Birdcrime report reveals illegal killing continues in Wales

Danny Griffith

Monday 24 September 2018

Buzzard in flight

• Powys ranks second-highest UK-wide in total number of confirmed raptor persecution incidents per county from 2012-2017
• RSPB’s Birdcrime report reveals 68 confirmed incidents of bird of prey persecution in the UK during 2017, but many illegal killings are going undetected or unreported
• Three confirmed cases in Wales during 2017

Birds of prey in Wales continue to be at risk according to the latest Birdcrime report which revealed a minimum of three confirmed incidents of illegal bird of prey persecution during 2017.

Birdcrime 2017 – the only report summarising offences against birds of prey (also known as raptors) in the UK – revealed 68 confirmed incidents UK-wide, including 48 shootings, nine poisonings, three trappings, four nest destructions and four other incidents of illegal persecution against raptors. However, evidence suggests these figures are just the tip of the iceberg with many illegal killings going undetected or unreported.

Among the victims in Wales was a peregrine falcon, red kite and buzzard. The peregrine falcon suffered poisoning via pigeon bait, whilst the buzzard and red kite were shot.

The report also revealed Powys to be the second highest county throughout the UK for raptor persecution between 2012-2017. During this period, the county saw 25 confirmed bird of prey persecution incidents – quite a distance ahead of the next highest county in Wales, Conwy, with four.

Despite wild bird crime incidents in Wales remaining lower compared to the rest of the UK, we must emphasise that one death is too many. The fact that wild bird crime remains an issue in Wales is a worrying fact.

Martin Harper, RSPB Conservation Director, said: “Birds of prey are part of our heritage and inspire us. We should all be able to enjoy seeing these magnificent birds, however illegal activity continues to put species at risk. There are laws in place to protect these birds but they are clearly not being respected or adequately enforced. We need governments across the UK to do more to tackle illegal killing to protect our raptors for us and for future generations to enjoy.”

Bob Elliot, RSPB Head of Investigations, said: “The persecution of birds of prey is a widespread problem in the UK, and is affecting some of our most loved and vulnerable species, like owls and eagles. Every week the RSPB’s Investigations team get reports of yet another raptor being shot, trapped or poisoned. But for every report we receive, scientific studies suggest there are many more that go undetected and unreported. As such, these figures only scratch the surface of the true extent of raptor persecution in the UK.”

The RSPB has also launched the Raptor Persecution Map Hub. This comprises two interactive maps – one New Pagewhich can be filtered by year and incident type, and the other that provides an overview ‘heat map’ of confirmed incidents across the UK for the period 2012-2017 – enabling people to see where this illegal activity is occurring.

For the full copy of Birdcrime 2017 report summarising the extent of illegal persecution offences against birds of prey in the UK, visit

Tagged with: Topic: Wales Topic: Wales