Friday, 13 July 2007

Bird of prey killings hit peak

Goshawks are still a major victim of bird of prey persecution in the Peak District, according to new findings from the RSPB.

Its latest report on bird of prey persecution in Derbyshire – Peak Malpractice Update 2007 - highlights a catalogue of wildlife crime incidents from this region. One incident, which was reported to Derbyshire Constabulary, involved the use of a dead squirrel, placed below an active Goshawk nest within the Upper Derwent Valley, Derbyshire.

Squirrels are a frequent prey item for Goshawks, leaving investigators in little doubt that this magnificent bird of prey was the intended victim. This view is reinforced by the fact that the bait was placed on a pile of teased-out twine, which experts believe would have entangled any victim’s talons.

Ian West, the RSPB’s head of investigations, said: “The nature of the trap and its position clearly indicate this was designed to kill the breeding Goshawks at this location. Any bird unlucky enough to get trapped would have suffered a lingering death, unable to find food or fly.”

Among other horrifying incidents last year: a female Peregrine was found dead after being shot on two separate occasions; laboratory tests showed that a Raven had been poisoned; and Goshawk chicks disappeared from a traditional nest site after the tree was climbed by someone using climbing irons.

The RSPB is calling for the illegal killing of birds of prey to stop and is asking the public to show their support by signing an on-line pledge. Visit: for further information.

Photo: Goshawk from