be put back into paying for these and/or further conservation.

  18. Comment by Kenneth Noble posted on

    When you think of all the work that conservation organisations have put into safeguarding British birds of prey, this decision is a real kick in the teeth. I suppose that we'll allow bear-bating next as it, too, is "an ancient tradition which has been practised in England for centuries".

  19. Comment by Rob Hague posted on

    Why do they need to take wild perigrins?
    There are plenty of birds available to falconers. Use the species already readily available from captive bred stock.
    The just demonstrates that Natural England isn't fit for purpose, as previously demonstrated by previous licence 'incidents'.

  20. Comment by Geoff Palmer posted on

    totally unacceptable; preserve our wildlife.

    It is not acceptable to encourage falconry.

  21. Comment by William pinchers posted on

    I’m all for an harvest of peregrines for falconry purposes,but dubious over the prospect for breeding,unless it’s strictly government controlled or works like the USA peregrine says young cannot be sold but down the line second and third generations can they be sold.The answer should strictly be NO descendants of wild take should ever be available for financial gain.The gain if any should be for falconry or for wild release .who will police all of this program.

  22. Comment by Ro posted on

    What petition's are online to stop these licences and get the order revoked. We should be helping and protecting wildlife not raiding it.

  23. Comment by Glen posted on

    I own a falconry business been flying birds of prey for over 20 years now. There is currently no reason to take peregrines from the wild for breeding there are many many breeding pairs in captivity. This is for financial gain as they will sell to Middle East for falcon races.

    Shocking this has been allowed.

  24. Comment by Simon higham posted on

    I’m a Falconer, so I am biased. But I will put forward my viewpoint as succinctly as I can.
    Since seeing a real live Falcon at the age of ten, some 33 years ago, I have always found complete awe in the knowledge that it is possible for a human being to take a completely wild animal, the Peregrine Falcon, some would say the wildest of all the animals, and tame her using infinite patience, positive reinforcement only (punishing a bird of prey is counter productive, we never consider even speaking harshly to our falcon), love and time. To such a level that the Falcon will genuinely want to fly with and hunt with the human for no other reason than the symbiosis that they have together developed. The falconer would feed the falcon when she was unsuccessful, and share in her kills when the hunt bore fruit. Thus ensuring her survival for the first few critical years of her life. Then when she reaches sexual maturity the falconer would cast her to the wind for the final time safe in the knowledge that she was completely self sufficient and could go on to breed more of her kind that he may one day encounter himself. This chain of events has continued in broken for literally 2000 years. And every time I consider it, then it completely blows my mind.
    This is why falconry is an intangible cultural heritage. Where else in humankind does a human being truly become as one with a wild heart?
    We aren’t barbaric killers, we are the worlds best and least understood naturalists. And every Falcon that we touch lives within us for the rest of our lives.
    This move by Natural England is very very special in so many ways. Thank you from the bottom of my heart to the people involved in re opening this severed life line between us and our beloved and revered Peregrine Falcon.

    • Replies to Simon higham>

      Comment by Simon Curson posted on

      Simon, do all falconers always release their birds after a few years? I presume that captive bred ones remain in captivity, but are all chicks taken from the wild returned to the wild? Thanks.

  25. Comment by Mark springthorpe posted on

    Don't agree with this myself there are enough captive bred peregrine falcons bred every year shipped out to other countries for vast amounts of money, it would be interesting to see who the chosen 3 falconers are ?

  26. Comment by Graham posted on

    Any wild take birds will be lost in the system eventually. There bloodlines bred from and thousands of pounds later forgotten about.
    Wild take birds should be released before breeding age and not to be taken so as can be imprinted.
    Any falconer lucky enough to have been issued with a license for this should respect this birds wild state. This will never be policed properly to happen.

  27. Comment by Phil Hawksley posted on

    I can see this being abuses, as there will be poachers with their eyes already on the young and eggs, which can sell for up to £10,000. How will you prevent these sort of things from happening?

  28. Comment by David Le Mesurier posted on

    All Peregrines in captivity in the UK are on the DEFRA database and so are traceable as to their parentage

    I therefore do not see how your statement about poor documentation can be justified.

    "Following comprehensive discussions, we concluded that birds already held in captivity cannot provide verifiably British birds. This is because it is incredibly difficult to definitively establish the provenance of birds held in captivity due to poor documentation."

  29. Comment by JD posted on

    Leave them alone!
    The population has only just recovered and doesn’t need to be exploited as a cash crop.

  30. Comment by Carol Alderman posted on

    I agree with Richard Goswell; I have no objections to permitting the taking of a very limited number of chicks if this was e.g. to improve genetic diversity in captive bred populations. (Incidentally I wonder if choosing the weakest chick might not be a wise choice and select unfavourable traits.)

    However the desire to establish a pure British blood lineage sounds almost sinister to me; at best it is entirely branding/marketing-driven and I cannot see how this is in the public interest. Considering the ability of these birds to cover large distances I also wonder to what extent it is fiction - while individual breeding pairs might be sedentary, the population as a whole may well be connected to those on the Channel Islands and those in continental Europe.
    With only three pairs to start from (that is if all chicks survive) the new Verifiably British(TM) falcon also risks becoming inbred very quickly, even more problematic if the weak chicks do harbour deleterious mutations. We only need look at some dogs breeds to see where this can lead - I would hope that we can be kinder to falcons.

    So we can verify that there is no conflict of interest (or personal connection to high powers in government), would you be able to disclose the identity of the chosen three falconers, and divulge how many applied vs. how many got a license to do this? I am sure the successful applicants will make themselves known in due course advertising their wares, but this may take several years.

    I will say that while I appreciate their committment to transparency, I would have expected Natural England to take a more biologically-founded view not only in the conditions it imposes but in assessing the fundamental merits of this proposal.

    • Replies to Carol Alderman>

      Comment by Gerry Rawcliffe posted on

      I am fortunate to live in an urban location where a pair of peregrines has recently established a territory. They have yet to successfully rear young as the female is a young bird. How do we know this? Because she is ringed. Where was she ringed? Holland! The notion of establishing a British bloodstock is self-evidently bogus. The cited grounds for the license are therefore clearly invalid, and this decision should be overturned in the courts.

  31. Comment by Clive Swinsco posted on

    Profiteering from Peregrines!!!!!!
    I didn't reckon what's left ( blasting our badgers , brood meddling with Hen Harriers , colluding with bloodsports...), if anything , of your credibility could collapse further .
    "Well done" !?! You've (mis)managed it UNnatural Engerland !!

  32. Comment by Sam posted on

    Those Arabs need the UK's weapons and falcons. Can't seem them any if we can't farm them.
    We'll just ignore that peregrine numbers are only doing well because ddt nearly made them extinct.
    And let's turn a blind eye to the land owners persecuting peregrines.
    Natural England, what a joke.

  33. Comment by Catriona Coull posted on

    Could you please be more specific as to what purposes the birds are put other than breeding? To what ends are they being bred? If peregrines are breeding successfully why the need to breed them when the smallest fledgling could be taken should more be needed?
    Thank you

  34. Comment by Lesley posted on

    No birds should be taken from their nests, kept captive and made to perform. Birds have complex social and cultural lives, forming attachments with each other and passing on and refining their knowledge from one generation to another. Peregrine falcons' monogamous pair bonds can last over many breeding seasons, and in the UK these birds usually don’t travel further than 100 kilometres or so from their place of birth, with extended family groupings remaining in contact over many years. Interfering with this by abducting wild chicks from their parents' nest and removing them permanently from their established family group is not in the best interests of either the young who are taken, the remaining fractured family group and its social extensions, or the long-term evolution of the species. It isn’t for the benefit of the falcons, but as a way of forcing control over them, that they are made to tolerate a hood on their head, sometimes for the majority of their lives - in humans, this form of hooding is often used in torture procedures. A hood confuses and disorients the birds, restricts their natural head rotation, prevents their instinctive use of acute vision for finding food and protecting themselves and their family from danger, muffles the bird’s innate ability to listen for the warning cries of other birds and distorts any sounds the birds themselves may make - which can no longer be responded to as part of the natural dialogue between these birds because the extended family group is no longer there. All this, plus having strips of leather knotted, tied or melted round their legs, having bells attached to their legs and being tethered to stop them from getting away is all part of the new life that the abducted chicks will endure as a result of Natural England’s decision. Surely Natural England's role should be to protect England's nature and landscapes for the benefit of the plants, birds and animals living within it and for the benefit of the planet as a whole, and not to facilitate people to view other species as objects or services for entertainment and profit. Under the Wildlife and Countryside Act it is a crime to intentionally kill, injure or take any wild bird, and there should be no exceptions to this. Activities like falconry and trophy hunting, for example, seem to me to be long overdue far greater scrutiny as acceptable ways for people to behave towards other species.

  35. Comment by Nigel posted on

    I want to commend Natural England on this decision and willingness, on this occasion, to allow a different approach to the much broader issue of conservation and our relationship to the animals we share the planet with.

  36. Comment by Dan Yardley posted on

    Research Gary Wall he’s a crook been at it years

  37. Comment by carole langslow posted on


  38. Comment by Andy Hirst posted on

    Just wondering who the “discussions” were held with. As someone involved with species protection for over 35 years I find it abhorrent these birds are simply taken by the legal elements of falconry when so much voluntary time, effort and resources are employed to deter/ protect these birds from the illegal activities of some falconers.

  39. Comment by Vincent Naylor posted on

    At last NE do something actually worthwhile for the gene pool of future generations.

  40. Comment by m thompson posted on

    TAKING ANY CREATURE FROM IT'S NATURAL HABITAT IS A BARBARIC and useless ignorance in these so called modern times.
    Put yourselves in their the falcons position of forced improsonment and feaudal ignorance in what humans would pretentiously call "civilised" , would any of you be happy in their position of being oppressed in this manner vjust for the pretentious pleasure of a so called civilised and educated human being, no certainly not.

  41. Comment by PH posted on

    Disgraceful commercial exploitation under the guise of tradition and NE have buckled. The only conservation benefit argument is that it may prevent criminal activity.

  42. Comment by Sam Prescott posted on

    I too would question the significance of British provenance. I also have significant reservations about any precedent being set for wild capture. Doing so is of no benefit to the wild population (adequately sustained with appropriate genetic variation without interference) and of no benefit to the falconry industry per se, only to the individuals involved. Both display and breeding arms of the industry are very adept at captive breeding of falcons and enjoy no shortage of a wide variety of genetic breeding stock. One of the primary benefits of falcon breeding and export to the middle east is that the captive breeding and export allays the demand for capture of wild stock. The proposed licencing is directly contrary to the principle that captive breeding should supercede wild capture and immediately negates any moral authority we may have over other nations when trying to encourage them of the same.

  43. Comment by Charlie Liggett posted on

    I find a basic flaw in the arguments used to justify this bizarre ruling. The reason given by the falconers is that the birds held at present aren't from British stock but does this presume that no birds or eggs have been taken from the wild in the UK over the past few years? I think this is naive in the extreme. Also the interbreeding of species has been practiced by which group of people? Falconers. This is the latest in a series of decisions made by NEs licensing dept that have puzzled and alienated many of their natural allies and their long suffering volunteers, of whom I am one.

  44. Comment by PH posted on

    Of course, the fundamental flaw in the argument of having a stock of British-blood-line captive peregrines is that some continental born peregrines breed in the UK. is there an identifiable British sub-species? To know this, it could only be identified by DNA. If the licensed criminal taking of wild peregrines fail a DNA test (presuming there is an identifiable British sub-species), how many more licenses to undertake criminal activity need to be issued to obtain a viable breeding captive population of a sub-species that probably doesn't exist?

  45. Comment by Derek Walduck posted on

    A disgraceful move by Natural England. Disregarding the detail of how this nest robbing will be policed, you are spending taxpayers' money to take birds from the wild to bring up in captivity. Shame on you.

  46. Comment by Peter Garner posted on

    The issuing of these licences to take wild peregrine chicks from the wild is completely unjustified and scandalous. Natural England should be ashamed of themselves in siding with profit rather than conservation. This issue deserves much more publicity than it is getting so that the general public can make their own mind up, but for me this is the most disgraceful and disreputable act so far by NE.

  47. Comment by Marcus Noakes posted on

    I have read all the previous blog comments with interest but at the end of the day in this country we should not be interfering with nature in this way whatever the merits of falconry. The job of Natural England is to protect nature not destroy it.

  48. Comment by Gerry Rawcliffe posted on

    From its earliest beginnings as an activity, falcons and other birds of prey have been traded internationally, often as an adjunct to diplomacy, but also purely commercially. To cite the cultural necessity to have a pure bred British stock clearly has nothing to do with “cultural heritage” whether defined by UNESCO or not. As such, this is another element of Natural England’s decision, that is based on a false premise and which as such should mean that it is overturned by the courts.

  49. Comment by E Davies posted on

    Given that there are a large number of birds bred in captivity, what justification can there be for taking them from the wild?
    Please do not allow this, they 'belong' to the country not humans. It is not our right to exploit every other living creature, especially for a minority of people.