2nd Dec - Tim Birch, Derbyshire Wildlife Trust
[Tim Birch, Derbyshire Wildlife Trust - c Twitter]
For our second day of the activist advent calendar we have our friend from the Derbyshire Wildlife Trust, Tim Birch.
If Tim Birch wasn’t a conservation manager you would assume he was just ignorant, given his inability not to be able to decipher the difference between say a common rabbit and a rare mountain hare.
Yet, in his latest social media campaign video, Birch seems to yet again deliberately mislead the public, perhaps after learning a few things from his friends at the RSPB on how to do so.
In July this year, Birch found notoriety after going on live radio to claim that the rare Lammergeier, which had blown off-course from the alps, “couldn’t have come to a worse spot in terms of bird of prey persecution.”
At the time Birch claimed there had been 21 confirmed cases of bird of prey persecution from 2012 to 2018 in the Peak District
However, closer scrutiny of those ’21 confirmed cases’ paints a rather different story.
Firstly, many of these cases were only ‘confirmed’ to the RSPB by a single witness, claiming to be independent.
In fact that single witness was fanatic anti-grouse shooting campaigner Bob Berzins, who just happened to stumble across a poisoned raven in March 2018.
Birch's determination to see the end of managed moorland, despite the wildfire risk that that poses right on his doorstep, has led him to continuously ignore the vast amounts of evidence proving the benefits managed moorland when compared to unmanaged moorland.
He slanders gamekeepers almost on a daily basis, whilst continuously ignoring the widespread conservation benefits gamekeepers bring. A clear case of this was the recent BTO Peak District bird survey, which showed species and biodiversity in the Peak District was thriving.
Birch’s determination to present the Peak District as a barren wasteland as a result of gamekeeper activities has even seen him ignore his own well publicised findings, including a recent video he took of himself and published boasting of the birds of prey he saw in just one morning in the Peak District. These included, peregrines, buzzards and merlins in addition to the Hen Harrier nest he is camping by, as you can see in this video:
His demonic outburst against the gamekeepers in the Peak District, earned him the wrath of Charles Moore, the leading columnist for the Telegraph, who singled him out for the spread of ‘fake-news’ in the summer.
The suspicion from those who have dealings with Birch is that he's just a rather sad and lonely figure who has decided he wants to now make a name for himself as an aspiring Chris Packham to give himself some purpose in life. He has enjoyed the recent publicity he gained through his comments around the Lammergeier and now recognises that to keep that level of attention up he needs to continue to wilfully misrepresent facts with 'headline grabbing comments'.
It is also no surprise there has been an even bigger increase in illegal vandalism in the Peak District since his actions, as this latest video in the Peak District shows. Although there is no proof that Birch was directly involved in this latest act of vandalism outlined in the video, his ongoing posturing and deliberate attempts to misrepresent facts only fuels the fire.
The first picture shows this legal trap. The second video shows it after it was posted on the Derbyshire Against the Cull Facebook site.
[Another recent example of vandalism in the Peak District]
If anyone is in any doubt of the validity of Birch's claims, they need look no further than the plight of Vigo the Lammergeier this summer. As every moorland manager knew it would, the bird thrived like so many other birds of prey do in the Peak District, before setting off safely home.
What did not thrive however was the many red-listed ground nesting birds who were disturbed by the hundreds of enthusiastic bird-watchers trampling all over the moorland looking for a site of the vulture, having been encouraged to do so by Birch.
Rather than being a conservation director who brings any sort of positivity, Birch is the archetype of the problems we face in the conservation sector in this country where people put personal agendas ahead of facts and realities.