Taking a flyer

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It’s a well known fact that RSPB employees need emotive headlines to raise the funds to pay their salaries, but “Killing native birds mars landscape” (Friends of The Scotsman, 27 February) and its accompanying litany of misinformation by Duncan Orr-Ewing of the RSPB really takes the biscuit.

Since the withdrawal of subsidies about a decade ago sheep have disappeared from Scotland’s hills and moors.

That and the more recent large-scale culling of the deer population have removed the carrion which was a major source of our golden eagles’ food supply.

At the same time, Mr Orr-Ewing and his compatriots have introduced semi-tame, hand-reared white-tailed eagles to Scotland because there is more money in them, even if they do further reduce the food supply for the native eagles.

Orr-Ewing’s statement that “the current golden eagle population is estimated to be about 440 breeding pairs” completely understates the seriousness of the situation, because most of those pairs of this iconic species are so short of food that they have not raised young for most of the last decade.

If the RSPB is really for “the Protection of Birds” it should have tackled this issue years ago, rather than churning out this kind of emotive propaganda to tug at urban purse strings.

Irvine Inglis