Monitoring and conserving Scotland's birds of prey
Birds of prey (raptors) are an integral part of Scotland's natural heritage and some species, such as the golden eagle, are considered iconic emblems of our landscape. Raptors play an important role in our ecosystems and as top predators their presence can be indicative of a healthy environment. Thousands of tourists visit Scotland each year hoping for a glimpse of one of these charismatic birds.
During the late 1800s and early 1900s, many raptor species were legally killed in Scotland as they were considered 'vermin' and a threat to game-bird management. Several species became extinct while others suffered severe range contraction. Further massive declines were suffered in the mid-20th Century following the introduction of organochlorine pesticides for agriculture. Today there is a more enlightened approach to raptors and several species are making a comeback. However, despite decades of legal protection, some of our raptor populations are still under threat from illegal persecution such as poisoning, shooting and trapping. If you want to report a suspected raptor persecution incident please visit our Illegal Persecution page for details.
The ~300 members of the Scottish Raptor Study Group work tirelessly to monitor the fortunes of raptor species across Scotland. We are specially licensed to work with these protected species and our work has been recognised with a Best Practice Award by the UK's Institute of Ecology and Environmental Management. The information we collect is used by the Scottish Government to help inform conservation priorities and our data have also contributed to hundreds of scientific publications.
We hope you enjoy browsing our website to find out more about our work and the raptors we study. If you are interested in becoming a member, please use the contact us page.
Ringing goshawk chicks in the Scottish Borders