Golden Eagle over the Angus glens 2019

Raptor persecution in any form cannot be tolerated within the United Kingdom. Persecution takes many forms whether it be illegal ‘direct’ persecution or covert ‘indirect’ persecution. Direct persecution can include poisoning, shooting and trapping. Indirect persecution can include disturbance, bird scaring devices, off-season nest destruction, burning of habitat and hill track excavation near raptor sensitive areas. Satellite transmitter harnessing, pre-fledging relocation and ringing disturbance will also be included in indirect persecution.

A change in attitude towards raptor persecution is happening on many Scottish shooting estates and the majority seem to be law abiding but, unfortunately, rogue cases of persecution are still occurring which is totally intolerable. Historically, blatant cases of direct raptor persecution have occurred especially when concerning grouse moor management. Combining historical cases with recent court cases and alleged reports that are unconfirmed paint a pretty black picture for game bird shooting concerns.

White-tailed Eagle pair over the Angus Glens 2015

The study of raptors fascinates many interested in nature and that element of study has advanced to using modern technology to track the movements of raptors using satellite transmitters. Tracking has led to the discovery of two historic cases of poisoning in the Angus glens area, both Golden Eagles called Alma 2009 and Fearnan 2013. Recently this technology has been used to implicate grouse moors in alleged persecution without producing valid evidence, which in effect perverts the course of justice by media influence.

The Angus glens area extends from Glen Isla, in the west, to Glen Esk, in the east, and is prime grouse country renowned throughout the world. Angus is often cited by many activists campaigning against driven grouse shooting as the ‘black hole of raptor persecution’ and that it is bereft of wildlife because of grouse moor management. Others declare that because of grouse moor management many species thrive, especially ground nesting birds.

This blog will attempt to encourage a balanced view of the current situation, showing positives and negatives on an equal, unbiased footing. The wild bird, as nature intended, will be assumed to be the neutral status, with any interference of that neutrality being classed as persecution. Focusing on the Angus glens area will enable me to draw on several years of intimate experience and actual observations recognised in


Golden Eagle ‘Alma’ poisoned in an Angus glen 2009



Golden Eagle ‘Fearnan’ poisoned in an Angus glen 2013



If you are inspired to go out into the hills and glens of Scotland please leave it as you find it, respect the environment, do not litter or discard so called ‘biodegradable’ fruit and especially if you are a dog walker keep your beast on a lead and do not bag up its waste then chuck it by the wayside. I recently came across one black poo bag neatly hung on a tree branch for someone else to take home and also a bright blue one thrown in the moorland verge….why?

Moorland birds like Golden Plover, Dunlin, Dotterel, Ptarmigan and many raptors nest on the ground, it is advisable to keep dogs at heel or preferably on leads when walking on the high plateaux of the Cairngorms during summer months.

Please be aware that it is illegal to disturb nesting eagles or other raptors and you may do so inadvertently in your journeys into the highlands. Observe protected species at a respectful distance usually from about 1000 metres and for short periods of time only.

No wildlife was unduly or knowingly disturbed by my presence or for the purposes of this web page other than what would be expected on a normal hill walk. Many geographic names and location recognizable photos have been omitted to prevent persecution or ringing-monitoring disturbance to named species.