Police investigate shooting of two goshawks in Scottish Borders

From Peeblesshire News, 26/4/19:


Police are appealing for information after the illegal shooting of rare birds of prey in the Borders.

On February 14, a member of the public discovered a dead goshawk on land near Abbey Saint Bathens, Duns, and reported the matter to the RSPB.

Forensic analysis of the bird was undertaken, and it was established that it had been shot.

Police were then contacted on Thursday, April 25.

The news comes after the shooting of another goshawk in the Peebles area on March 2.

Inquiries into both shootings are ongoing and anyone with information is asked to come forward.

[Goshawk by Mike Lane]

Wildlife Crime Co-Ordinator, Constable Steven Irvine, said: “Inquiry was already underway into the shooting of the goshawk in March and we are now conducting inquiries into the earlier shooting of the bird in February. These birds are a protected species and unlawfully killing them is a very serious offence. Anyone who can assist with these investigations should contact police immediately.”

Ian Thomson, RSPB Scotland’s Head of Investigations said “Goshawks are one of Scotland’s rarest breeding raptors, with only about 150 breeding pairs. Despite the fact that most of their diet consists of crows, woodpigeons and rabbits, species that are perceived as pests by some farmers and gamekeepers, cases of illegal persecution against this species are not uncommon, depriving people of the opportunity to see this charismatic and spectacular bird of prey.

We join with the police in asking that if anyone has information about this crime, or other raptor persecution incidents, they contact Police Scotland.”


Well, well, well. More illegal raptor persecution in the Scottish Borders.

You know the place – it’s where SNH have been “able to reassure ourselves persecution is not an issue” (see here).

UPDATE 17.15hrs: This story is now on the BBC news website and provides further information about the second shot goshawk, saying it was found dead by a dog walker near Eddleston Quarry on 2 March.

9 Responses to “Police investigate shooting of two goshawks in Scottish Borders”

  1. 1 Les Wallace
    April 26, 2019 at 4:05 pm

    Well done Ian for underlining that goshawk are significant predators on species commonly regarded as pests – and two of which are the subject of the general licence debacle. Know I’ve mentioned it before, but I met a falconer who had permission to fly his bird on an estate in the borders. The gamekeeper came up to him and asked if he would be interested in four goshawk chicks – the nest was going to be shot away anyway. The falconer played dumb and reported the incident to the SSPCA. A few weeks later the falconer was at another estate, 3 or 4 estates along, when the factor came along and told him he no longer had permission to be there – and wasn’t pleasant about it.

  2. 2 Marti Wood
    April 26, 2019 at 4:27 pm

    How come the bird was reported in February, then took so long to confirm it was shot and police not informed until 25th April? Why such a long delay would it not of been better to inform the police at the time as a possible shooting? Just interested as not sure how stuff works, how will we/or who ever going to stop this if they are never caught in time.

  3. 3 Paul V Irving
    April 26, 2019 at 4:33 pm

    I’ve never understood the persecution of Goshawks by keepers, yes they take a few Pheasant poults, especially youngsters when learning to hunt. However they take an awful lot of crows, Magpies, Jays, Wood Pigeons,Grey Squirrels and Rabbits, all species many folk think of as pests to make up for the few Pheasants they take.

    • 4 Secret Squirrel
      May 2, 2019 at 11:22 am

      Partially the ‘all raptors are bad’ mentality, partially because raptors scare the game birds and make them less likely to fly

  4. April 26, 2019 at 7:20 pm

    It’s the ignorance of the slaves as usual…..
    Juv Gos make use of the take – away menu at open pheasant release pens – adults much less so.
    Their fate is therefore sealed.
    The economics of releasing massive numbers of poults on large shoots mean that they do now largely ignore Gos.
    It is often the marginal smaller shoots that continue to eliminate breeding pairs as well as dispersing juvs.
    Thankfully Gos , like wolf , are well able to thrive even when widespread persecution continues.
    They are really very safe as a widespread and increasing UK large raptor, which has spread from public forests [ with no game shooting ].
    I have always found that they are persecuted on the edges of these forests often at those marginal small shoots.
    Having gleefully helped reintroduce them to the UK I chuckle every time I watch them.

    Keep up the pressure !

    • 6 me
      April 27, 2019 at 12:13 pm

      Am sorry sennen but wolves were wipe out / slaughtered in the UK some years ago and its going to happen to our birds of prey and other wildlife if we can’t stop these mentally depraved idiots from killing anything that moves.

  5. 7 Michael Gill
    April 29, 2019 at 11:37 am

    “… well able to thrive even when widespread persecution continues. They are really very safe as a widespread and increasing UK large raptor.”

    Crikey … I’m out all the time and seeing one is very very rare indeed.

  6. 8 John Keith
    April 29, 2019 at 12:14 pm

    Again and again in these stories SNH look as though they are on the side of the criminals. Why do they do nothing to change their image; or even (perish the thought) change their stance and act against the criminals?

    • 9 Secret Squirrel
      May 2, 2019 at 11:37 am

      Because SNH see themselves (at CEO level) as an economic development organisation and not a conservation body

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