Fair Questions For The RSPB

The Charity That Forgot Its Mission

Britain’s millions of bird lovers come in many forms- from city dwellers feeding ducks in the park to rural heroes doing the backbreaking work of building bird habitats.

They include many farmers, wildlife volunteers and gamekeepers. These true bird lovers appreciate all types of birds and want all to flourish. They are also pragmatic. They know that foxes and cats are a nightmare for birds. They accept that you cannot have vast numbers of both birds of prey and songbirds. They are realistic that humans have been managing nature for thousands of years - and that there are often difficult choices.

If you have lots of goshawks today, you may have no kestrels tomorrow. Sparrowhawks reduce sparrow populations - the clue is in the name.

What disturbs many bird lovers is their perception that an organisation that once stood head and shoulders above the rest in defence of birdlife has gone astray. It’s not just that the RSPB recently relegated its “protecting birds” mission for a soft sell conservation image.

They fear that it has also sold its soul and become a giant fundraising machine where decisions are made not according to what is good for birds but what will keep the RSPB’s revenues growing. Their disquiet is that its hoovering up of charitable funds and single-issue campaigning is toxic to bird welfare.

“the RSPB recently relegated its ‘protecting birds’ mission”

Are their concerns valid? This website asks fair questions of the RSPB. Many, while believing that the charity does much good, will have their own questions. We are happy to pose them for you. Will the RSPB provide full answers? Or will its activist fringe simply shoot the messenger?

The Observer

“... a charitable organisation drifting away from its principal purpose – to propagate all species of birds, rather than a chosen few; instead of acting as a model of evidence-based science, it seems to have turned increasingly into a lobbying body, more intent on boosting its membership than in propagating objective research.” Magnus Linklater

These ideologues tend to avoid hard questions by switching the focus to others. That’s not to say that others shouldn’t be challenged. There are tough questions to be asked about wildlife crime - from well known naturalists who encourage the stealing of eggs through to gamekeepers who persecute birds of prey.

The Telegraph

Lack of information means many donors are
”too disillusioned to give”

The Wrong Type Of Bird...

Just as Hollywood films are a poor guide to real life, so the RSPB’s website is a caricature of the realities of nature. As a casting agent creates a fantasy image to lure in the box office, so the right looking bird for the RSPB is a money maker. It’s either very beautiful or very cute. Its doe-eyed look cries out for protection. Ideally there’s a nasty villain to protect it from. In short it has to have Disney star potential.

Take the hen harrier. It doesn’t just have bankable movie star looks but also a back story of victimisation. So it is the ultimate nice little earner for the RSPB. A baby barn owl can look the part too. But you don’t have to be a bird. The RSPB will use baby seals and red squirrels - so long as they look adorable.

The wrong type of bird includes chickens (too frumpy), eagle owls (because they eat birds of prey) and, of course, ugly ducklings.

...For The RSPB Casting Couch

The “right”
type of birds

Only you can rescue this beautiful, vulnerable victim

So very cute, you must want to help

Irresistible innocence - will perish without your gift

Only the RSPB can save this veryspecial bird

The “wrong”
type of birds

Lacks the film star looks

You eat birds of prey. No Hannibal’s here!

Maybe for a horror flick, not our website

Not iconic enough

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