Rare Asian bird kKlled By Wind Turbine As Avid Spotters Watched

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One of the world’s fastest birds has died after flying into a wind turbine as scores of people watched.

The white-throated needletail, which is native to Asia, was spotted on the Isle of Harris, off the west coast of Scotland, this week and is believed to have arrived on Monday.

Bird spotters travelled to the island to catch a glimpse of the bird and many posted pictures on Twitter, but they then saw it die when it flew into a community-owned wind turbine on Wednesday.

The Rare Bird Alert, an on-line service that notifies users of sightings, had passed on reports of the white-throated needletail on Tuesday.

A spokesman for the service said users had told them the bird died on Wednesday.

On Thursday morning, the service tweeted: “The white-throated needletail on Harris flew into a wind turbine and has died, pathetic way for such an amazing bird to die.”

The needletail is a migrating bird and is black with white patches around its throat and undertail. It is small but has a large wingspan and is said to be able to fly up to 70mph.

A spokeswoman for the RSPB Scotland said they did not know the exact details of the case but migrating birds can be blown off course when travelling and the needletail may have lost its bearings and ended up in Harris.

She added: “Whilst the collision of this unusual visitor with a small domestic wind turbine is very unfortunate, incidents of this sort are really very rare.

“Careful choice of location and design of wind farms and turbines prevents, as much as possible, such occurrences happening on a large scale.

“Wind energy makes a vital contribution towards mitigating the impacts of climate change, which is the biggest threat to our native birds and wildlife.”

News Link:-http://news.stv.tv/scotland/231100-rare-asian-bird-killed-by-wind-turbine-while-migrating-to-scotland/

Councillor under fire for shooting animals in his back yard

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A GREEN Party councillor is under fire after shooting animals dead in his back yard and posting the gruesome pictures on an online blog.

Mark Haworth-Booth — who stood as a Green candidate in last year’s local elections — boasts about his prowess with a shotgun alongside images of squirrels, rabbits and jackdaw birds.

But the gun-happy politician from North Devon denies any wrongdoing, insisting the animals are pests which were shot legally.

Local rivals slammed his unusual hobby, saying it undermined his position as an environmentalist.

Joanne Bell, a former North Devon councillor, said: “Not only does Mark clearly enjoy taking his gun into his garden to shoot squirrels and birds but he actually takes pictures and posts them on his blog.

“He goes on to describe the dead animals in very poetic and flowery terms. He’s clearly proud of his prowess with the gun.”

But Mr Haworth-Booth defended his position and his blog — which he has since removed from the web.

He said: “I think I’m right in saying Jackdaws are considered a pest and grey squirrels are widely considered a menace to forestry.”

“I think anyone who’s seriously interested in the countryside would share my view of the grey squirrel.”

But the councillor did admit to feeling guilty after shooting the bird.

He added: “I looked at it before burying it and it was a beautiful creature, but I had checked with the RSPB to see if it’s classified as a pest.”

Under the 2006 Animal Welfare Act, humans have a duty of care not to cause unnecessary suffering to an animal.

But “pests” like the grey squirrel can legally be killed in a humane way, such as a blow to the back of the head or shooting.

And if a bird is classed as a vermin, like a jackdaw, the landowner can legally shoot the animal.

An RSPCA spokesman said: “Wherever possible the RSPCA would always prefer alternative solutions and only if there is a serious problem and alternative means are ineffective or impractical should killing be contemplated.

“In this case control should be carried out legally, precisely targeted and carried out by the most humane method available in the circumstances.”

News Link:-http://www.thesun.co.uk/sol/homepage/news/4349429/Councillor-under-fire-for-shooting-animals-in-his-back-yard.html

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