A leading bird protection charity say they are “looking forward” to other raptors flourishing in Highland Perthshire as kestrels have been reported to be.
Data sourced from studies by the British Trust for Ornithology, RSPB and the Joint Nature Conservation Committee showed kestrel numbers in Scotland have declined 82% between 1994 and 2019.
The small falcon, which the RSPB says has “a history of persecution” and was heavily targeted in the late 19th and early 20th Century by gamekeepers despite “rarely” preying on game-bird chicks, is now being mooted as a species requiring concerted conservation attention in Britain.
Their sharp decline since the mid 1990s is still unexplained, however there are some regions where burgeoning kestrels are bucking the trend.
Last week a Perthshire moorland group said their observations show the raptors are thriving across estates surrounding the Sma’ Glen.
Gamekeepers and shepherds in the Tayside and Central Scotland Moorland Group say the well preserved environment, ample food sources and the control of jackdaws that quarry on chicks mean as many kestrels as ever are making Highland Perthshire their sanctum.
Now, RSPB Scotland say they hope this reported haven for kestrels can become as safe for other birds of prey.
The charity and field sports group have been at loggerheads in the past over protection of birds of prey in Perthshire.
An RSPB spokesperson said: “It’s true that kestrels have undergone a significant decline over much of the UK but this is far from uniform across the country and it’s good to hear that they are doing well in this part of Highland Perthshire.
“Sadly not all birds of prey seem to be welcome in this area, with recent multiple suspicious disappearances of satellite-tagged golden eagles, including one whose tag was subsequently found wrapped in lead sheeting beside the River Braan, the illegal trapping of a hen harrier, and the poisoning of a red kite.
“We look forward to the day when all of Scotland’s birds of prey species are thriving in Perthshire and beyond.”