Archive for August, 2013


Sparrowhawk shot dead in Wrexham

SparhawkWrexhamThe BBC is reporting the fatal shooting of a kestrel in Wrexham, although judging by the photograph it appears the victim was a sparrowhawk, not a kestrel.

The critically injured bird was discovered by a member of the public on Thursday 29th August in Brynhyfryd, Johnstown and it died shortly afterwards.

The RSPCA Cymru are appealing for information. Tel: 0300 1234 999.

BBC News article here


5th suspected red kite poisoning in Northern Ireland this year

Y1D2013Last week we blogged about the growing concern of suspected red kite poisonings in Northern Ireland, following the discovery of a fourth dead bird in County Down this year (see here). Incredibly, conservationists had not been able to confirm the poisonings as they were still waiting for toxicology results from the lab – from as far back as January!

This week brings news of a 5th dead kite, this time found in the Cairncastle area of County Antrim and also suspected to have been poisoned. It was found by walkers on Sunday 18th August.

This bird (Yellow 1D) was born in May this year and was the offspring of one of the poisoned adults found in County Down.

The RSPB and the Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI) are appealing for information. Adam McClure, the RSPB’s Red Kite Officer in Northern Ireland said: “While we can’t say for certain until we have the results of the post-mortem, we strongly suspect that this bird, and potentially some of the others, has fallen victim to poisoning. All birds of prey are protected under the law, but unfortunately this doesn’t mean they are safe from poison. In some cases they are deliberately targeted as some people incorrectly see them as a threat to livestock or game birds. They are also vulnerable to poisoned bait left out with the intention of controlling foxes and crows. However, this is an illegal practice as it is indiscriminate and can affect not only scavenging birds like red kites but also pets, livestock and humans“.

Anyone with information about these suspected poisonings is urged to call PSNI: 0845 600 8000 or contact Crimestoppers anonymously: 0800 555 111.


Dead buzzard in Scottish Borders shot AND poisoned

6754Back in mid-July we blogged about a dead buzzard that had been found near Heriot in the Scottish Borders – it had been shot, but the precise cause of death was not known (see here).

Fast forward to August and it has now been revealed the buzzard had also been poisoned and that this was the cause of death, according to the BBC (see here). The poison used has not been named.

Enormous credit, once again, to the local Police Wildlife Crime Officer Hannah Medley for pursuing this case and also for publicising the findings in the media. Credit also to the lab folk at SASA for managing to detect poison in what had previously been described as a badly decomposed carcass.

This confirmed poisoning now takes the number of known (reported) poisonings in Scotland this year above the published figure from last year, so hopefully we will no longer have to read the ridiculous claims from the usual suspects that ‘poisoning cases are significantly declining’. The facts show that they are doing nothing of the sort. How ironic in this, the so-called Year of Natural Scotland.

Unfortunately the public haven’t been allowed to see this year’s on-going tally as yet – we know of several poisoned birds that have not yet been reported in the media, even though the birds were poisoned much earlier in the year. We’ll have more to say about these cases later in September and we’ll be asking the usual questions of a particular Police Scotland division about why they’ve kept these poisonings a secret for so long.


Poisoned peregrine rescued in Northern Ireland

Peregrine Falcon by Martin EagerA farmer, an RSPB warden, a politician and a falconer/gamekeeper have joined forces in Northern Ireland this week to rescue a stricken peregrine falcon believed to have been poisoned.

The bird was found by a farmer in a field at Churchill, Derrygonnelly, County Fermanagh. The farmer contacted an RSPB warden who collected the bird and passed her over to Stormont politician Jim Wells, who also just happens to be a peregrine expert and Chairman of the Northern Ireland Raptor Study Group.

Jim immediately recognised the symptoms of Alphachloralose poisoning (it thins the blood and causes death by hypothermia) and so he whacked up the car heater as he drove the victim towards Lisburn. Once there, the peregrine was passed to registered falconer/gamekeeper Alan Coates.The bird was put in an incubator and given a saline solution and appears to be making good progress, although it is still early days. She remains under Alan’s care and is currently enjoying strips of pheasant breast!

Peregrine photo by Martin Eager


Standing in support of the badger cull activists

badgerOur focus is on the illegal persecution of raptors that is closely associated with the game-shooting industry. However, exceptional circumstances have prompted us to post this blog entry.

The badger cull in parts of south-west England is imminent, if it hasn’t already started (see here). It is a government-sanctioned cull of a protected species for spurious, non-scientific reasons. Sound familiar?

This blog entry is to show our support for the hundreds of activists who have been, and still are, doing their utmost to prevent this cull from happening.

If you can’t make it to the badger kill-zones but you want to show your support for those activists you can:

1. Sign the e-petition (well over a quarter of a million people already have) – sign it here.

2. Contribute to the activists’ wish-list of equipment to help them in the field – the cheapest item is about £3 for a pack of rechargeable batteries. View their wish-list (and buy them something) here.

For more info about the whole disgraceful issue, read the ‘Stop the Cull’ website here.

Good luck and thank you to all those activists on the ground tonight and over the following six week cull period.


Young peregrine shot

peregrine shotPolice in Bristol are appealing for information after a young peregrine was found injured by the side of the road in Queen Charlton, near Keynsham earlier this month. An x-ray revealed the bird had been shot.

The bird, which had been ringed as a chick in July, is now in the care of a local rehabilitation expert.

More details in The Bristol Post here.


Not just any red grouse…part 3

MSFor part 1 see here, and part 2 see here.

The pressure is building on Marks and Spencer…..have a read of this article in today’s Guardian (see here).

On Tuesday we told M&S they had seven days to name the estates that are supplying them with red grouse. We also asked them to explain what measures they have used to assess these estates to ensure they are not involved in the illegal persecution of birds of prey. M&S have previously stated they only source game from “well-managed estates”. We want to know what criteria were used to assess and define “well-managed”.

 If they don’t respond with the answers to these questions within 7 days (so by next Tues, 27th Aug) we will be alerting Trading Standards and asking them to investigate M&S for what we think could be misleading claims about their products.

Tick tock.

UPDATE 3rd September 2013: Not just any grouse….part 4 – see here

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