A dead buzzard found in suspicious circumstances has been confirmed as poisoned.
The bird was discovered by a member of the public in January 2018, lying dead on top of a wall in a layby on the Kildale to Commondale road within the North York Moors National Park. It was reported to police and RSPB. Natural England sent the bird for toxicology tests under the government Wildlife Incident Investigation Scheme and the results now show that the bird contained the pesticide alphachloralose, which was the likely cause of death.
All birds of prey are protected by the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981. To kill or injure one is a criminal offence and could result in an unlimited fine or up to six months in jail.
Previous poisoning incidents have been uncovered in the area including an incident of alphachloralose abuse in 2007.
It is thought the bird may have been placed on the wall after it died. North Yorkshire Police are particularly interested in hearing from anyone who may have found the buzzard and placed it on the wall. This could help identify where the bird died.
Sergeant Stuart Grainger of North Yorkshire Police said: “North Yorkshire is known for its wonderful countryside, which is home to many species of birds including protected birds of prey. Sadly, as a county, we have more confirmed incidents of raptor persecution than any other county in England – a situation North Yorkshire Police is absolutely determined to tackle.
“It is saddening that this magnificent bird has been poisoned. I would urge anyone with any information about this incident to contact us on 101, quoting crime reference number 12180127114, or you can speak with someone in confidence by ringing the RPSB’s raptor crime hotline on 0300 999 0101.”
Jenny Shelton, RSPB Investigations Liaison Officer, said: “Raptor persecution is an ongoing issue which has no place in the 21st century. This was a despicable and deliberate act, and someone will know who poisoned this bird or placed it on the wall. If you have any information, please speak out.”
If you find a wild bird which you suspect has been illegally killed, contact police on 101 and RSPB investigations on 01767 680551 or fill in the online form: https://www.rspb.org.uk/our-work/our-positions-and-campaigns/positions/wildbirdslaw/reportform.aspx