The RSPB’s Birdcrime 2021 report – Bird of prey killing is at a “significantly high level in England”

Depressing reading but read we all should if anything is to happen to change raptor persecution. The RSPB’s Birdcrime 2021 report, published today, reveals 108 confirmed incidents of bird of prey persecution in the UK, 80 of which were in England.

Protected birds of prey continue to be illegally killed in high numbers, particularly in relation to land managed for gamebird shooting

Birdcrime report reveals 80 of 108 confirmed incidents were in England alone: the second-highest figure for England on record

‘Nothing will change’ without urgent government action

The report includes a shocking incident in Wiltshire in which dead raptors were discovered down a well. The discovery of a tomb of dead raptors down a well on a Wiltshire pheasant shoot was a graphic illustration of the horrors of raptor persecution. “For something as dignified as a bird of prey to end up in a subterranean mass grave is a sign of something deeply “wrong”. In June 2022 gamekeeper Archie Watson received a 12-month community order (180 hours unpaid work) and was told to pay £393 costs. He pleaded guilty to offences relating to the possession of deceased birds of prey. An RSPB covert surveillance camera captured Watson depositing a buzzard down a well, and other items on other occasions, often preceded by the sound of gunshots. Whilst whoever killed the birds is unknown, RSPB investigators believe the birds recorded (at least 11 buzzards and four red kites) were illegally killed. This was the largest raptor persecution case in England in terms of body count.

Read the whole report at RSPB’s Birdcrime 2021