Nesting ospreys at T in the Park – further comment

Six clutches of osprey eggs recovered from an egg thief by Merseyside Police (Photo courtesy of Merseyside Police)

Six clutches of osprey eggs recovered from an egg thief by Merseyside Police (Photo courtesy of Merseyside Police)

In the next saga of the nesting ospreys at the T in the Park site on Strathallan Estate, Perthshire, Perth and Kinross Council has given the go ahead for the festival to take place. I was dismayed however to read in the Courier of May 13th that one of the councillors had allegedly said, “This osprey was made out to be more powerful than the 85,000 youngsters who want to come here. I don’t know a single osprey that has topped itself because it has had to move its nest. There’s an over–zealous attitude to these ospreys. We need to put things in perspective.”

If these quotes are correct this entirely misses the point that if the nesting bird is disturbed then the law is being broken. The councillor seems to be unaware that the law must be upheld as it is written, not as some might like it to be. The fact that 85,000 people attend this festival is irrelevant and does not give a reason for aspects of wildlife law either to be ignored or manipulated. The councillor’s alleged comments have caused furore and there is now a petition gathering momentum for him to resign.

I have no idea how earlier incidents at Strathallan Estate have been looked on by the police but can only assume there has been no evidence – or insufficient evidence – of intentional or reckless disturbance of the birds. For my own part, provided there is no disturbance to the birds I am pleased to see the festival going ahead.

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6 Responses to Nesting ospreys at T in the Park – further comment

  1. Derek Whitton says:

    Its going to be interesting if the Osprey IS disturbed and flys off the nest. Do you really believe that the festival will be stopped because the Osprey doesnt agree that 400m is enough of a disturbance distance.

    • Derek
      I’m not sure where 400m comes from. There is nothing in law that specifies a distance within which an osprey, golden eagle, white-tailed eagle is likely to be disturbed, and conversely outwith which it is unlikely to be disturbed. I suspect this is a guide that someone with some experience has put forward. You’ll be well aware, however, that individual birds have different tolerance to disturbance. The next issue of course is proving when a bird has been disturbed. This evidence is unlikely to come from a police officer but from a person with experience of ospreys who can convince a sheriff that a bird flying off a nest or whatever the alleged disturbance consists of is other than natural behaviour. It then has to be proved that the disturbance has been intentional or reckless, The very same applies with disturbance or harassment of cetaceans. Proving intent or recklessness might be easier if it takes place inside this imaginary 400m zone by someone who is aware of the zone. I’m not saying that an offence, if one takes places, cannot be proved; merely pointing out some of the difficulties. As for the festival being stopped, realistically I somehow doubt that this would happen, especially since any court case and finding of guilt is likely to take place many months after the festival.

  2. Ron Fenton says:

    I hope the person appointed to monitor the birds during TITP is not the men who accepted 30 pieces of silver to try and scare the birds away. I also hope the relevant organisations will think twice about using the same lick spittles to tag and apply homing devices on the birds this year

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