A study into the halting of buzzards preying on game birds has been welcomed by the Scottish Gamekeepers Association (SGA).
The UK Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) is to research ways of keeping buzzards from targeting the game birds.
Defra says it wants to maintain a balance between captive and wild birds that allows both species to thrive.
The study is to last three years and could cost up to £375,000.
In Scotland, there has been an estimated 36% rise in buzzard numbers between 1994 and 2007.
Preliminary investigations found some estates in England lose as much as 30% of their young pheasant stock annually to buzzards, with no compensation.
Although labeled as scavengers, buzzards will eat rabbit and bird carcasses but also take poults and are known to eat the chicks of birds such as Plovers, Dotterels and Lapwings.
The research has been criticised by conservation groups but the SGA is pleased the study is to go ahead.
SGA Chairman Alex Hogg said: “Even although this study will be conducted in England, we welcome it because, since buzzard numbers have continued to soar, there has been no substantive research done as to the impacts of buzzard predation of game birds, or indeed other countryside birds such as conservation- listed waders.
“People working on the ground have known for years that there is a real issue here, so this represents progress and the willingness to listen on behalf of government.
“There is no threat whatsoever to the UK buzzard population, which is currently estimated to stand at around half a million, so having a study into non-lethal control methods is non-emotive, even if conservation groups disagree.
“The RSPB has already claimed this is wasting public money but the game industry in Britain props up the rural economy to the tune of millions, employs thousands of people, sustains families and provides quality food with no subsidy or financial input from anywhere else.
“In the current economic climate, surely it merits the same kind of attention as any other industry and having proper science available will surely be of benefit to everyone with an interest in the management of wildlife.”
Methods to be used to keep buzzards away from pheasant young in the study will include diversionary feeding, removal of buzzards to falconry centres, cutting back available cover and the breaking of nests to stall breeding.