The RSPB does not only spend less on conservation than it would like the public to think. It also is not as successful at it – especially when compared with grouse moors and other privately run land.

  • Research on the breeding success of lapwings in Kent showed that on a privately run National Nature Reserve there were 15 times as many birds fledging compared with the RSPB’s reserve next door. (Kent Lapwings)
  • A paper written by RSPB scientists reported that “Densities of breeding golden plover and lapwing were five times higher and those of red grouse and curlew twice as high on grouse moors as on other moors.” (RSPB research)
  • Another survey this year has found that for curlew – a species for which Britain is a key stronghold – just one grouse moor in the Pennines has about as many breeding pairs as the whole of Wales.
  • The hen harrier is the bird that the RSPB has campaigned most about.  Yet despite it being close to extinct in England the RSPB is poor at looking after them. In 2015 it controlled seven of the 12 nests in England. Yet these nests only produced one of the 18 chicks which successfully fledged. (The TimesWritten Answer)

A central explanation for these differences is the RSPB’s continued squeamishness about reducing the number of predators attacking endangered species. Ground nesting birds are very vulnerable to fox, stoat and crows Yet while the RSPB in 2015 shot 1,200 deer it only culled 400 foxes nationwide (RSPB data.) At its Minsmere reserve the RSPB has built a massive fence to stop badger predation of bird eggs. This approach cannot be replicated in the “real” countryside. An effective environmental policy has to make hard choices about which species are wanted where and then maximise the conditions for their survival.