Monitoring and conserving Scotland's birds of prey
The Central Scotland Raptor Study Group was formed in 1983. The group is responsible for raptor monitoring in the Clackmannanshire, Falkirk, Glasgow City (part), North Lanarkshire, Stirling and (the former county) Dunbartonshire. The Group has 37 members who are supplemented by a small number of 'apprentice' members. After an assessment of their involvement these members may be invited to take full membership.
The group holds meetings twice a year, generally a pre-breeding season meeting in February or March and a post-breeding one in September or October.
The group works effectively to establish the population, distribution and breeding success of all species of raptors and owls, and also the raven, within the study area. The raven is treated as an "honorary raptor" and recorded alongside raptor species proper, due, to a large extent, to its ecological similarity to raptors.
The group's activities are not restricted to the breeding season; members are active throughout the year engaging in roost counts and territorial occupancy of red kite, hen harrier and raven.
The study area incorporates a most diverse range of habitats, from the city centre of Glasgow to the Munro-sized mountains of The Loch Lomond and Trossachs National Park. This array of habitats forms the base for intensive lowland studies of buzzard and barn owl as well as moorland and mountain species such as hen harrier and golden eagle.
The group is the focal point for a number of agencies requiring access to an impressive data set accumulated over many years. These requests are from consultancies to public bodies, such as Scottish Natural Heritage, all needing data for conservation and planning purposes.
The data and experience gained by the group have been instrumental in the development of Biodiversity Action Plans and Conservation Frameworks for a number of high profile species. This is partnered with practical conservation measures such as nest box schemes for tawny owl, barn owl, kestrel and nesting platforms for ospreys.
The group has a particular expertise in species protection and the fight against raptor persecution. Some long-standing members have made respected contributions to the debate which has resulted in much needed legislative change.
Given the gravity of raptor persecution, the group membership incorporates a potent combination of Police Wildlife Crime Officers from Police Scotland, Ministry of Defence Police and members of the investigations teams of RSPB Scotland and the SSPCA.
The group warmly welcomes additional raptor records of all species from members of the public and these will be used in the pro-active conservation of these magnificent birds.
Chair: John Simpson