Who cares anyway?
A few weeks ago inspired by the amazing feat that is bird migration I wrote ‘Are we nearly there yet?’
In many ways it does not do justice to what’s happening all around us at the moment each day in a patch more migrants are moving in or moving on. I was going to a do a bit on Wheatear migration having twitched some on Town Moor (MPF) and found three myself in Central Gateshead. Or I was going to do a bit on Willow Warblers as this week their song has been all over NZ26 and they are so approachable when they first arrive.
However, I want to go back over a bit of old ground. In my piece I highlighted Birdlife Malta and the role they play which needs our support. Since then Malta has had their referendum on spring shooting of migrants. They voted very closely with a Yes to keeping the hunting condemned by EU legislation and by Day 2 of the new hunting season a Cuckoo had been shot.
The Lebanese have made an effort . Italy, Spain and Greece are making an effort with Leaving is Living. Where they aim to influence local communities, National Governments and Local Authorities. It is easy to condemn the Maltese people (you can find these links yourself). They should know better. Why do they not want to protect migrants birds like we do?
It is easy to convince ourselves that everyone cares about wildlife, but in reality its Kim Sear’s dress that trends on Twitter as @cartoonralph highlighted.
In my piece on X and Y birding, I was genuinely excited about the bird song in Walker Park. With the exception of no open water this has potential to be an exciting place for people to experience wildlife inside the City. I have seen 30 species in my three visits and there will be more as there is potential for insect life.
But I was dismayed when I saw this during the week.
The guys weren’t so happy about me taking photos but I wanted to cite this as a fact that we in the UK don’t care much either.
Part of me was upset that they were doing it on the day I was there. But after the ego-centric approach I realised that I was currently listening to 10 species of bird currently holding territory and singing above the din. This included newly arrived Chiffchaffs.
And I realised that not only was I upset that they were doing it. The trees were providing homes to hole nesting birds of which there are at least 4 species in the Park. But it is the fact that they are doing this during the nesting season.
I put the photo on Twitter and I got this response from @NewcastleCityCouncil
I was more annoyed at their response and so have written expressing my concerns. They have made a big thing on their website of biodiversity on their website. And I felt that the response was to be frank total b*****ks.
How could they not see that the area they were cleaning has breeding birds in it. I guess they mean they would have had to found a nest, but were they really looking.
So later I looked up the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981. On page 1 it cited the destruction of nests being built as an offence.
So in this response I see Newcastle Council as no different to the Maltese Government permitting the shooting migrant birds against EU regulations. We will not see the dead and dying birds in the way they can be publicised in Malta. The birds will just stop coming back as we are taking away places for them to nest when they get here. The same results. Less breeding birds and we become worse because of it.
Until now I was unaware of destruction of nests being built as an offence and whilst I cant stop what has happened in Walker Park I need to understand what evidence is needed to see this as an offence under the Act.
And you should too if you see it happening. Otherwise Ralph Underhill’s prophecy will come true. ‘And someday soon all this son will be . . .