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Think again before you slaughter our birds

Published 07/09/2016

September is here and with it the bang-bang season when you can reach for your gun and legally shoot a whole range of wild birds, whether you live in Northern Ireland or the Republic.

Numerous websites eulogise the fun and excitement to be had in firing at these winged creatures as they fly about trying to feed themselves. In addition to birds one can legally blast, there is unauthorised targeting of protected species under the cover of official bang-bang activity.

So alongside the shattered carcasses of snipe, pintail or golden plover, you may well find, on your cross country autumnal walk, a robin redbreast, thrush or lark.

I must confess I go shooting myself, but with a camera. I prefer the resulting print to the effect on a feathered friend of what is euphemistically called a field sport.

Sometimes, if I get too close, I frighten the bird, which makes me feel bad -almost apologetic.

But that's not, I would argue, as intrusive or inimical to its immediate or long-term wellbeing as blowing it to smithereens.

John Fitzgerald

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