Posts Tagged ‘kestrel

20
Jan
17

Kestrel found shot dead in Worcestershire

A kestrel has been found shot dead in the village of Broadwas in Worcestershire. It was discovered on 10 January 2017.

This information was sent to us by a blog reader (thank you). The kestrel had been ringed in Warwickshire in June 2016 and whoever found the body in Worcestershire reported the ring number to the British Trust for Ornithology (BTO), who then sent a ‘ringing return’ note to the bird ringer, to inform him / her of the bird’s death.

According to this ringing return, the bird had been categorised as being ‘dead for more than a week, not fresh, found shot’.

What’s interesting about this, apart from the utter stupidity of the person who shot this bird (it’s a kestrel for god’s sake, what possible reason would there be for shooting it?), is what happens to the data after being reported to the BTO.

It’s our understanding that the BTO does not, as a matter of routine, forward data about suspected persecution incidents to the Police or the RSPB.

If our understanding is correct, this situation is quite astonishing. Surely there’s an ethical responsibility for the BTO to report suspected persecution incidents, to allow the Police or RSPB to undertake follow up investigations? Even if nothing comes of any investigation, these cases would still provide useful background intelligence and, importantly, would contribute to a better understanding of the extent of illegal raptor persecution in a given area. Reporting suspected crimes to the Police / RSPB would not affect the usefulness of the data to the BTO – the BTO could still use the data for trend analyses etc, it’s not as though the data point would be ‘lost’ if it was reported to the authorities.

How many of these suspected persecution incidents go unreported by the BTO every year? Is it the BTO’s responsibility to report suspect crimes, or is it the responsibility of the ringer (once notified of the circumstances of a bird’s death via the ringing return from the BTO), or is it nobody’s responsibility?

It’s all very strange.

Photo of a kestrel by Graham Catley

UPDATE 3.30pm: The BTO has responded to this post on Twitter as follows: ‘The finder has responsibility to report any suspicious deaths but we will review to see if there is more we can do’. Good for them.

10
Jun
15

Norfolk businessman puts up £5K reward to catch raptor persecutors

Mervyn Lambert NorfolkLast month somebody stole a clutch of eggs from a Marsh harrier nest in Norfolk (see here). Around the same time, eggs were also stolen from a Kestrel’s nest and a wagtail’s nest. Norfolk Constabulary are linking the three thefts.

In response, local businessman Mervyn Lambert is offering a £5,000 reward for information, adding to the other £2,000 already available (£1K from the Eastern Daily Press and £1K from the Hawk & Owl Trust).

However, Mr Lambert isn’t limiting his offer to these three crimes. “I’ll give £5,000 for any information, not only about stealing birds’ eggs but poisoning, trapping and shooting protected birds“.

Good stuff.

Further details in the Eastern Daily Press here.

27
Apr
15

Henry’s Tour: Day 20

Monday 27 April  Copy

Henry’s arrived in Yorkshire in his quest to find a mate. This should be interesting.

North Yorkshire (includes North York Moors National Park & Yorkshire Dales NP) is the worst county in England for recorded incidents of bird of prey persecution.

Between 2004-2013 there were 70 confirmed raptor persecution incidents. (2014 data not yet published).

These 70 incidents included:

  • At least 26 confirmed incidents involving the illegal use of pesticides – these include the illegal poisoning of 14 red kites, six buzzards, one goshawk, one peregrine plus the finding of a number of poisoned baits; several domestic pets were also poisoned.
  • The confirmed shooting of 25 birds of prey – consisting of 10 buzzards, three red kites, three kestrels, two goshawks, two peregrines plus singles of hen harrier, sparrowhawk, short-eared owl and eagle owl.
  • The illegal trapping of seven birds of prey plus another 11 illegally set traps for raptors.

In connection with these incidents six individuals, all gamekeepers, were prosecuted.

Hen harrier last bred successfully in North Yorkshire in 2007, despite huge areas of suitable habitat.

A Natural England study between 2002 and 2008 showed that of 11 HH breeding attempts recorded in North Yorkshire, only five sites reared any young and most of the sites that failed were believed to be due to human persecution.

#HaveYouSeenHenry

25
Apr
15

Henry’s Tour: Day 19

Fri 24 April Copy

Henry went for a skydance across the lawns of Holkham Hall in north Norfolk.

This place is home to Viscount Coke, Vice Chairman of the Board of Trustees of that well-known raptor-loving organisation Songbird Survival.

In 2000, a Holkham Estate gamekeeper was prosecuted for 17 offences including the shooting of two kestrels and the poisoning of a third. He kept his job on the estate. Case write-up here.

In 2009, a dead buzzard was found at Holkham. It had been shot. The Holkham Estate put up a £500 reward for information leading to a conviction, as did the RSPB. Nobody was ever prosecuted.

Henry didn’t see any female hen harriers during his visit but he did watch a buzzard and three red kites. One kite had what some would call the ‘Malta Moult’ – a large hole blown through the feathers of one wing.

Henry thought it was time to get out of Norfolk but not before he called in for tea and cake with the legendary Richard Porter, author of the 1974 classic Flight Identification of European Raptors. More recently, Richard’s studies on the local buzzard population helped to convict Stody Estate gamekeeper Allen Lambert. Lambert had claimed that the ten poisoned buzzards found on the Stody Estate had been killed elsewhere and then ‘dumped’ on his estate in an attempt to set him up. His defence was to claim that they couldn’t possibly have been poisoned at Stody because there weren’t that many local buzzards to start with. He hadn’t banked on the evidence of one of the world’s leading raptor ID experts, who had recorded 233 buzzard sightings and had counted 73 pairs. Oops.

Thurs 23 April  Copy

 

17
Mar
15

Shot kestrel successfully rehabbed and released

kestrel shot Ryedale 2015 2 - CopySome good news for a change….

In February we blogged about a kestrel with a shotgun injury that was being cared for by the amazing Jean Thorpe of the Ryedale Wildlife Rehabilitation Centre in North Yorkshire (see here).

What sort of moron shoots a kestrel?

Jean had posted a pitiful photo of the victim with its leg bandaged – a photo that led to a fundraising campaign to help Jean buy material for a new rehab aviary (see here).

Yesterday, Jean posted the following update on this kestrel’s progress:

The shotgun shot kestrel was successfully released back to Storwood. He went spectacularly well, hovering over farmland and looking wonderful. My thanks to Mark Naguib of Battlefatts Vets, Stamford Bridge, York for amazing veterinary work and Craig Ralston of NE for support and wonderful pictures. It’s so uplifting when it works out!

kestrel shot Ryedale 2015 released - Copy

03
Feb
15

Help support raptor rehabber in persecution blackspot

kestrel shot Ryedale 2015 2 - CopyNorth Yorkshire has the dubious distinction of being the UK’s worst known raptor persecution blackspot – a title it has held for several years (see here). With driven grouse moors the dominant land-use in this region, this rating shouldn’t come as any surprise.

At the heart of this blackspot is a remarkable lady called Jean Thorpe, who runs Ryedale Wildlife Rehabilitation, a facility that is wholly dependent on donations to keep going.

Jean works closely with the RSPB and the local Police Wildlife Crime Officers and last year was awarded an MBE for her tireless (voluntary) work.

When she’s not caring for injured raptors, mammals and any other creature that needs some expert help, Jean writes a blog (see here). Her latest entry is a review of the raptors she rehabilitated during 2014: a total of 99 injured birds, including 43 tawny owls, 19 barn owls, 11 buzzards, 9 sparrowhawks, 8 little owls, 7 kestrels, 1 peregrine and 1 red kite. She managed to release 53 back to the wild – an incredible achievement.

Not all were victims of persecution – many were road traffic casualties – but some had most definitely been targeted by the raptor-killing criminals. There’s a photo of a kestrel that she’s currently caring for – someone had blasted it with a shotgun.

Jean is fund-raising to buy/build a new aviary – her target is a modest £500. Let’s try and help her: donations can be made HERE.

30
Oct
14

Killing with impunity: Birdcrime 2013 published

Birdcrime 2013The RSPB has published its latest annual report on crimes against birds in the UK in 2013.

Their press release here.

The killing goes on, with impunity.

76 individual birds & other animals were confirmed illegally poisoned in 2013. This is more than double the figure from 2012 (29 confirmed victims).

Poisoning victims in 2013 included 30 buzzards, 20 red kites, 1 golden eagle and 1 white-tailed eagle.

68 confirmed incidents involved the shooting or destruction of birds of prey. Victims included two hen harriers, two marsh harriers and 5 peregrines.

These are just the confirmed incidents. A total of 338 incidents were reported to the RSPB in 2013, with North Yorkshire once again being the worst location. There’s also a worrying number of incidents from Powys in South Wales, seemingly relating to poisoned baits.

Birdcrime 2013 is a thoroughly depressing read. The RSPB calls on the shooting industry, again, to clean up its act. Judging by the contents of this report, that’s a seemingly futile request.

Well done and thanks to the RSPB for not only compiling these thorough statistics but importantly, for sharing them in the public domain.

Download Birdcrime 2013: Birdcrime 2013

Hen harrier Bowland Betty, found shot dead on a grouse moor in North Yorkshire. (Photo by Natural England).

Bowland Betty




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