Bird crime fears sparked after peregrine falcons nest on EE mobile phone mast - The Solihull Observer

Bird crime fears sparked after peregrine falcons nest on EE mobile phone mast

Solihull Editorial 9th May, 2019   0

PEREGRINE falcons nesting on an EE mobile phone mast in Solihull have sparked fears over ‘raptor crime’.

As we reported last week, a nest on a mast in Shirley has caused a signal blackout for customers, the provider says.

West Midlands Ringing Group member and police sergeant Ben Dolan praised the company for not disturbing the nest but questioned why signal had not been transferred to another mast.

He also said the positioning of the falcon’s nest should not be advertised as it encourages ‘raptor persecution’ – the killing of birds of prey.

We have heard from Solihull residents who have taken photos of the ‘beautiful’ birds.

Bird ringers are people who catch birds and mark them with an identifying band around the leg which enables them to be tracked and analysed.

Mr Dolan said: “Peregrine Falcons are a protected schedule one species and it is a criminal offence to disturb them without a licence.

“EE have done the right thing by not disturbing the birds in Solihull as this could lead to prosecution.

“We have a number of buildings with nesting peregrine where phone masts are present, we find that if there is normally an issue with that mast they are able to divert to another mast.

“I’m unsure if they own the building or lease space on the roof for their mast.

“It will be landowners who have restricted access, which is the right thing to do.”

The British Trust for Ornithology says raptor persecution is one of the UK Wildlife Crime priorities and includes poisoning, shooting, trapping, habitat destruction and nest destruction or disturbance.

Mr Dolan added: “We are regularly contacted by members of community when they’re aware of specific threats to raptors via social media or word of mouth.

“We fully appreciate the support from the public with this information, which helps us as partner organisations protect these fantastic birds.”

Raptor crime can take place because birds of prey are perceived as pests by farmers or gamekeepers despite most only targeting rabbits and wood pigeons.

Those convicted of raptor crime can face an unlimited fine or up to six months in jail.

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