Red kites shot in the Thames Valley

Thames Valley Police are appealing for information after the discovery of two injured red kites, both suffering from shotgun wounds.

Red Kites.png-pwrt3

Both kites were discovered in Oakley Wood, near Crowmarsh Gifford, Wallingford, Oxfordshire. One was found on 29th March 2016 and the second was found on 5th April.

Both are now in the expert care of Tiggywinkles Wildlife Hospital.

The Police have revealed that a third red kite had been found in the same wood on 22nd March 2016, although the cause of death is not known.

Anyone with information is asked to call  Thames Valley Police on 101, quoting reference #URN 372 06/04/16.

Well done to Thames Valley Police for issuing an appeal for information (here).

Photographs of the two injured kites and their x-rays provided by Tiggywinkles.


16 Responses to “Red kites shot in the Thames Valley”

  1. 1 crypticmirror
    April 27, 2016 at 11:56 am

    Near enough a month later they are asking for information? Come on, most people cannot remember yesterday accurately and the cops know this. Talk about doomed to fail.

    • April 27, 2016 at 12:04 pm

      That’s pretty unfair.

      This period coincided with Easter, then had to get x-ray results, do follow-up investigation etc.

      To get a press release out by Mon 25th April is pretty good going, especially when you consider it often takes months to get anything out, and more often than not we won’t hear anything at all.

      No complaints from our end in this case.

      • 3 crypticmirror
        April 27, 2016 at 12:09 pm

        Being fair never led to an improvement in any public service, especially one so entrenched in the status quo as The Old Bill. Be unfair to them, it gets better results. Always demand to know why they didn’t do more and do it quicker. It is the only way they actually will achieve results. I hope they’ve also searched the obvious candidate, looking at google maps there are a couple of maybes but one practically screams attention.

        • April 27, 2016 at 12:34 pm

          Yes. i wonder if that shooting estate owns any of the outlying woods. Very possibly but would anyone be that stupid to kill on their own land and not remove the evidence?

          • 5 Marco McGinty
            April 28, 2016 at 1:52 am

            The evidence has shown that some estates are perfectly happy to kill protected species on their own land, and leave the evidence lying around, because they know that various police forces throughout the UK won’t do a damned thing about it, the government won’t do a damned thing about it, and the mainstream media will generally have a blackout on such matters.

  2. 6 Les Wallace
    April 27, 2016 at 12:02 pm

    Yes good on Thames valley Police. How many kites have been killed and never found – difficult to spot bodies in woodland?

  3. 7 Doug Malpus
    April 27, 2016 at 12:06 pm

    Is there an escalation in crimes against raptors or are we and the public getting better at reporting the issues?

    • 8 crypticmirror
      April 27, 2016 at 12:15 pm

      Personally I think both, people are recognising the need to report more and social media makes it easier, but a Conservative government (especially this one, whose contempt for the public has been breathtaking) always brings out the bloodsports enthusiasts who want to deliberately stick one to what they perceive as the bleeding heart liberals and to show they are the high and mighty lords of the land who are above the law. Sadly they are right. Local Conservative parties always number a disproportionately high number of senior police, magistrates, and local worthies among their supporters. If you want to advance in the social scene then you have to play golf and go shooting with their lordships and if you do a chap a favour and help something disappear or keep the rabble in their place, then there might be something in the honours list at the end of a couple of years.

  4. 9 against feudalism
    April 27, 2016 at 1:03 pm

    [Ed: comment deleted as libellous. There is no evidence of who shot these kites].

    • 10 against feudalism
      April 27, 2016 at 1:29 pm

      Apologies, I’ll try and reword it somewhat :)

      would have been happy for you to amend the naughty bit.

      My thought is, that the landowner should be liable for any wildlife crime committed on their land, after all, they ‘allow’ shooting on their land ( either personally, or through an agent ) In a similar way that the crime of allowing a premises for the use of prostitution or drug taking, allowing a premises ( land in this case ) to be used for the crime of shooting/snaring/trapping/poisoning of protected species.

      Until we see landowners going down for a 5 or 10 year stretch in jail, only then will we see this stop.

      All subsidy to ‘sporting estates’ must stop NOW ! We are pouring £ millions into the pockets of wealthy landowners ? Why does the Scottish government not use this money, to take the land back into national ownership ? A lot of the land was formally community land, that was ‘tidied up’ into the estates.

      Open up the land for Hutting, woodland crofting, natural woodlands etc.

      • April 27, 2016 at 1:38 pm

        But what if an (unknown) individual has entered the woodland, without the landowner’s permission or knowledge, and taken pot shots at the kites? It would be grossly unfair to penalise the landowner.

        • 12 against feudalism
          April 27, 2016 at 2:27 pm

          Agree, that is the estate ‘fall back’ – it wasn’t us guv. So how do we campaign to change the law to stop this? or is it a mixture of not enough police and wildlife crime officers? and a certain reluctance on the part of ‘some’ officers to chase up important landowners. Is the law, as it stands strong enough ?

          A poor analogy, but if the police were to find stolen goods ( or a dead raptor ) in/on my property, then I suspect that they would look to ME to prove that I had not committed the crime ? So, who had permission to shoot there, can they prove it was not them?

          Perhaps all guns ( or their owners ) should be satellite tracked – simple enough, wear a tracking bracelet when your gun leaves the gun cabinet, all shot micro etched, part of the cost of owning a gun, that would make the crimes easier to attribute. Full cost of gun licencing should be charged, not subsidised by the tax payer.

          Obviously none of this will happen in England under the current government, maybe some hope up here. Educating the general public to the slaughter of wildlife, carried out by the estates, is the best way forward, along with petitioning the political parties in the background. I do congratulate your site for the work that you do, you have certainly opened my eyes.

  5. 13 Chris Roberts
    April 27, 2016 at 2:43 pm

    After spotting dozens of Kites whilst driving up the M40 I said to my passenger “You see far more here than where I live” l (Highlands). She said “They are becoming a nuisance, as I’ve read they attack people”. When we got out at the services I mentioned “pity we haven’t got an umbrella” she said “why? its not raining” I replied “to protect us from red kite attacks”. Just shows how these rumors and old wife’s tales take hold.

    These magnificent birds are worth far more than the scum that shoot or poison them.

  6. 14 Ian Kerr
    April 27, 2016 at 3:40 pm

    Glad to see Thames Valley Police are taking the shooting of kites seriously and are investigating and at least putting out press appeal for information. Three weeks ago the shooting of a kite was reported to Northumbria police. So far complete silence from them – no information, no press appeals etc. It was left to the local volunteers who monitor the declining kite population in the north east to bring it to media attention.

  7. 15 Jack Snipe
    April 28, 2016 at 1:56 am

    I have very little experience of Red Kites, but would be interested to know whether the kites being fed at various public entertainment (sorry education) centres are dissuaded from becoming acclimatised to the presence of humans. I do have plenty of experience of what we used to call “marsh cowboys,” who go out into the countryside armed with shotguns and take potshots at just about anything that moves within range. Although I’d tend to presume that most raptor killings anywhere near a grouse moor or pheasant shoot are likely to be due to illegal actions by gamekeepers, it strikes me that tame Red Kites dispersing from core areas could well succumb to being shot at by said marsh cowboys. I’d like to be reassured that the feeding centres avoid taming the kites. Having never visited one I just don’t know, but have been somewhat alarmed to see TV footage of people feeding them in their gardens as if they were seagulls.

    • 16 Marco McGinty
      April 28, 2016 at 7:46 pm

      Jack, we also have to remember that there are some in the farming community that firmly believe that Red Kites are responsible for the decline of many species, ranging from waders to hirundines to passerines, so some of the persecution incidents away from shooting estates, could be down to the criminal actions carried out by that section of society.

      Even though many species were already declining by the time Red Kites were reintroduced into various areas, many within the farming sector, with the full support from gamekeeping organisations, the game shooting industry, pigeon fanciers, and other raptor-hating imbeciles, automatically blamed the Red Kite for the declines. Again, much like the Raven issue, where misguided, prejudiced nonsense is the favoured system of belief, there is no evidence to support their fanciful claims.

      As for the species being acclimatised to humans, Shakespeare wrote of them feeding in the streets of London, and Burns wrote of the species feeding on dead soldiers at Killiecrankie, so I think living in close proximity to humans is a natural aspect of the Kite’s behaviour, or at least this would appear to be the case for some individuals, especially if there is a plentiful food supply on offer.

      However, like you, I don’t have much experience of the species, as they are still a very rare species in Ayrshire and the neighbouring Clyde recording area. Indeed, despite the species being introduced in Stirlingshire (1996-2001), then Dumfries and Galloway (2001-2005), I have never seen the species in Ayrshire or Clyde.

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