Buzzard Buteo buteo, in field of winter wheat, Bedfordshire, England

Poisoning wild birds

The laying of any poisoned bait in the open is illegal, whether it's laid to deliberately kill a bird of prey or for a fox or magpie.


A poisoned bait may take the form of a pigeon or rabbit carcass or piece of meat which has been sprinkled with poison.

Sometimes eggs are injected with poison, often discolouring the contents of the egg. Many poisons are fast acting so the victims are often found close to the baits.

In 2008, there were 133 reports of poisoning incidents, involving the confirmed poisoning of at least 65 individual birds and other animals.

The abuse of the agricultural pesticide carbofuran, which was banned in 2001, to illegally poison birds of prey and other wildlife has become a particular concern.

Poisoned baits are indiscriminate and can be dangerous to wild birds and other animals, as well as companion animals. Carrion-feeding birds such as buzzards and red kites are particularly vulnerable.

In 2008, there were 62 incidents where abuse of a pesticide was confirmed by analysis of victim or bait. Of the confirmed incidents, the most commonly used substances were carbofuran (recorded in 31 incidents) and alphachloralose (recorded in 16 incidents).

The Government Agency Natural England a poison hotline on 0800 321 600 on which suspected incidents of wildlife poisoning can be reported.

If you think you have found poisoned bait or victims, do not touch, warn others to stay away, note the exact location and details of any evidence, cover the items if possible and phone the above number. 

How you can help

Poisoned bird of prey

Have you seen a crime against a wild bird? Use this form to report a wildlife crime to us.