Raptor Persecution

The use of Multi-traps to catch crows poses a real threat to birds of prey. The RSPB has recorded many incidents of crow traps being misused by gamekeepers to trap and kill birds of prey.

In 2006 gamekeeper David Scott was filmed shooting two buzzards which had become caught in a trap designed to control crow numbers. An additional eleven Buzzards were found buried in rabbit holes near the Crow Trap on the Cabrach estate.

Selected incidents of protected species found dead in crow cage traps

From Appendix 2 of ‘A review of crow cage trap use and misuse in Scotland 1998-2004’ by Jessica Abbott, Dave Dick and Andrew Stronach – RSPB

1. Skeletal remains of two Short-Eared Owls and a Long-Eared Owl

On 26th May 2004, the skeletal remains of two Short-Eared Owls and one Long-Eared Owl were found in a crow cage on heather moor at an area known as the Caterthuns near Edzell in Angus. The trap had a padlock and chain at the door, which was not in use. The door appeared to have been closed by the growth of vegetation across it. On being interviewed by police, the “new” local gamekeeper said he had never used the trap and assumed it was not set. The photograph shows an owl skull from the trap (left) next to a museum specimen used in identification.

2. A Tawny Owl was found dead in a set and padlocked crow cage trap

On December 3rd 2003, a tawny owl was found dead by a walker at Novar in Easter Ross in a set and padlocked crow cage trap. The gamekeeper interviewed by police said that a hole at the top of the door was sufficient for birds to get out (see photo below). No proceedings were taken.

3. A Sparrowhawk skeleton in ladder crow cage trap on a grouse moor

On December 22nd 2001 a Sparrowhawk skeleton was found inside a ladder crow cage trap on a grouse moor at Glen Tarken, Perthshire. The cage had an SGA/Tayside police sign attached detailing the licence requirements including the need for the operator to remove all caught birds. The gamekeeper in charge of the trap claimed that he had left the trap open some months before. A court case failed due to lack of corroborated evidence (see photo below).