Buzzard with shotgun injuries found in Thirsk, North Yorkshire

A buzzard with shotgun injuries has been found in Thirsk, North Yorkshire, this week. It had a broken femur. The bird has undergone surgery and is currently in rehabilitation with the wonderful Jean Thorpe of Ryedale Wildlife Rehabilitation.



A quote from Jean: “Amazing work once again by Mark Naguib of Battleflatts vets. The shot buzzard is stood square once again with shiny pins correcting the break. He looks so much better already. Long way to go yet but looking good so far“.

North Yorkshire Police have been informed.

North Yorkshire maintains its status as one of the worst places in the UK for the illegal killing of birds of prey. It’s a county where much of the landscape is dominated by grouse moors, particularly in the two National Parks: the North York Moors NP and the Yorkshire Dales NP, as well as a large number of pheasant and partridge shoots.

This year, other raptor persecution crimes uncovered in North Yorkshire have included several illegally spring-trapped buzzards, several shot buzzards, at least ten shot red kites, and a gamekeeper filmed setting three illegal pole traps on a grouse moor.

23 thoughts on “Buzzard with shotgun injuries found in Thirsk, North Yorkshire”

  1. Lets not just focus on the grouse moors, the sheep farmers are just as bad when it comes to blasting at buzzards. We need to be taking a long hard look at them too.

    1. Not just buzzards…to me, the particularly nasty pracitce of shooting out crows nests, is an equally popular hobby.

    2. Hi crypticmirror not sure what part of the country you are from but I trust you are going to share some exampes of sheep farmers ” blasting at buzzards ” as a majority of sheep farmers in this area do not own a shotgun or rifle . I know this as I get called out to put down livestock by these farms . I can ony talk for this area but as we have a healthy buzzard and hen harrier population it would seem you are mistaken. You are more than welcome to take a ” long hard look ” at us .

      1. Really? Because every sheep farmer I know has one to shoot at dogs worrying sheep, at least that is the reason given for them. However, as soon as anything with hooked beak and talons shows up, out comes the shotgun because buzzards apparently kill sheep and eagles lift away half grown lambs. I have personally seen kites being shot at by sheep farmers for allegedly attacking sheep. Ravens and crows sit on the back of sheep and rip chunks of flesh out (this one has clearly been borrowed from the New Zealanders, where they do have abird that does occasionally do that). These excuses have all been given in the 21stC too. So don’t give me the flannel, Hector. If you don’t like what some in your industry have been doing, then start turning up in court against the ones that do. Just because they aren’t doing it on quite the industrial scale of the keepers does not excuse the sheep farming industry from blame, and using the gamekeeper’s tactic of deny-deny-deny does the shepherding industry no good at all.

        1. Stil not sure what part of the country where all this carnage takes place you are from but again I can only report on what I see on Mull. Perhaps you should report all these people shootng at kites rather than request I turn up in court against something I have never seen. I Have never seen a buzzard bother sheep but have seen ravens , crows and eagles attack lambs and again I can only report what I have seen. Like so many in here you seem to get angry , lose the plot and in some cases make things up which only harms your case . Does raptor persecution take place ? Yes. Am I against it ? Yes. Do I kill raptors ? No. Am I happy about my industry being tarnished by a few keyboard warriors who could do with getting out more ? No . Report the sheep farmers who are shooting at kites and if you all got out and about more you may actually do some good and help reduce wildlife crime. Get out and about as you seem to know a lot of sheep farmers who shoot at birds of prey so to a man of your calibre it should be a simple task to take a few pictures and get a prosecution. No flannel put your money where your mouth is, do some good and prosecute the sheep farmers shooting kites. The world waits.

          1. First and foremost, if you could refrain from being sexist that would be just swell. Second, Hector, I have made many reports over the years. I’m not going to dox myself for your pleasure though. I’ll admit, you have surprised me; I thought your response would go with the old if there are farmers shooting at birds then it is a few bad apples (I notice you’ve tacitly admitted that eagles and corbies are on the target list by the way, don’t think I didn’t spot that). Instead you’ve gone for a new spin on the it must be people on the wildlife conservation team making the honest guardians of the countryside look bad combined and unable to frame it as a rural/townie issue have gone with the keyboard warrior tag instead. None of that is a good look either.

            1. Where to start ? If you are female then sorry. Perhaps MS Crypticmirror woud help avoid confusion. I have no idea what dox means and so am not askng for you to dox yourself. By stating I have seen eagles and “corbies ” whatever they are attacking lambs hardly puts them on the ” target list ” tacitly or otherwise . As to the spin bit at the end of your comment not sure what that is about but my point remains if you have evidence of sheep farmers shooting birds of prey take it to the police and do some good. SIMPLES.

          2. hector, I know nothing about Mull but it sounds an amazing place, all those pacifist farmers without guns, who wouldn’t harm a fly by the sound of it. However I’m sorry to have to inform you that is not typical of the outside world. It also appears that Ravens, crows and eagles on Mull have adopted atypical behaviour in that they allegedly attack and kill live lambs. I know there’s no point in me attempting to go over the results of my own (or anyone else’s) research into the question of whether Ravens do kill healthy lambs, because on previous occasions you’ve resorted to abusive remarks and casting doubts on my integrity as a scientist, despite not knowing me from Adam. Perhaps the only way to resolve the disagreement is for further independent research to confirm or otherwise my own findings. I’d be more than happy to see this happening. Interestingly all the independent scientific research on the impact of foxes and crows on hill sheep farming have shown no significant losses due to these predators/ scavengers, but I know of only one systematic study (in the UK) similar to my own and those findings were almost identical to mine, i.e. that farmers appear to imagine that the Ravens “descending in droves onto fields of lambing ewes” are actually scavenging afterbirths, or any livestock that inevitably die due to natural causes. There is a handful of cases where the birds have “attacked” lambs or even ewes which are not quite dead, but moribund or incapacitated for various reasons. Any actual losses of healthy lambs to Ravens have not been calculated due to never having been observed (by disinterested parties), but if they happen at all the loss rate must be well under one per cent. In my opinion Ravens deserve the same degree of protection from persecution as currently “enjoyed” by Red Kites.

              1. Ed….at the risk of being dissed for going off topic!…I see this as an incredibly important issue – with a wealth of investigations into buzzard [and kite] shootings all over Scotland [and occasionally into England] – I very rarely saw any evidence of shepherds killing raptors – but I did come across keepers doing that on behalf of sheep interests, or at least using that as an excuse. In the past – 1980s and before – shepherds were known to destroy eagle nests in the north and west of Scotland but eagle populations and lack of evidence of destruction shows that that has largely died out…..Why I see this as so important is that shepherds can be our best allies out there, the common enmity between shepherd and keeper can be used to our advantage – they are on the ground every day. Lets not create new enemies please…

                [Ed: Hi Dave, the ‘off-topic’ we were referring to was when Hector comes on this site to bait, and Jack Snipe takes the bait, and then there’s a long tedious session of insult-trading. Been there, done that, enough now]

                1. I could not agree with Dave more on this. One of the best RSPB men we have had on the island the late Mike Madders made a point of visiting and keeping in touch with most of the keepers and stalkers on the island and it helped him do his job big time. In the earlly days of the sea eagles breeding on Mull the first nest sites were known to those working on the ground before the researchers like Mike and our current man Dave Sexton. The only dead sea eagle I know of on this end of the island was reported by and shown to the RSPB by a hill farmer who does not own a gun as I have to shoot injured livestock for him. The “secret” eagle nest at XXXXX XXXXX XXXXX I know about via a shepherd . Had the farmers of Mull been the bloodthirsty lot some on here like to portray them the sea eagle project would have crashed as it would have taken very little effort to end it as it was touch and go for a while and this was before the Mull Eagle watch circus was born. I also know several keepers that are very pro active in conserving wildlife but as this does not fit the model of this site I expect to be attacked for it. As to baiting Jack Snipe [Ed: rest of comment deleted]

                  1. We know there are gamekeepers involved in conservation, good ones, RPUK when it was RPS said so upfront which I noticed when I first became aware of the site (and a few weeks ago I was at the river Carron with an ex keeper talking about its wildlife and doing a wee litter pick). They’ve actually contributed comments here. The problem is that they are usually retired and can say pretty much what they want or are posting anonymously. Frequently their remarks don’t reflect well on their ‘colleagues’ which is why I strongly suspect they keep a low profile and probably ask conservation organisation orgs they work with to keep quiet too. If there’s a reason RSPB etc don’t do more to publicise them that’s probably why. Not unknown for dodgy keepers to have been shopped to the police by decent ones, I wonder if the SGA or NGO have ever held this behaviour up as an example of good gamekeeping – hope so, but doubt it. Notice you slip in snide remark re Mull Eagle Watch. Members of local community getting involved in raptor conservation initiative must be really hard for some to stomach, Mull Eagle Watch has been regularly run down, unconvincingly, by rather puerile types who sound as if they’ve had their noses knocked out of place. Bit rich to complain that members of the keepering fraternity have been the victim of derision when many of them have doled it out by the shovelful to researchers and conservation field workers, and just derision little in the way of evidence that negative comments are justified. But to be fair what’s been aimed at the bad keepers has probably hit harder, far more likely to be true.

                    1. Hi Les Mull Eagle watch has done some good work but became a bit of a three ring circus and over the top. Jumping out in the dark and questioning the vet who was on her way to attend a bad calving being one example. If my above post had not been cropped you would have been able to read the bit about the work done by the bird survey groups by workng with local farmers and stalkers and the point was good people skills are important. I also mentioned the birder who told me I could not go within 1km of the red throated divers that nest on my ground which would have involved moving my house. People here take a dim view of being told what they can and cannot do on their own ground by outsiders and Mike Madders worked round this by using his people skills and avoiding confrontation. Wallking over this island I never been questioned or confronted by a land owner or stalker but it has happened from birders who do not even own the land.

  2. Yes Jean Thorpe is awesome, wasn’t entirely surprised when her name also cropped up in terms of fighting badger baiting and its consequences in an excellent book by Patrick Barkham. Incredible lady – should be nominated for one of the Countryside Alliance’s Rural Oscars – wonder how they’d react to that? Realised yesterday that although we have our crappy grouse moors in Scotland we still have rewilding projects and reintroductions here and there. The North of England has virtually zilch. There’s Ennerdale in the Lake District that’s it, and they’ve now lost their last eagle. IF you want to go anywhere in the northern part of England to see golden or sea eagles, beavers, pine marten or major restoration project you are effectively scuppered. How incredibly dreary and oppressive. The one reintroduction has been the red kite and that is hitting the buffers as soon as the kites expand range towards shooting estates. We have some sort of foundation to build eco tourism from in Scotland and overtake the grouse moors in terms of economics and jobs. Yorkshire, Lancashire, Cumbria, Northumbria what do they have really? Maybe this is something else to point out to Westminster.

    1. Well done Scotland – Trees for Life in the Central Highlands; Border Forest Trust in the Borders; Woodland Trust at Loch Arkaig; Coigach – Assynt Living Landscape; and I’m sure many more. Really wish there was something in the Northern Pennines we could support apart from ******* grouse moors

      1. The only thing that can really be suggested is to start fundraising and hope to buy plots of land as and when they become available and hope you can somehow join them up; just keep chipping away at things.

  3. North Yorkshire is now just pipping the Peak District as the biggest raptor ‘black hole’ capital of England, and fast catching up with Scotland, Malta and Cyprus in that respect – though ‘respect’ is not a word I would use when discussing these shameful countries. As for Jean Thorpe, she should have been sainted long before now. Well done – again – Jean.

  4. Jean is a completely dedicated treasure but that she needs to care for illegally persecuted raptors is sickening in the extreme. Yet another bloody wildlife crime in my home county it is all so damned predicable.

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