Two buzzards were poisoned in Ireland recently:magnificent birds that put it around to other birds when they are in town. I had the privalage of seeing one over my place every day for three weeks last year. And what a fuss he made dominating the skies.
We don’t have many buzzards in Ireland. The few we have we should cherish. Yet we poison them!
And what do we lose? We lose the opportunity of joy in a child’s eye, and indeed in the eyes of adults too, when we are denied seeing these beautiful birds in their aerial manoevers.
So what needs to be done? National Parks and Wildlife Service rangers have the primary responsibility for the protection of these birds. But rangers, too few in number, cannot be everywhere. So that leaves the rest of us. If we are sincere about conservation then ALL citizens need to be the eyes and ears in protecting our wildlife and reporting what we see or hear.
When someone goes out at night to set poison the likelyhood of that person being caught is slight. But when such a person is indeed caught the weight of law must be extremely severe as a warning to others. We need to see these beautiful birds as part of the high art of the natural world. We need to give them, under law, the same degree of protection we give to the art of Manet or Goya or Rubens. Only then can we say that we are a nation that values its wildlife.
The USFWS Southeast informs me that the killing of an eagle in the USA carries a penalty of $100,000 and up to one year in a Federal prison. If we are serious in Ireland in protecting buzzards and eagles and other birds of prey we need to have in force similar deterrents.