16 AUGUST 1935, Page 15

Destructive Keepers Among all our students of birds none has

made more original observations than Major Buxton ; and when he makes a protest, it merits a wide publicity. He has complained (in The Times) that Norfolk keepers have shot both the Marsh and Montagu Harriers, those magnificent hawks so rarely seen except among the Norfolk Broads. One had hoped that such slaughter was at an end. I was told when I last visited that supreme sanctuary of Hiekling Broad that the sanctuary spirit had proved infectious or at least contagious ; and that neighbouring farmers—and presumably keepers—were hardly less ansecats to preserve the rarer birds, including the bitterns and the harriers, than Mr. Vincent himself ; and lie is perhaps the most expert and the most ardent sanctuary keeper in Europe. These 'great and rare hawks are worth much more than the small amount of damage they do. It is a liberal education to see one. Their appearance over one of those great flat spaces becomes almost as a feature of the landscape. It should be a primary -obligation on every owner of a shoot to forbid his keepers to shoot them ; and it should be a point of honour among keepers (many of whom are ardent naturalists) to preserve them. In the past Major Buxton has had to hunt and chase collectors who sought for the nests ; but even they are a milder menace than the keeper who carries a gun at all seasons, especially in the nesting season.