• Peregrine illegally poisoned in Barnsley

    The RSPB has just issued the following press release:

    South Yorkshire Police and the RSPB are appealing for information regarding the poisoning of a young peregrine falcon found on the outskirts of Barnsley in July this year.

    The bird was discovered ill and unable to fly in the Fish Dam Lane area, on 4 July 2020. Sadly the bird, a juvenile which will have only hatched this spring, subsequently died. The body was forensically…

    • 26 Oct 2020
  • Two more peregrines added to lockdown list

    The RSPB has just issued the following release:

    North Yorkshire Police and the RSPB are appealing for information regarding the illegal poisoning of two protected peregrines at a disused quarry near Tadcaster – adding to the body count of birds killed this spring.

    This male peregrine was found poisoned at a disused quarry

    The police received information from a local birdwatcher about the first dead peregrine on…

    • 21 Oct 2020
  • Peak Park Peregrines Poisoned

    The Peak District National Park should be a safe haven for spectacular species like peregrines, but a number of recent incidents highlight continuing problems. 

    In May this year RSPB raised concerns about the surge in raptor persecution cases during Covid lockdown. Amongst the many reports received were three involving dead peregrines in Staffordshire. It has now been confirmed three peregrines and a buzzard were illegally…

    • 29 Sep 2020
  • Another hen harrier disappears, last reported on Yorkshire grouse moor

    We have just issued the following release:

    The RSPB is once again urging the Government to step in and support licensing of grouse shooting to address the illegal persecution of birds of prey following the suspicious disappearance of yet another satellite-tagged hen harrier.

    A male hen harrier (credit Andy Hay, RSPB Images)

    Dryad, a male hen harrier, hatched at a nest in the Forest of Bowland this summer. He was fitted…

    • 15 Sep 2020
  • Through RSPB binoculars – our summary of the 2020 hen harrier season in England

    By Mark Thomas, Head of Investigations UK

    On 3 September Natural England (NE) and Defra announced ‘A record-breaking year for hen harrier breeding’ stating that 60 chicks had fledged from 19 nests across Northumberland, Yorkshire Dales, Cumbria and Lancashire during 2020. Whilst the increased number of fledged young is encouraging, as is often the case with hen harriers, what is not mentioned is often of more interest…

    • 11 Sep 2020
  • Chicks rescued from egg collection

    The RSPB has just issued the following release:

    Three golden plover chicks and one curlew chick are getting a second chance at life after being found, as eggs, in a property in Huddersfield.

    Two of the golden plovers, credit Jack Ashton-Booth

    In April, following a report of suspicious behavior, South Yorkshire Police executed a search warrant at a Huddersfield address with the RSPB. Officers seized over 200 birds’ eggs…

    • 6 Aug 2020
  • Another red kite vanishes in suspicious circumstances in problem area

    Yesterday the RSPB issued the following release:

    Two red kites and one hen harrier – one of England’s rarest breeding birds – have vanished suddenly and unexpectedly in the same area of the North Pennines AONB since last October.

    BB (centre) being tagged as a chick

    The birds, all of which are protected by law, were wearing satellite tags to help experts understand more about their lives after leaving…

    • 5 Aug 2020
  • Two spaniels poisoned by ‘Nidderdale cocktail’ in bird of prey crime hotspot

    The RSPB has just issued the following release:

    One dog has died and another became ill after consuming a ‘cocktail of poisons’ in Nidderdale, North Yorkshire – a known blackspot for bird of prey persecution.

    Molly, a springer spaniel, and Poppy, a cocker spaniel, took ill suddenly after going for a walk on 23 April 2020 south of Pateley Bridge, within the Nidderdale Area of Outstanding National Beauty…

    • 29 Jul 2020
  • Hen harriers - an inconvenient truth

    Natural England recently gave the green light for the controversial hen harrier brood management scheme to go ahead for a second year. However, has the government been sufficiently open about events last year near the very first brood management site in a notorious part of North Yorkshire?

    A male hen harrier - stunningly beautiful but still not welcome in large parts of our uplands.  Pete Morris (RSPB)

    We can reveal …

    • 19 Jun 2020
  • New starters bolster efforts to end raptor persecution

    The RSPB Investigations Team has recently welcomed a new Raptor Officer to their ranks.

    Niall Owen

    Niall Owen has taken up the post of RSPB Cymru Raptor Officer in a new Welsh government-funded role, in a clear joint statement of intent in the fight against raptor persecution in Wales.

    Niall is a keen wildlife photographer with a wealth of knowledge and passion for birds of prey, and has already began undertaking fieldwork…

    • 17 Jun 2020
  • Buzzard found shot twice in Peak District National Park

    The RSPB have issued the following press release:

    Greater Manchester Police and the RSPB are appealing for information after a buzzard was found shot near Diggle, in the Peak District National Park, on 11 May 2020.

    The buzzard had to be euthanized due to the extent of its injuries

    A member of the public found the bird dying on the ground and contacted the RSPB. However it had to be euthanized at a vets the next morning…

    • 4 Jun 2020
  • Eyewitness describes hen harrier 'exploding'

    By Howard Jones, RSPB Investigations Officer

    You’ll probably know as well as we do that helping to catch those responsible for killing raptors is no easy task. We might have a body, we might find an illegally set trap, but all too often the person responsible walks free.

    At the end of last year (2019), we became aware of an incident in the Forest of Bowland: a reliable witness gave an account of seeing someone shoot…

    • 2 Jun 2020
  • Unhappy Valley: raptor crime in Pateley Bridge

    North Yorkshire regularly emerges as the worst county in England for the illegal killing of birds of prey. In the past seven years, RSPB data shows that more protected raptors like red kites and buzzards have been shot, trapped and poisoned here than anywhere else.

    Within North Yorkshire, the countryside around Pateley Bridge in Nidderdale – which is heavily dominated by driven grouse shooting – is a particular blackspot…

    • 29 May 2020
  • Bird of prey persecution crimewave during lockdown

    • The RSPB has received a surge in reports of birds of prey being illegally killed since lockdown began 
    • The majority of incidents have been on or close to sporting estates managed for game bird shooting 
    • The public are being asked to stay vigilant and report crimes against birds of prey 

    The RSPB’s Investigations Unit has been ‘overrun’ with reports of birds of prey being illegally killed in recent weeks. 

    • 15 May 2020
  • Red kite vanishes in suspicious circumstances

    The RSPB has just issued the following press release:

    Durham Police, the RSPB, the North Pennines AONB Partnership and Friends of Red Kites are appealing for information following the disappearance of a red kite in County Durham.

    KK being tagged as a chick

    The young bird was fitted with a satellite tag at Rowlands Gill, near Gateshead in June 2019 by Friends of Red Kites (FoRK) with NERF support. It has been monitored…

    • 30 Apr 2020
  • Red kites shot in Powys

    Police and the RSPB are appealing for information regarding the shooting of one red kite, and the suspected shooting of two more in Wales.

    The third bird, found by Iolo Williams

    A protected red kite was found shot dead in Tregynon, near Newtown, Powys on Sunday 19 April 2020. At least two more are suspected to have been illegally killed in the area, which is managed for pheasant shooting.

    A local woman found the two dead…

    • 22 Apr 2020
  • Sparrowhawk shot near Plymouth

    The RSPB has just issued this press release:

    Devon and Cornwall Police and the RSPB are appealing for information after a protected sparrowhawk was found illegally shot near Plymouth.

    The female bird was discovered alive but injured in a paddock in Tamerton Foliot, Plymouth. Seeing it was unable to fly, the finder recovered the bird and contacted the police on 2 February 2020.

    The bird was x-rayed by Westmoor Veterinary…

    • 9 Mar 2020
  • Two birds of prey illegally shot

    We have just issued the following press release:

    Police and the RSPB are investigating the illegal killing of two protected wild birds of prey.

    A red kite was found dead in a field in Wigmore, Herefordshire on New Years Eve 2019 by a member of the public. The RSPB and West Mercia Police were notified. When the police collected the bird, they noticed a large hole in the bird’s body.

    The RSPB arranged for a post…

    • 6 Mar 2020
  • Portsmouth sparrowhawk killer fined

    The following press release has just been issued by the RSPB.

    The man was caught on camera shooting at the hawk from a garden fence

    • Yovanis Cruz, who keeps racing pigeons, admitted killing the protected hawk by firing ball bearings at it with a catapult after it attacked one of his birds
    • The crime was caught on CCTV by a neighbour’s camera
    • Cruz, who ‘acted without mercy’, was fined £801 at Portsmouth Magistrates…
    • 25 Feb 2020
  • Putting bird crime on the map

    Today the RSPB has released further data revealing more clearly than ever where the raptor persecution blackspots in the UK occur.

    Map 2, showing raptor persecution blackspots

    Readers of this blog will know that birds of prey (raptors) are sadly routinely being illegally shot, trapped and poisoned, and that often this is associated with driven grouse shooting.

    The Raptor Persecution Map Hub, which was launched in 2018…

    • 13 Feb 2020
  • Licence to kill?

    Do government General Licences which allow lethal control of certain bird species using cage traps afford enough protection to birds of prey? With the General Licences for bird control currently under scrutiny, and the English ones due to expire at the end of February 2020, we believe this is an opportunity to ensure the system keeps protected birds of prey safe.

    In February last year the newly formed not for-profit organisation…

    • 10 Feb 2020
  • Rare hen harrier illegally poisoned in Ireland

    The RSPB has just issued the following press release:

    • The female bird, named Mary, had been fitted with a satellite tracking device.
    • The bird’s body was found dead beside a pigeon and meat baits laced with poison.
    • Conservationists unite in condemnation of this appalling crime and call for a thorough and transparent investigation.

    A rare, protected bird of prey has been illegally poisoned near Drumconrath in…

    • 30 Jan 2020
  • Police investigate deaths of three kestrels

    Police and the RSPB are appealing for information about three potentially shot kestrels (two confirmed), which have come to light since Christmas.

    Photo: Vale Wildlife

    The most recent was found in Newent, Gloucestershire. Two members of the public heard a shot and saw the bird fall from the sky at the junction of Strawberry Hill, Tewkesbury Road and Ford House Lane, by the entrance to a caravan/camping site, on 12 January…

    • 24 Jan 2020
  • Buzzard poisoned in Peak District National Park

    We have just issued the following press release:


    A protected bird of prey has been illegally poisoned in one of the UK’s worst raptor persecution blackspots.

    In April 2019 a member of the public found a buzzard freshly dead in woodland near Tintwistle, just north of Valehouse Reservoir, in the Peak District National Park. Close by were the remains of a red-legged partridge.

    A post-mortem and toxicology tests under…

    • 22 Jan 2020
  • 2019... A review of the year by RSPB Investigations

    We look back over the stand-out moments of 2019, from low points to positive steps. A huge thanks to all who have supported us in our mission to end raptor persecution.


    A golden eagle was photographed with a trap on its leg in August 

    2019 has been a year in which the conversation surrounding grouse moor management has gained more momentum. Voices have grown louder, with illegal raptor persecution and the environmental…

    • 19 Dec 2019