Posts Tagged ‘red kite


Red kite poisoned in North Wales – police appeal for information

North Wales Police Rural Crime Team has issued an appeal on Twitter for information after a toxicology report earlier this month confirmed that a red kite had tested positive for the poison Bendiocarb.

Unfortunately the details of this latest wildlife crime are vague. The kite was found ‘in the area’ of the Ceiriog Valley ‘earlier this year’ and the police believe the poisoning was ‘potentially deliberate’.

That’s it, I’m afraid. No specific location, no details of the circumstances and no date of discovery. [See update below]

There is a police reference number (21000458355) to quote if anyone has any information that could help the police investigation. Please call 101 if you can help.

UPDATE 8th July 2021: Thanks to PC Dewi Evans of the Rural Crime Team for pointing out the following posting on the Rural Crime Team’s Facebook page. For the benefit of those not on Facebook, here’s what it says:

The Rural Crime Team has launched an investigation into the poisoning of a red kite, found dead in the Ceiriog Valley. The bird of prey, protected under the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981, was found deceased on February 27th earlier this year and attended to by RSPB Investigations Team. Toxicology tests carried out by the Welsh Government have since revealed the bird tested positive for Bendiocarb – a highly toxic insecticide. Officers believe the incident was potentially a deliberate act and are asking anyone with information to get in touch. It comes following several similar incidents reported in the area over the past three years, with a number of ravens and crows also found to have been poisoned using another substance .PC Dewi Evans, North Wales Police Rural Crime Team manager said: “We suspect the red kite died as a result of the unlawful use of poison and as a result, we have launched an investigation into the incident. “The deliberate poisoning of a bird brings a serious risk to humans and other animals and is hugely irresponsible. “We are currently looking into a potential motive for this incident and ask members of the public who have information to get in touch.” Anybody with information is asked to contact officers at the North Wales Police Rural Crime Team via the website or by calling 101, quoting reference number 21000458355. Alternatively, call Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.



Red kite shot in Wales, now rehabbed & released

Press release from RSPCA (14th April 2021)

Red kite released after shot bird was rescued and rehabilitated

An inspector who rescued an injured red kite who was found beside a road unable to fly has filmed the magical moment she released the majestic bird back into the wild after a month of rehabilitation.

Our inspector Suzi Smith had been called to rescue the bird after a concerned member of the public found the red kite unable to take off because of an injured wing.

Found at the side of the A470 in Builth Wells on March 16, the bird was safely captured by Suzi before being taken to Vale Wildlife Hospital and Rehabilitation Centre to be assessed. While there, vets x-rayed the bird and discovered that the kite had been shot.

Suzi, who has been rescuing animals for us for twenty years, said:

It was an honour to be able to release this beauty after weeks of treatment and rehab at Vale Wildlife Hospital.

The bird had been shot, and had a guarded prognosis but the team at Vale worked their magic and the red kite has thankfully been able to go back into the wild where they belong.

It’s very upsetting to think that this beautiful bird was deliberately targeted and shot and this is an offence under the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981.

Anyone with any information about how this bird came to be harmed is urged to call our inspector appeal line on 0300 123 8018.”

All wild birds are protected under the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 (as amended) and it’s an offence to kill, injure or take wild birds except under licence. The maximum penalty, if found guilty, is six months in prison and or an unlimited fine.


Thanks to the blog reader who alerted me to this press release from April 2021. I don’t recall seeing any appeal for information in March 2021 when this bird was picked up injured by the side of the road.

Great work by the team at Vale Wildlife Hospital.

UPDATE 7th July 2021: Appeal after red kite wounded by shotgun pellets (here)


Sensationalist media reporting over red kite ‘attack’ will not help stop persecution

When I talk with international colleagues about the problem we have in the UK with bird of prey persecution, many of them are baffled how it can still be ‘a thing’ over here, so many decades after societies elsewhere developed a much more progressive attitude.

To be honest it’s a question I struggle to answer, but it is indeed still ‘a thing’ in many parts of the UK, as entries on this blog will attest. One of the causes of this ongoing perception that birds of prey are ‘bad’, ‘evil’, ‘vermin’ etc is undoubtedly the sensationalist, distorted version of reality published by mainstream media, designed to grab headlines rather than sensibly inform.

Here’s a classic example from yesterday, after a red kite lifted a custard cream from the hand of a two-year-old boy in Henley, Oxfordshire and accidentally scratched the back of his hand. Here’s how the press responded (The Times, Sky News, The Guardian, Daily Mail):

The toddler wasn’t ‘attacked’, nor was the town, and nor are residents being ‘terrorised’ by red kites, which the Daily Mail says ‘resemble eagles’!

Red kites are skilled opportunists and if there’s an easy meal to be had, they’ll take it. The situation in Henley with red kites coming in close to humans has been exacerbated by some residents feeding scraps to the kites in their gardens, and although this has been widely discouraged some people continue because they still enjoy having the kites around, 30 years on from the reintroduction project just a few miles outside Henley.

I know the Chilterns very well and the draw has always been the kites. The vast majority of people I know there and others I meet when out walking there are not ‘in fear of being attacked’ and nor do they believe they are living in a ‘Hitchcock horror’. Those of us lucky enough to have kites around relish the fact we can live alongside these birds and get enormous pleasure from seeing them every day.

This unsubstantiated hysteria generated by the press does nothing to educate the public about the benefits of having birds of prey in our environment and will not help to stop those still intent on killing any bird of prey whether by trap, poison or the gun.

Just in the last few months alone there have been reports of a poisoned red kite in Scotland (here), a poisoned red kite in Lincolnshire (here), a poisoned red kite in Dorset (here), a shot red kite in the Cotswolds (here), a shot red kite in Norfolk (here), a suspected shot red kite in Warwickshire (here), a red kite killed in an illegally-set trap in Berkshire (here), a poisoned red kite in North Yorkshire (here), dead red kites found in suspicious circumstances in Wiltshire (here), a shot red kite in Wales (here)……and on and on and on.

The UK media needs to get a grip and stop demonising these birds.


Warwickshire Police investigate death of red kite

Warwickshire Police Rural Crime Team published the following statement on Facebook on 7th May 2021:

Wildlife Crime Officers from the Rural Crime Team are investigating the death of a Red Kite discovered in a field near to Caldecote Lane, Nuneaton on Wednesday 28th April. Raptor Persecution is one of the National Wildlife Crime Units priorities in the UK. Red Kites were on the verge of extinction following decades of persecution in this country. The last few decades have seen their numbers grow and re establish themselves. They are protected under the Countryside and Wildlife act and it is an offence to intentionly [sic] kill or injure them. If you have any information surrounding the incident please contact Warwickshire Police quoting incident number 0140 of 28th April 2021.

It’s a pretty vague statement. The only part that relates to this particular incident, if there even is an incident, is: ‘…..death of a Red Kite discovered in a field near to Caledcote Lane…’.

There’s no indication from this statement that its death was at all suspicious, but presumably there was some indication at the scene that this wasn’t a natural death.

The story has been picked up by a few local newspapers but I haven’t been able to find out any more detail and couldn’t see any statement or appeal for information on the Warwickshire Police website.

UPDATE: There are rumours on social media that the kite had suffered shotgun injuries but this detail has not yet been confirmed by the police.


Red kite believed to have been shot & hung from a tree

There is a disturbing news report this afternoon that a red kite has been shot dead and was hung from a tree in a Norfolk village.

According to the Eastern Daily Press, ‘Norfolk police were called to Swaffham Road in Cockley Cley on Friday, April 9, after someone reported a dead bird hanging from a tree.

Police arrived on the scene to find a red kite, and an X-ray led to a vet finding shot dust around the right ulna and one of the legs being broken, police have said‘.

[A red kite. Photo by Natural World Photography]

Given the date, location, species and the x-ray that was published in this article (that appears to have been lifted from here), I believe this red kite is the same one that Norfolk Constabulary tweeted about and I blogged about last week (see here) although there was no mention of it being hung in a tree.

Presumably this new information has been provided to the press by Norfolk Constabulary, although I still can’t find a press release on the police website. It’s really not good enough. Raptor persecution is a national wildlife crime priority and the bare minimum should be a press release from the police with what can be viewed as reliable detail for accurate reporting.

Other new information in the EDP article includes a named contact at Norfolk Constabulary – PC Chris Shelley.

If you have any information about this incident please contact PC Shelley on 101 quoting reference 36/25060/21 or contact Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555111.

This is the second report of a dead raptor found hung in a tree in recent weeks. Earlier this month Police Scotland were investigating an incident where a dead buzzard had been strung up in a tree, reportedly after dying of natural causes (here).


Police conduct another multi-agency raid after two buzzards confirmed poisoned in Teesdale

Press statement from Durham Constabulary (21 April 2021)

Operation targets raptor persecution

Officers have teamed up with partner agencies on a special operation to target raptor persecution.

Operation Sunbeam included members of the Barnard Castle Neighbourhood Policing Team, RSPB, Natural England and the National Wildlife Crime Unit who carried out searches at two properties in Teesdale this morning (April 21).

It follows an incident last year when two common buzzards were found dead in Teesdale woodland. Forensic tests indicate they were illegally poisoned with a banned pesticide.

[Two poisoned buzzards. Photo by RSPB]

After gathering all the information, the team searched the properties for any harmful substances and two men are now helping officers with their enquiries.

PC David Williamson, who led the operation, said: “We will always do everything we can to support our rural communities and work with partners to act on information received about alleged criminal activity.

The positive action taken this morning will continue and I would encourage anyone with information about this type of crime to get in touch.”  

[Genuine & credible partnership working. Photo from Durham Constabulary]

The action was part of the Health and Safety Executive’s Wildlife Incident Investigation Scheme which was makes enquiries into the death or illness of wildlife, pets and beneficial invertebrates that may have resulted from pesticide poisoning. 

Guy Shorrock, senior investigating officer for the RSPB, provided specialist advice on the subject.

He said: “The illegal killing of birds of prey is a serious national problem so we are delighted with the really well-prepared response from Durham Police, working with partner agencies.

We hope this sends a clear message that the illegal killing of birds of prey won’t be tolerated and action will be taken.”

Ian Guildford, investigative support officer for the National Wildlife Crime Unit added: “It was a very well organised response and great to see agencies coming together to tackle this type of issue.”

If you have any information call 101 or email PC Williamson at


This is brilliant and follows in the footsteps of three other recent multi-agency raids in response to raptor persecution crimes.

On 15th March 2021 there was a raid in Lincolnshire (see here), on 18th March a raid in Dorset (here), on 26th March a raid in Devon (see here) and now this raid in Teesdale.

It’s alarming that all four raids were triggered by the use of banned poisons to kill birds of prey and it’s also quite telling that these offences took place in counties spread across England. This is not a small, localised issue as the shooting industry would have us believe – this is widespread criminality and involves the use of banned poisons that have the capacity to kill anything that touches it, including humans.

Well done to all the partners involved – this is genuine and credible partnership working. Let’s hope their efforts are rewarded with successful prosecutions and convictions.


Lincolnshire Police provide update on investigation into poisoned red kite

On 15th March this year, the RSPB tweeted that there’d been a multi-agency raid on two properties in Lincolnshire in connection with the poisoning of a red kite in 2020. Lincolnshire Police, supported by the National Wildlife Crime Unit, Natural England and the RSPB’s Investigations team, reportedly seized substances that were sent off for toxicology (see here).

[Multi-agency partnership working in Lincolnshire in March 2021. Photo by RSPB]

Today, Lincolnshire Police have issued the following press statement:

Investigation launched into suspected bird poisoning

Last year a Red Kite was found dead by a member of the public on a piece of land in the Crowland area.

The bird was sent off for forensic toxicology tests through the government Wildlife Incident Investigation Scheme (WIIS). The result of this analysis has been returned to us and indicates that the bird was poisoned.

Following this result, Lincolnshire Police Wildlife Crime officers, along with partner agencies including the National Wildlife Crime Unit (NWCU), Natural England and the RSPB, have been involved in a detailed investigation and two searches have been carried out at addresses in the Crowland area under the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981.

During these searches, items have been recovered which are believed to have been linked to this offence, including some suspected banned pesticides. Investigations are ongoing and two people have been identified in relation to this and they will be spoken with in due course. 

Detective Constable Aaron Flint, Officer in the case has said: “Raptor Persecution is one of the UK’s National wildlife crime priorities and is taken very seriously by Lincolnshire Police. These offences will always be dealt with expeditiously and robustly. Deliberate killing of birds of prey is an offence which I urge the public to report if they become aware of it.

I would like to add, that if a bird of prey is found dead and you believe it is suspicious it should be reported to the police immediately to allow an investigation into its death to commence. The bird may have been poisoned which poses obvious health and safety concerns if handled. Providing the police with the What3words location would be extremely useful when reporting an incident”.

Guy Shorrock, senior Investigations officer with the RSPB, added: “Though raptor persecution data for 2020 has not yet been collated, the number of online reports relating to confirmed incidents and police follow up action around the UK indicate this problem is clearly not going away

Lincolnshire police would like to remind the public that any offences or information they come across can be reported via 999 (for urgent matters) or 101 for other non-urgent matters or visit the Lincolnshire police website to report it online.


This is good stuff from Lincolnshire Police. Strong partnership-working with specialist agencies for the follow-up raids and a clear statement about what the investigation is about and its current status.

Let’s hope these efforts result in a prosecution and conviction.


Shot red kite: was it found on the Salperton Park Estate?

Last Thursday, Gloucestershire Police tweeted about a red kite that had been found injured on 12th March 2021, ‘believed to have been shot close to Salperton Village’ in the Cotswolds.

Judging by the accompanying x-ray, the kite had suffered a catastrophic wing injury and it seems unlikely it would have been able to fly far from where it had been shot (see here).

Gareth Jones from the Glos Raptor Study Group later tweeted that the kite had been found on the Salperton Estate and that it was ‘not the first incident found on this estate either‘. Gareth gave a site reference (What3Words) of dictation.dangerously.enacted which is located close to All Saints Church on the Salperton Park Estate:

The Salperton Park Estate in the Cotswolds is reported to host ‘one of the country’s most celebrated partridge shoots‘ over 4,000 acres, and is listed on Mark Osborne’s William Powell sporting agency website as being one his ‘hand-picked estates’ (see here).

Today there is a media article in the Wiltshire & Gloucestershire Standard about the shot red kite, including a quote from the RSPB, but once again, the Salperton Park Estate is not mentioned as being the location where this injured red kite was reportedly discovered:

The article just states that the shot red kite was found ‘close to the village of Salperton’.

Was the red kite found on the Salperton Park Estate and if so, why is there such reluctance to state this fact? If it wasn’t found injured on the Salperton Park Estate then the police should be clarifying where it was picked up.

As the police are appealing for witnesses, surely it’d make sense to give as much locational detail as possible?

In addition, if local raptor worker Gareth Jones is to be believed (and I have no reason not to), if this is not the first incident reported from this estate then all the more reason to publicise it. It doesn’t automatically mean that an estate employee is responsible for the crimes because there are a significant number of tenants renting properties at Salperton Park – how many of those might have access to a shotgun would be for the police to determine as part of their investigation, especially if this location is turning in to a persecution hotspot.


Norfolk Police appeal for information after discovery of dead kite, believed shot

Norfolk Police are appealing for information after the discovery of a dead red kite in the Cockley Cley area of Norfolk on Friday 9th April 2021.

An x-ray shows the kite has broken bones in its leg and wing. The police believe the kite has been shot.

Anyone with information please contact Norfolk Police on 101 and quote reference 36/25060/21.

I couldn’t find a press release about this incident on the Norfolk Police website.

[The x-ray of the dead red kite. I have added the red circles to highlight the injuries]

UPDATE 23rd April 2021: Red kite believed to have been shot and hung from a tree (here)


Red kite shot in Cotswolds

A red kite has been shot in the Cotswolds AONB close to the village of Salperton.

It was shot on 12th March 2021 and the Gloucester Police rural crime team has announced it on Twitter this evening, along with some x-rays of the kite showing shotgun pellets and a broken humerus.

Disappointingly, there isn’t any further detail available. I couldn’t find a crime reference number or a press release appealing for witnesses.

[UPDATE: Thanks to those who have pointed out that ‘inc 333 14/03’ in the police’s tweet is probably the crime reference number]

[UPDATE #2: Thanks to Gareth Jones from the Glos Raptor Group who has confirmed this red kite was found on the Salperton Estate. He thinks a press release is forthcoming]

UPDATE 19th April 2021: Shot red kite – was it found on the Salperton Park Estate? (here)

Enter your email address to follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Blog Stats

  • 7,511,613 hits


Our recent blog visitors