DCSIMG

Tiny birds of prey thrive in Peak District

Gamekeeper Fred Mitchinson, right, with licensed ringer Mark Watson and a merlin chick.

Gamekeeper Fred Mitchinson, right, with licensed ringer Mark Watson and a merlin chick.

The Peak District’s head gamekeeper has been helping with the breeding of Britain’s smallest birds of prey.

Fred Mitchinson has been working with licensed bird ringers and recording the number of merlin chicks for more than 20 years.

The birds are bucking the national decline and breeding well on heather moorland managed by gamekeepers for wild red grouse, including parts of the Peak District.

The number of breeding records appear to have doubled on grouse moors in the last 20 years, while there has been a fall of more than half in other upland areas.

Mr Mitchinson said: “Most years we have three pairs, returning to the same quieter areas of our moor.”

 

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