Bird watching

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I write in response to the dramatic claims by Professor Des Thompson, Jim Densham and the RSPB on the effect of climate change to the habitat, and certain species of birds vanishing by the end of the century (your report, 10 May).

They would do well to look back at the past 50 years and the part they have played in the decline of the species they mention, such as dotterel, ptarmigan and snow bunting.

Far more damaging has been the meteoric rise in predation by raptors, corvids and ground predators, compounded by the fact that there are far fewer deer, sheep and rabbits and, in some ranges, none of the three.

Now the predators that patrol these ranges are forced to turn their attention to the aforementioned species to survive. That is only part of the pie chart. Since the new access laws were passed at the beginning of this century, there has been a rise in the volume of people and their dogs who use these ranges, leaving no part of the habitat untouched.

In world terms, Great Britain is a small island, of which Scotland is part. We don’t have the vastness of America or Russia to accommodate wildlife and recreational pursuits so readily on the same plain. Solve these problems first, gentlemen, then look at climate change. The two issues cannot be divorced.

Alastair Hunter