Remote raptor camera surveillance the Wildlife (Northern Ireland) Order 1985, as amended by the Wildlife and Natural Environment (Northern Ireland) Act 2011, protects wildlife from disturbance. It can be an offence to either recklessly or intentionally cause disturbance or kill or take certain species.

Raptors are protected on Schedule 1 of the legislation and some species which protects them from killing at all times of the year and from disturbance during the breeding season.

Peregrine falcon Falco peregrinus and Red kite Milvus milvus are additionally protected under Schedule 1A of the WANE Act 2011 which further protects them and their nests from disturbance at all times of the year.

Common buzzards, red kites and peregrine falcons have been killed illegally at a number of locations over many years in Northern Ireland and trends in recent years have been analysed by the PAWNI raptor sub-group reports (2009 – 2016) (links).

These three species have been most frequently killed in recent years with a total of 30 buzzards, 11 red kites and 11 peregrine falcons are known to have been killed in Northern Ireland between 2009 and 2016.

“peregrine falcon in flight”

“red kite in flight”

“buzzard close up”

All too frequently reduced to this…..

“Dead buzzard and adjacent rabbit bait in a field”

“Dead juvenile peregrine falcon on floor of quarry”

“Dead red kite lying in a field”

Several key locations have been identified as raptor crime hotspots within which targeted efforts are being made to tackle wildlife crime. The most recent map covering the period 2009 – 2016 highlight several hotspot areas across Northern Ireland.

The PSNI have been undertaking an annual campaign known as “Operation Peregrine Watch” in order to carry out surveillance using drones, cameras and deployed additional police patrols supported by raptor study group volunteers across Northern Ireland. This is undertaken annually at peregrine falcon nesting sites to both prevent and detect wildlife crimes and reduce crimes against this species. As a National Wildlife Crime Unit (NWCU) recommended priority this campaign by PSNI and NIRSG volunteers helped increase breeding success and the numbers of young fledged in Northern Ireland in 2017:

Click on the links below

Annual UK Peregrine Watch Scheme begins in Northern Ireland

Annual UK Peregrine Watch Scheme in Northern Ireland hailed a success

The current project Hawk-Eyes proposes to increase the range of species and number of sites being monitored by remote cameras and raising awareness of wildlife crime locally. This proposed operation is a proactive approach carried out by the PAW NI Raptor Subgroup.  The DoJ funding has allowed the purchase of specialist remote camera equipment which is being installed at a range of sites across Northern Ireland to monitor and protect these birds of prey.

This part of the DoJ Hawk-Eyes Project is utilising wildlife surveillance cameras at various nest sites of buzzard, red kite and peregrine at various locations in Northern Ireland including within hot-spot areas, to remotely monitor activity and survival of these birds during the breeding season. Additional wildlife cameras are installed close to the nest sites and surrounding areas to monitor bird movements and their usage of the wider site and also at perching or feeding areas. This project will provide unique insights into the birds at their breeding sites.

Criminals should therefore be aware – cameras are watching these birds 24/7 and may also be watching your every move!

The remote surveillance using cameras is intended to operate as a surveillance and monitoring study to protect breeding raptors, encourage reporting of wildlife crime and prevent crime.

We will be providing on-going updates on this page by way of regular updates from some of the breeding sites over the season and have already installed cameras at a variety of locations during February and March.

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