Three dead peregrines in Forest of Dean

In March 2017, news emerged of two dead peregrine falcons that had been found dead near the Devil’s Pulpit in the Forest of Dean, Gloucestershire. We didn’t blog about these birds as we were waiting for the Police to publish the findings of a post mortem examination. We are still awaiting those results.

However, yesterday Gloucestershire Constabulary issued another statement about a third dead peregrine found in the same area on 15 April 2017:

Three dead peregrines found in the same area within a month sounds pretty suspicious, especially as there has been a spate of confirmed peregrine persecution incidents in England over the last few months (see here for recent RSPB Investigations blog on these crimes).

Let’s hope the post mortem results on the Gloucestershire peregrines are completed and published without any further delay.

Peregrine photo by Megan Lorenz


14 Responses to “Three dead peregrines in Forest of Dean”

  1. 1 Pete Hoffmann
    May 4, 2017 at 2:38 pm

    Some one protecting his racing pigeons?

  2. 2 Les Warriner
    May 4, 2017 at 2:40 pm

    Come on Glos police – pull your finger out. The County gets a lot of kudos and no doubt tourist trade from it’s peregrines. How long does it take to carry out a post mortem? The longer you delay the longer it takes to bring any culprits to account.

  3. 3 Frank Williams
    May 4, 2017 at 2:47 pm

    It may be totally unconnected but within 3 miles of this site a Goshawk was found shot around this time last year.
    As I believe you ( RPS ) commented on at the time.
    It is quite a cluster of incidents in this small area of the Wye Valley.
    Considering the border between England and Wales I wonder if anything is being found on the Welsh Side of the Valley

  4. 5 Doug Malpus
    May 4, 2017 at 4:25 pm

    My past experience with the local police see’s little hope in them following this case.


  5. 6 Jimmy
    May 4, 2017 at 6:37 pm

    I’d wager a large amount of money that pigeon racers are behind most of these incidents – they are well know for co-ordinating their illegal activities via various forms of social media

  6. 7 Iain Gibson
    May 4, 2017 at 7:12 pm

    Both pigeon fanciers and gamekeepers must be top of the list for suspicion. In recent years I’ve noticed a tendency, no doubt reinforced through social media, for certain types of individual and organised groups to exact revenge for what they perceive as “interference” by “townies”, who they proclaim not to understand the country way of life. We’re all familiar with the tired old “true guardians of the countryside” tag. These vary from high profile groups like fox hunters continuing to hunt foxes in defiance of the ban, to individuals taking the law into their own hands and carrying out intensive but low profile campaigns to wipe out foxes, crows and other predators and scavengers at a local scale. In particular I detect an association with xxxxx xxxxx, sometimes clandestine but at other times candidly open and defiant. We have a fight on our hands to counter this trend, which in a sense we have provoked ourselves by an albeit limited degree of success in raising awareness of the problem. In my opinion we need to take a firmer line, based on excellent science and sound conservation ethics, to stand a real chance of changing society’s attitude towards the cruel and destructive practices of those who choose the gun for recreational killing of our wildlife. The service provided by RPUK has taken us a huge step in the right direction, and long may they continue to do so.

  7. 10 Simon Tucker
    May 5, 2017 at 11:51 am

    I wonder what would happen if conservationists, birders, etc got millitant and started a campaign of illegal activity against pigeon racers, shooting estates etc. to put them out of business, damage their profits or prevent them from carrying out their lawful activities? I would lay odds that the police and CPS would have no problem, about prosecuting the “offenders”. It’s a good job we are, in the main, civilised, if incredibly frustrated.

  8. May 5, 2017 at 2:16 pm

    My many decades experience of working with Schedule 1 raptors in this geographical area suggests one set of suspects.
    Pigeon fanciers of one form or another.
    These falcons were no doubt killed with poisoned carcasses left close by & I would put money on this being the cause.
    Possibly shot but poison is silent, laid at night & needs no armed trespass.

    Hopefully it won’t be long before pigeon racing is seen for the cruel sport that it really is.
    Why is it still legal to force pigeons to fly through endless Peregrine & Goshawk territories for sport, oh & I nearly forgot – money !
    I also nearly forgot to mention the inevitable Royal connection with pigeon racing.
    Strange how the public is duped into cheering the high profile conservation efforts in other parts of the world, carried out by a family that has such strong links to the grouse & pigeon industries at home, which are so riddled with criminality & hatred of raptors.

    Keep up the pressure !

    • May 30, 2017 at 4:41 pm

      don’t tempt but seriously. the police need to be a lot stricter with whom they give licences tol I lived in FOD for 10 yrs and we had a brilliant wildlife police officer but he was given desk job . It needs someone who knows all the trouble makers as its not that big a place, in a way. local newspaper is a good place to send a,’letter to the editor’ to. there are people who will have a pretty good idea who did this.

  9. 13 Val Richards
    June 2, 2017 at 8:04 am

    Maybe you raptor experts know more about Peregrines than I do, I thought they hunt live prey in the air and do not scavenge, if that is the case poison would only work if their kills were poisoned. Also all birds of prey are susceptible to diseases i.e canker, ornithosis, e-coli etc naturally and can also pick these up from their prey. Does anyone suspect that natural causes may be the culprit!

    A pigeon fancier and bird lover.

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