The RSPB has just issued the following press release:

  • The bird was found freshly dead within the Peak District National Park
  • An x-ray revealed a piece of shot lodged in the bird’s chest
  • The RSPB encourages anyone with information to come forward

The bird, which hatched only this year, will have been in the air barely eight weeks

The RSPB is appealing for information regarding the death of a protected buzzard in Little Hayfield, within the Peak District National Park between Manchester and Sheffield.

A local resident found the buzzard, a juvenile which had hatched this summer, freshly dead on 5 September 2020, in a paddock adjacent to woodland and a driven grouse moor. They contacted Derbyshire Police on 101 and reported it to the RSPB. The body was x-rayed by a local vet who identified a broken leg and a piece of lead shot lodged within the bird’s chest. It is possible that the injuries were sustained at different times during the bird’s short life.

All birds of prey are protected by the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981. To intentionally kill or injure one is a criminal offence and could result in an unlimited fine or up to six months in jail.

Tom Grose, RSPB Investigations Officer, said: “This was a tragic end to the life of a young bird which had barely begun to spread its wings. The sight of a buzzard soaring overhead is part of the pleasure of being out in the Peak District. This is one of our most visited National Parks and should be a place people can go to enjoy nature, and a place in which nature is protected.

“Buzzards are sadly highly vulnerable to illegal killing, and RSPB data shows that more buzzards were the object of persecution in 2019 than any other raptor species. While it’s not clear whether shooting was the cause of death, it’s clear that this bird had been illegally shot at some point in its very short life. We are therefore appealing to the public for information.”

The buzzard was found freshly dead in the Peak District in September 2020

If you have any information relating to this or any other raptor persecution incident, call Derbyshire Police on 101.

If you find a wild bird of prey which you suspect has been illegally killed, contact RSPB Investigations at or fill in the online form:

Alternatively, if you have sensitive information about this or any other raptor crime which you wish to share anonymously, you can call the confidential Raptor Crime Hotline: 0300 999 0101.