Boost to rare bird numbers

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CHARITIES and conservation groups have joined forces to launch a new scheme to boost the number of birds of prey on the Peak District moors.

The project aims to meet targets set for the populations of merlin, peregrine falcon and short-eared owl in the Dark Peak area.

Five organisations – The Moorland Association, National Trust, Natural England, Peak District Authority and RSPB – have provided funding for field workers to meet the targets by helping land managers and local birdwatching groups.

The targets say merlin should be increased to 32 breeding pairs and peregrine falcon to 15 pairs, by 2015.

Short-eared owls are being maintained at their current population of 25 breeding pairs.

The moors are a designated Special Protection Area.