Defra have now released a statement clarifying these reports:
Defra is absolutely not proposing to cull buzzards or any other raptors.
We work on the basis of sound evidence. This is why we want to find out the true extent of buzzards preying on young pheasants and how best to discourage birds that may cause damage to legitimate businesses. This would be only in areas where there is a clear problem, using non-lethal methods including increasing protective cover for young pheasants with vegetation, diversionary feeding of buzzards, moving the birds elsewhere or destroying empty nests. The results of this scientific research will help guide our policy on this issue in the future.
As the RSPB have said, the buzzard population has recovered wonderfully over the last few years, and we want to see this continue.
As a keen supporter of Britain’s beautiful wildlife, I am pleased that this assurance has been given. I will continue to keep a close eye on the situation.