I was writing an article to inform you that Britain's most successful bird of prey, the buzzard, was to become the subject of a £400,000 research project that would primarily wipe out their nests and capture adult birds on sporting estates when Richard Benyon, the Wildlife Minister, announced a Government U-turn and gave the birds a reprieve.
Buzzards are the UK's most widespread bird of prey. They mainly scavenge for dead rabbits and other carrion but will take young chicks and eggs, particularly of pheasants. Why pheasants? Because they are so plentiful. 40 million or so are bred every year, released into the 'wild' but survive on food given to them to provide game in the autumn shooting season. Buzzards are a conservation success story. Until the mid 1990s there were no buzzards in Suffolk. Now. particularly in the west of the county, there are breeding pairs.