18 Nov 2009


THE ENEMIES OF BIRDS. Excerpt from a book. THE activities of the Inverness and Nairn Agricultural Executive Committee destroyed 2,500 Hoodie Crows in 1946. The Oban Times, of 2oth September 1947, reported that 2,284 Hoodie Crows were destroyed in 1947 in Inverness-shire. At one estate at Ware, in Hertfordshire, in 1946, 65 Jays and 63 Magpies were shot by the gamekeepers in nine months. The Birds of the Liverpool Area mentions 5 o Magpies on a gibbet one winter in Cheshire. The famous game-book Gammoma includes in the Knowsley Park vermin lists 148 Magpies shot in 1829, 136 in 1830, 114 in 1831, and 82 in 1832. The following birds, seen on a gamekeepers' gibbet near Scarborough in 1890, were recorded by W. Gyngell in The Naturalist for 1905: 20 Long-eared Owls, 17 Carrion-Crows, 7 Tawny Owls, 4 Short-eared Owls, 4 Sparrowhawks, 2. Barn-Owls, 2 Kestrels, 2 Magpies, i Jay, and 736 head of other "vermin." In Bulletin 81 (1948) of the Leicestershire and Rutland Ornithological Society, 11Tawny Owls were reported found on one recent gibbet and 3 Great Crested Grebes on another. The late Lord Sefton and party shot 2,939 Red Grouse on the opening day of the 1915 season upon his 12,000 acres Abbey stead moor in Lancashire, and 17,078 grouse in the season. In one drive at Cannock Chase, in Staffordshire, about 1860, 252 Blackgame were shot. Hugh Gladstone records, in his book Record Bags and Shooting Records, that, on 12th October 1916, Lord Elphinstone and party shot 249 Snipe at Tiree, in the Hebrides. 358 Woodcock were shot by thirteen guns at Powerscourt, County Wickow, on 2jth September 1890, and at the mouth of the River Maigue, in Limerick, a fowler killed 43 Bean-Geese at one punt-gun shot. Another punt-gun killed 150 Golden Plover. The Rev Mr. Close, of Kileel Rectory, last century shot 60 Curlew at one discharge of his punt-gun in Carlingford Lough, and in 1845 a fowler shot upwards of 300 Dunlin with one swivel gun shot. Firing 1,510 cartridges, the 6th Lord Walsingham killed 1,070 Grouse in a single day at Blubberhouses, on the Yorkshire moors, and it is reputed that the carcases were stacked in piles three or four feet high in the farm­house passages and corridors, and for a week the building was crawling with vermin which had left the dead birds. A ball bowled by Jehangir Khan, of Cambridge Univer­sity, to T. N. Pearce, of the M.C.C., in a cricket match at Lords on 3rd July 1936, killed a Sparrow, which fell dead against the stumps as Pearce played the ball. The Sparrow is now stuffed, mounted upon the ball, and the whole set up on a stand with a plaque commemorating the feat. "Corncrake Wings, 2s. 6d. Pair. Jays, 6d. Starlings, 2d In winter the Starlings which visit Spain from Germany and North Europe are caught at their winter roosts and used for human food. 22,000 dozen, or over a quarter of a million, have been taken in a season near Cadiz and sold for eating at three pesetas a dozen. I will, if interest is shown, publish more facts, although shameful it perhaps does point to some progress in conservation.


  1. The sooner the human race gets it's come uppence the better. Bring on the next 'Black death' ( I don't mind if I have to go too!)

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