Posts Tagged ‘red kite


Shot red kite successfully rehabilitated and released in Essex

Last month I blogged about a red kite that had been found injured with shotgun injuries in Galleywood Lane, Chelmsford, Essex (see here and here).

The kite was picked up by concerned members of the public and taken to the South Essex Wildlife Hospital for treatment.

[Photo of the kite by South Essex Wildlife Hospital]

After four weeks of expert care and rehabilitation, this red kite was released back to the wild last week. Well done to all the team at South Essex Wildlife Hospital.

Essex Police are still investigating the circumstances of this illegal shooting and if anyone has any information please contact Wildlife Crime Officer PC Jed Raven on Tel 101 and quote reference number 42/265786/21.

Please note, this police investigation is one of two separate incidents concerning dead red kites. The other one relates to the discovery of a dead red kite that had been found in suspicious circumstances in the Uttlesford area of Essex earlier in November (here).


Update on shot red kite in Essex

On Wednesday I blogged about a police investigation into a shot red kite that had been found in Galleywood Road, Chelmsford, Essex (see here).

The details were a bit sketchy but Essex Police Wildlife Crime Officer Jed Raven had said he believed the kite had suffered wing injuries after someone had fired a shotgun at this protected species.

[A red kite, photo by Geoff Snowball]

A further update now reveals that the kite was shot, it flew a short distance, landed in a tree, and then fell from the tree in front of witnesses who took the injured bird to a wildlife hospital.

The kite is currently undergoing treatment.

[Ed: NB. An earlier version of this article said the red kite had died as a result of its injuries. This was incorrect]

If you have any information about this crime, which was committed on 14th November 2021, please contact Essex Police on Tel 101 and quote crime reference number: 42/265786/21

Please note, this police investigation is one of two separate incidents concerning dead red kites. The other one relates to the discovery of a dead red kite that had been found in suspicious circumstances in the Uttlesford area of Essex earlier this month (here).

UPDATE 14th December 2021: Shot red kite successfully rehabilitated and released in Essex (here)


JOB VACANCY: Red Kite Field Officer, Northern Ireland

RSPB job advert

Red Kite Field Officer (Fixed Term)

Expiry date:23:59, 12 December 2021
Location:RSPB Northern Ireland
Salary:£18,100.00 – £20,080.00 Per Annum
Benefits:Pension, Life Assurance, 26 days Annual Leave (pro-rata)
Duration:6 months

Are you passionate about species conservation? Interested in gaining valuable research and monitoring experience, while working with one of the UKs most recognisable raptors? RSPBNI is looking for an enthusiastic individual with experience in monitoring birds of prey for a six-month post in County Down, Northern Ireland.

The role

Red Kites were reintroduced to Northern Ireland in 2008 and since then the local population has been monitored by a dedicated team of staff and volunteers.

Your role will be to collect data on wintering and breeding Red Kites at their strongholds in the Dromara Hills and surrounding areas. This will include winter roost surveys, nest finding and monitoring to assess productivity, associated data entry, and supporting and coordinating a team of volunteers. The post holder will need to have previous experience in finding and monitoring raptor nests.

This is an exciting opportunity to work alongside a passionate team in one the most spectacular places in Northern Ireland. Please note that the successful candidate will be required to work unsociable hours, including the occasional weekend, depending on the weather.

Key activities will include:

  • Winter Red Kite roost watch surveys.
  • Nest location and monitoring of Red Kites.
  • Developing and upkeeping relationships with stakeholders and landowners.
  • Delivering appropriate species protection for priority species in identified geographical/priority areas.
  • Manage all relevant data to ensure it is stored and analysed appropriately to allow review of work programmes and future planning.
  • Build appropriate positive relationships with key external partners and stakeholders so that RSPB’s monitoring of species and habitats, policies and messages are understood within relevant partnerships and fora.
  • Contribute to the delivery of RSPB’s conservation programme away from reserves focussing on monitoring and species protection to help deliver Saving Nature Outcomes.
  • Supporting and coordinating a team of volunteers – including on tasks such as data management, monitoring, and wing-tagging.

Essential skills, knowledge and experience:

  • Higher level qualification in a relevant subject or ability to show equivalent work experience e.g., field season conducting raptor surveys.
  • Knowledge of bird and wildlife ecology, habitat requirements and identification to enable credibility in the role.
  • Organisational skills e.g., maintenance and analysis of datasets, and managing conflicting priorities.
  • Ability to work effectively as a team player both internally and externally.
  • Effective communication skills (verbal, written and presentational) – including an ability to speak confidently and cogently in public to a variety of audiences.
  • Ability to be diplomatic.
  • Experience of working to survey, protect and/or manage important sites, species or habitats.
  • Experience of managing volunteers and setting clear work priorities.
  • Experience of working with land managers e.g., farmers, woodland owners
  • Ability to rapidly analyse significant quantities of information, prioritise and balance a diverse workload often to tight deadlines.
  • Knowledge of the wildlife and habitats of the operational area of this role
  • Experience of public engagement work e.g., attendance at county shows and events.
  • Experience of productive Partnership working.
  • Specialist conservation knowledge in relevant habitat /species areas.

This is a Contract, Full Time role for 6 months. The RSPB reserves the right to extend or make this role permanent without further advertising dependent on business needs at the end of the contract term.

We are looking to conduct interviews for this position from 21st December 2021. For further information please contact

As part of this application process you will be asked to complete an application form including evidence on how you meet the skills, knowledge, and experience listed above.

The RSPB is an equal opportunities employer. This role is covered by the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974.



Another red kite shot in Essex

Less than two weeks ago Essex Police announced they were working with the RSPB to investigate the suspicious death of a red kite found in the Uttlesford district (see here).

This morning, Police Wildlife Crime Officer Jed Raven has informed me of another incident, this time the shooting of a red kite.

[A red kite, photo by Geoff Snowball]

The details are limited but here is what has been provided so far:

Crime reference number: 42/265786/21

14 November 2021, 2pm.

Galleywood Road, Chelmsford, Essex

Suspect(s) unknown have shot a red kite using what is believed to be a shot gun. The red kite was shot through its wing.

It’s not clear whether the shooting was witnessed and took place at this location at the stated time, or whether this time and location is where the injured kite was discovered.

I understand the kite is currently at a wildlife hospital but I don’t know whether it survived its injuries.

Hopefully more information will emerge as the investigation progresses.

Many thanks to PC Jed Raven for getting the news out. If anyone has any information about this latest crime please contact Essex Police on Tel: 101 and quote crime reference 42/265786/21.

UPDATE 21st November 2021: Update on shot red kite in Essex (here)

UPDATE 14th December 2021: Shot red kite successfully rehabilitated and released in Essex (here)


Essex Police & RSPB investigate death of red kite found in suspicious circumstances

Essex Police is working with the RSPB to investigate the death of a red kite found in suspicious circumstances in the Uttlesford District.

Police wildlife crime officer Jed Raven posted the following photograph and tweet on Twitter this morning:

This is a map showing the Uttlesford district in Essex:

There aren’t any further details at the moment.

It’s good to see yet another example of partnership working between the RSPB and the police. What was it that Lord Masham, the poorly-informed Chair of the Moorland Association said a couple of weeks ago?

Ah yes, that the RSPB ‘seem to avoid the police and the authorities and the law‘ (see here).

Had he been paying attention he’d have known that the RSPB has been working with police forces across the UK in a series of multi-agency raids relating to suspected raptor killing (e.g. see here).

It’s not really that Lord Masham is poorly-informed. I don’t think he is at all. I think rather his statement was a deliberate attempt to try and discredit the reputation of the RSPB and thus undermine the credibility of the RSPB’s latest damning Birdcrime report, which showed that 2020 was the ‘worst year on record’ for bird of prey persecution in the UK, with more than half of the crimes linked to land managed for game bird shooting.

If a post-mortem reveals that this latest red kite has been illegally killed, let’s hope the joint Police & RSPB investigation leads to a heightened level of public awareness in the local area, if not a prosecution.


Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority reacts to 2020 being ‘worst year on record’ for raptor persecution crimes

Last week the RSPB published its latest annual Birdcrime report which showed that 2020 was the ‘worst year on record’ for confirmed crimes against birds of prey in the UK (see here).

For the seventh year in a row, North Yorkshire had more confirmed raptor persecution crimes than any other county in the UK. Twenty-six of the 137 confirmed UK incidents occurred in North Yorkshire. Of these two thirds were directly related to grouse shooting and a further four incidents to other types of shooting. Victims in the county included 16 buzzards, two peregrine falcons, two red kites and one goshawk.

[Grouse moor landscape in the Yorkshire Dales National Park. Photo by Ruth Tingay]

In response to the damning Birdcrime report, the Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority has issued this pretty unequivocal statement:


Commenting on the RSPB Birdcrime Report 2020, Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority Chief Executive David Butterworth said:

“This report makes grim reading for all landscape authorities, landowners, managers and other partners who are working hard to call out and tackle illegal raptor persecution, and it’s embarrassing and humiliating to see North Yorkshire yet again topping the league table with the highest number of confirmed incidents.

“As we’ve said before, the continuing issue of bird of prey persecution in North Yorkshire demands maximum exposure, as do the activities of those who take part in this criminality. People need to know what is happening here and the devastating impact this is having on our protected species. This report lays that bare.

”The Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority condemns raptor persecution in the strongest possible terms and, as highlighted in this report, we will continue to work closely with partners and others to stamp out this crime once and for all.

“I would appeal to anyone, local or visitor, who witnesses any suspicious activity while they’re out and about in the countryside, or anyone who is made aware of it through their networks, to contact the Police”.

The Yorkshire Dales National Park Management Plan objective C5 on illegal persecution of raptors can be viewed here.

For concerns about a possible wildlife crime, you should call 101. If you witness a suspected wildlife crime in action, call 999 immediately and ask for the Police. Finally, you can speak in confidence about raptor persecution directly with the RSPB on 0300 9990101



‘Star lot’ in GWCT’s auction is a day’s shooting at an estate currently at centre of police investigation into shot red kite

It’s always interesting to look at the auction lots in the shooting world’s regular fundraising drives. I think it’s useful, and quite telling, to see who’s supporting who and it can often explain a great deal about why many shooting organisations refuse to call out the criminals when yet another raptor persecution crime is uncovered and instead simply pretend not to have noticed that anything’s happened (also known as wilful blindness).

In the era of a so-called ‘zero tolerance’ approach to raptor persecution, repeatedly declared by the large shooting organisations but yet to be effectively demonstrated in any meaningful way (because it’s all just a blatant publicity stunt in my opinion (e.g. see here)) it’s even funnier to scrutinise the auction booklets and see ‘who’s doing who’.

The latest auction from the Game and Wildlife Conservation Trust (GWCT) reveals an interesting donor, hailed as the auction’s ‘star lot’ on the GWCT website.

This ‘star lot’ comprises a 250-bird mixed pheasant and partridge day for eight guns at the ‘renowned’ Salperton Park in January 2022.

Does Salperton Park ring any bells to anyone? It does to me. This is where a red kite was found in March this year with multiple injuries caused by someone blasting the bird with a shotgun. The extent of the kite’s injuries, with serial fractures, is an indication that it was shot very close to where it was found, critically injured, on the estate (see here and here).

Gloucestershire Constabulary opened a criminal investigation focusing on Salperton Estate and local area, although PC Ash Weller was quoted in the local press:

We are exploring all avenues as this could have been someone travelling through the area rather than someone local to the area“.

Yeah, righto, PC Weller, it wasn’t as if the county was in a Tier 4 ‘stay at home’ lockdown period or anything, or that other alleged persecution incidents had been reported previously at this location, or indeed that raptor persecution has demonstrable links to the game shooting industry. Yeah, let’s focus on the least plausible explanation and go from there.

Needless to say, nobody has yet been charged or prosecuted and nor are they likely to be because the evidence required to link a named individual to this wildlife crime is virtually impossible to attain, even when the police are looking in the right direction.

Where does that leave us?

The sporting agency, Mark Osborne’s William Powell, can continue to advertise the estate as ‘one of the country’s most celebrated partridge shoots”, sporting clients can continue to fork out for shoot days on the estate, and the GWCT can trouser thousands of pounds worth of funds from their auction’s ‘star lot’.



Shotguns & dead bird of prey seized during multi-agency raid in Wales

Article from The Leader (8th October 2021)

MORE than a dozen shotguns and a dead bird of prey have been seized following an investigation into the illegal killing of raptors in the Ceiriog Valley.

The operation that took place this week was carried out by North Wales Police’s Rural Crime Team, in partnership with the RSPB Investigations Team, the National Wildlife Crime Unit and the Welsh Government, targeting those suspected of unlawfully poisoning birds of prey.

It came following an investigation launched in July into the poisoning of a red kite, found dead in the Ceiriog Valley on February 27 [Ed: see here].

Toxicology tests carried out on the bird by the Welsh Government earlier this year revealed it tested positive for Bendiocarb – a highly toxic pesticide.

Officers believe the incident was a deliberate act.

[Photo from North Wales Police Rural Crime Team]

Following this week’s searches, which included the recovery of 15 shotguns, the dead bird of prey was sent off for toxicology tests, while dangerous chemicals also discovered at one property are being dealt with.

Sergeant Dewi Evans of the Rural Crime Team said:

It’s time to stamp out persecution against our birds of prey. We are glad to have worked with Welsh Government, National Wildlife Crime Unit and RSPB Investigations on our operation targeting those suspected of criminally harming our wildlife. We look forward to working with our partners again in future.

RSPB Investigations officer Niall Owen said: “This was a well organised multi-agency operation and a positive step in the right direction for investigating raptor persecution in Wales.

“We, as a team, are committed to working alongside the police to safeguard the future for birds of prey and uncover these barbaric crimes against our birds.

“Laying poison baits in the countryside to target birds of prey is not only illegal but represents a huge danger to any person or animal unlucky enough to come across it.

“We would like the thank North Wales Police for their commitments to follow up these incidents.”



Freedom of information documents highlight gamekeepers, fox hunting and raptor persecution in 3 public forests

The Scottish animal welfare charity OneKind has today revealed that Forestry Land Scotland (FLS) is still permitting the use of fox-hunting foot packs in several public forests, partly for the benefit of privately-owned grouse shooting estates. These public forests also happen to be in well-known raptor persecution hotspots.

In a freedom of information response, FLS admitted allowing the fox-hunt foot packs to operate in three public woodlands near Inverness: Loch Farr Wood, Farr Wood and Meall Mor near Moy.

[Moy has long been of interest to this blog, mostly for the frequency of illegal raptor persecution incidents recorded there for over a decade. And then there’s this: a photo to illustrate the stupidity of setting fire to the moor for grouse management, a few hundred yards from some publicly-subsidised wind turbines!]

The FoI documents also reveal that FLS staff suspected that gamekeepers were visiting the forests to look for fox dens to block up, which also happened to be beside Schedule 1 raptor nests, some of which have been repeatedly attacked in previous years.

For example, in 2016 Police Scotland issued an appeal for information after one goshawk and four buzzard nests were abandoned in suspicious circumstances in Moy Forest (see here).

In 2017, also in Moy Forest, masked gunmen were caught on camera underneath a goshawk nest. The nest, containing a clutch of eggs, was mysteriously abandoned shortly afterwards (see here and here).

In July this year, Police Scotland appealed for information after a dead goshawk was found in Loch Farr Wood – this bird had been shot (see here).

The issue of fox-hunting is beyond the remit of this blog although I’d question whether a Scottish Government agency should be complicit in supporting the eradication of native predators for the benefit of driven grouse shooting, which is what appears to be happening here.

If you’d like to read more about OneKind’s freedom of information request and FLS’s response about fox-hunting, gamekeepers and raptor persecution in these public forests, please see the OneKind blog (here) and an article in today’s National (here).

Meanwhile, as the authorities seem unable to tackle raptor persecution in public forests, we’re all still waiting to see whether NatureScot will impose a General Licence restriction on Moy Estate following the discovery of a poisoned satellite-tagged red kite found on the grouse moor almost a year ago, in October 2020 (see here).


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.


UPDATE 8th October 2021: Shotguns & dead bird of prey seized during multi-agency raid in Wales (here)

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