Buzzard & hobby found with horrific spring trap injuries on Isle of Wight

Police press release (4 Dec 2018):


Two protected birds of prey, likely to have been caught in illegal spring traps, suffered ‘horrific and traumatic’ injuries.

A joint investigation has been launched by Isle of Wight Police and the RSPB after the birds, a buzzard and a hobby, were found with severed legs in woodland at Littletown, near Briddlesford.

The buzzard was found dead, with a missing foot, on March 14. The hobby — a small falcon similar to a kestrel – was found alive, also with its foot missing, on September 23. It was taken to the RSPCA and put down.

[The buzzard with a severed foot]

[The hobby with a severed foot, photo by RSPCA]

The RSPB said today (Tuesday) the birds were likely to have been illegally trapped.

The birds, a hobby and a buzzard, were found with horrific injuries. Both had lost a foot as a result of becoming caught in a spring trap,” said a spokesperson.

Police were alerted and the birds were sent for post-mortem examinations. The report concluded: ‘Both birds suffered traumatic amputations of one lower limb consistent with the affected leg being caught and held in a spring trap.’

All wild birds are protected by law under the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 which makes it an offence to intentionally harm them. Anyone found to have done so faces an unlimited fine with up to six months in jail.

Jenny Shelton, from the RSPB’s investigations unit, said: “Spring traps are sometimes used to catch and kill vermin, and are legal if placed in a tunnel, with a restricted entrance, for this purpose. However spring traps set out in the open are illegal, and pose a huge danger to wildlife. 

We have had numerous reports over the years of birds of prey being deliberately caught in these brutal devices. Birds of prey are incredible creatures and it’s devastating that the lives of these two birds have ended in this way. We are grateful to the people who reported these birds. If you find an injured bird of prey, or come across a metal trap set out in the open or on a pole, call the police on 101 immediately.”

PC Tim Campany, from the Country Watch team, said: “We are working closely with our colleagues from the RSPB to establish what happened. One line of enquiry is that the birds may have been caught and held in a spring-type trap.

This is illegal and is a barbaric method of trapping. It leaves the bird, once freed from the trap, unable to land and feed and it will eventually die of starvation.

Raptor persecution is a priority of the National Wildlife Crime Unit and will not be tolerated.

I would urge anyone with information on suspicious vehicles, persons, or traps located in the Bridlesford area to call us now.”

Anyone with information should call Isle of Wight Police on 101, quoting the reference 44180374840.


Illegal raptor persecution is a national wildlife crime priority, so why the hell has it taken nine months for the news of this buzzard to emerge, and two and a half months for the hobby? What’s the point of appealing for information so long after the events?

It’s just not good enough.

These incidents will also cast a shadow on the proposed reintroduction of white-tailed eagles to the Isle of Wight.


13 Responses to “Buzzard & hobby found with horrific spring trap injuries on Isle of Wight”

  1. 1 Greyandblue
    December 4, 2018 at 1:31 pm

    Sorry but this nation can never properly regard itself as a civilised one, so long as these things are legal…under any circumstances. Take all traps and all poisons out of the hands of these sub human savages and lock up those who ignore laws and continue to use them. It is almost too late to do anything else now !

  2. 2 workshy333
    December 4, 2018 at 2:49 pm

    So, have the RSPB only just been told of this? Surely they would have made this info available to the public, as would the RSPCA, and indeed the police. Whats going on? This administrators of this forum, with its widespread following and academic support, should be the first to be advised of this once persecution has been established, unless some legal due process suggests otherwise.
    These traps must, surely have been on pole/posts…certainly to have caught a Hobby? They at least dont spend much time wondering around on the ground, inadvertently stepping on traps. A buzzard perhaps, especially if baited.

    • December 4, 2018 at 3:10 pm

      workshy333, we’re trying to get to the bottom of this delay. We’ve been advised that the police weren’t made aware of the dead buzzard until Sept. We’re trying to establish if this is accurate and if so, how/why this happened.

  3. 4 Dougie
    December 4, 2018 at 2:52 pm

    Press release date 4 December

    23 Sept is bad enough, but 14 MARCH !!!!
    (BTW, I am assuming that is March this year because we can never be sure it is not longer).

    This is almost beyond words.

    The incidents and delay is bad enough, but then we are subjected to the usual claptrap (these people do not even have the imagination to say something different once in a while).

    “Raptor persecution is a priority of the National Wildlife Crime Unit and will not be tolerated” Ha, Ha, Ha, Ha, Ha.
    Maybe that statement is correct. Persecution is not tolerated ………. it is encouraged.

  4. 5 Dave Dick
    December 4, 2018 at 4:02 pm

    A bit disappointed that an RSPB official uses the word vermin in their comment – its high time that pejorative term was removed from all normal discourse. One man’s vermin is another mans protected species. The list of species allowed to be caught in spring traps is small and species specific. We may not like some of these animals [rats for instance but they are living creatures not just “vermin” or “varmints” as they say in the US…!].

  5. 7 George M
    December 4, 2018 at 4:05 pm

    As delays in making crimes like this are common it appears to me that some form of hidden forces might be behind these delays. Of course when revealed no doubt they will attempt to say some sort of oversight was responsible. It might well be time to spend some time and resources to report on the specific circumstances behind ALL of these delays (as reported above) and the name(s) and position(s) of those responsible. I have no doubt that such a course of behaviour will reveal an emerging pattern for these “oversights” which might well rectify themselves should a light be shone on them.

  6. 8 George M
    December 4, 2018 at 4:11 pm

    On a hunch, as I know so little about the Isle of Wight, I checked to see if any pheasant shoots were present there. There are over 40 shoots with partridge included in some. No surprise there then.

  7. 10 bettylee13
    December 4, 2018 at 5:56 pm

    Which were the nearest shoots? Can they be mentioned by name? It’s bad enough that our wildlife is being destroyed because of intensive farming, encouraging wasteful lifestyles, but for it to be so widely and cruelly harmed for sport makes me wonder about the human race!

  8. 11 Peter P
    December 4, 2018 at 9:31 pm

    Probably explains why I only saw 1 Buzzard, in what looked like ideal habitat, during a week’s stay in October

    • December 5, 2018 at 11:41 am

      Blimey – I’ve been living on the island since 1995 when buzzard was basically absent and, since then, have seen a colonisation and very dramatic increase in the buzzard population. I have eight pairs within sight of my house (which overlooks the Undercliff) and can see twenty together along the coastal inner cliff face in late summer. The central chalk spine that crosses the island is an amazing place to watch tens of buzzards on the thermals on a warm day. Please don’t assume that this is some sort of persecution hotspot – it isn’t – and I’d be the first to hit Twitter and kick up a fuss if it was!

  9. 13 Elizabeth Fuller
    December 5, 2018 at 4:35 pm

    This is such horrendous cruelty!!!! Is there any update on who may be laying these traps?

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