Peregrine found shot in Shropshire: police appeal for information

Press release from West Mercia Police (13 March 2020)


Police are appealing for help after a bird was found with what is believed to be a shotgun wound.

The Peregrine Falcon was found on the morning of Tuesday 10 March near Humber Lane, close to the roundabout on the A442 near Leegomery. It was taken to the vets with a broken wing and an x-ray showed fragments of a gunshot.

[Peregrine, photographer unknown]

Although the falcon is recovering well it is possible it will not be able to fly again.

Anyone with information is urged to contact West Mercia Police on 101 quoting incident 704S 100320 or alternatively information can be given anonymously to Crimestoppers by calling 0800 555111.


Well done West Mercia Police for a speedy response and appeal for info.

23 thoughts on “Peregrine found shot in Shropshire: police appeal for information”

  1. This is becoming far too routine but at least these birds are being reported, one wonders how many such crimes are taking place but unreported. What we need is a more surprising headline:- wildlife criminal found killed by raptor would be admittedly very unlikely but much more acceptable. Meanwhile our hard pressed wildlife crime officers catalogue crimes, many of which are difficult to impossible to solve. Perhaps somebody will come forward but I doubt it, meanwhile somebody else perhaps could train a Harpy Eagle to attack furtive behaving folk with guns!

  2. Found 10th March, police appeal 13th March. Wow! Must be a record. Well done West Mercia police. Are you seeing this Derbyshire? Taking note maybe?

  3. That is fastest police report to the public that I recall. That is good and how it should be.
    I don’t have access to all the statistics, but I am forming the impression that such crimes are on the increase.

  4. Sounds bad but by one falcon missing you save a thousand other birds, some of which are endangered. There are far too many bloody hawks and falcons about decimating song bird populations. Good riddance.

    1. Peregrine Bannister, you are a complete idiot! How many song bird deaths are attributable to domestic cats? Certainly far more than Hawks and Falcons, which just kill to eat rather than for the fun of it, but then I’m guessing that you are someone that is happy to birds and animals for the fun of it too.

      1. Domestic cats might kill and consume the (widely variable estimate of) “a large number” of songbirds, but I think it’s a blunder to claim that they are “decimating” songbird populations. Have you forgotten the balance of nature? In pure population terms, what really matters is that a similar number of songbirds breed each subsequent breeding season. The surplus produced provides a food supply for predators like Peregrines, Merlins, Sparrowhawks, and yes, but to a far lesser extent, cats. Changes in breeding bird populations recorded by the BTO’s various monitoring schemes are principally a result of a range of pressures, including adverse weather during breeding seasons, hard winters for resident species, failure of food supply, and habitat loss. Definitely NOT cats (or hawks and falcons) “decimating” songbird populations. Those who believe that cats or birds of prey are responsible for any such decimation (what decimation?) of songbirds is being irrational or delusional. Strange that our fellow ‘conservationists‘ in the game shooting industry seem so ignorant of fundamental ecology!

        1. The problem with domestic cats is that they aren’t domestic at all. They are allowed to roam. They do impact bird populations, even if only on a local basis, they do disrupt ecosyatems and they do threaten the wildcat through interbreeding.

          It’s irrational to on the one hand argue that the release of non native species like pheasant has an adverse effect on the eco system and on the other deny that domestic cats have the same effect.

          1. The term “impact bird populations” is undoubtedly too loosely used by many of us. It sounds negative, which is not actually the case, it’s just the cycle of life and death which all living things experience towards the end of their lives. It’s also somewhat lacking in philosophy to start blaming cats for impacting on bird populations, any more than blaming Peregrine falcons for reducing feral pigeon numbers. Some bird species prey upon caterpillars, resulting in lower numbers of moths and butterflies on the wing. It’s not really feasible to expect anything else from nature. Even the humble daisy can’t survive when trampled by cattle. It’s not irrational to “argue” that the release of millions of pheasants into the landscape of our beautiful countryside does by its very nature impact upon a wide range of species, from Lapwing chicks to amphibians and small mammals. Constantly demonising cats is biased and unrealistic, and the so-called impact on wild birds is a wild exaggeration. Juggling the statistics doesn’t affect anything.

    2. Actually you probably don’t save anything but then you don’t understand ecology: the number of predators is controlled by the amount of prey not the other way round. However even if your argument was true Peregrines are protected by law no ifs but or maybes or do you think it OK to break the laws that don’t suit your perspective? Songbird populations have coped with hawks and falcons for thousands of years without any need for our help, what drives their populations down is the stuff WE do not natural predators.
      Michael the cat argument is equally facetious and in this case irrelevant.

      1. Just because the RSPB, with their many thousands of cat owning members, decided that their depredations weren’t really an issue, doesn’t mean it isn’t. There have been plenty of peer-reviewed papers, mainly from the US, which have quantified the impact of both domestic and feral cats on not just bird populations but reptiles, amphibians and small mammals. That the depredations of both are entirely avoidable, by confining the former and eradicating the latter, like criminals not shooting protected birds of prey, is a valid point, if slightly tangential. What it is not is facetious: neither “funny ha ha” nor “funny peculiar”.

        1. Ok I used the wrong word but the rants sometimes regular on here and elsewhere “Songbird Survival” for example are based almost entirely on poor studies using multiplied up data from tiny sample sizes. Iain is right don’t fall into the trap of accusing cats of doing what the game/pigeon lobby accuse raptors of doing because it is equally nonsense.

    3. I wouldn’t be surprised if this flat earth numpty had a connection to the pigeon crowd – its exactly the sort of rubbish they come out with!!

  5. It isn’t time to ban DGS: it is time to ban the casual ownership of shotguns and air rifles. Nobody needs one. Pheasant, partridge, grouse and wildfowl shooting are unnecessary conceits. We have no predators in this country that need controlling in that manner. Skeet / Clay pigeon shoots should be licensed to hold appropriate weaponry, but with the condition that it is locked away between sessions, that sessions are registered, the number of cartridges are recorded along with the numbers used and that the constabulary, or whichever regulatory body becomes involved, will make unannounced inspections and they have to account for every gun and every cartridge used.

    The removal of lead shot and a move to steel will prevent the “legal” use of home-made lead shot, making it easier to monitor who has, and has used, what. That’s my opinion anyway.

  6. Whilst it is encouraging that West Mercia Police have put out a media witness appeal within 3 days.
    This in itself should not be unusual.

    It should be standard practice for any police investigator as part of their investigation strategy to put out an early witness appeal whilst the event is still fresh in potential witnesses minds, and before potential witness evidence becomes tainted through the passage of time.

    Unfortunately, a witness appeal does not tell us anything further about the depth, scope or competency of an investigation. There are many of other strategies to an investigation which take place out of public view, and it is the combination of all these strategies which are a measure of an investigators ability, and whether an investigation will be successful or not.

    One obvious measure of the thoroughness of an investigation could be whether suspects are identified. But this could be simply down to the available evidence. However, it does tell us that the investigation is at least exploring sources of potential evidence to try and identify suspects.
    Therefore it was encouraging that North Yorkshire Police were able to identify a suspect to the recent incident involving a Hen Harrier.

    A quick check on the West Mercia Police website reveals that following a FOI request. West Mercia Police have indicated that out of the 8 incidents they have recorded against raptors, 6 involved Peregrine Falcons.
    What does this tell us?
    Are these incidents clustered?
    Does this information offer an investigator an investigative opportunity to look at offender profiling?
    Could it lead to the identification of potential suspects?
    Is this being done?

    A better measure of how seriously the police are taking wildlife crime, would be how to ascertain how many dedicated police resources a Chief Constable is allocating to tackling wildlife crime?
    What specialist investigative training are those officers receiving in investigating wildlife crime?
    What strategy has been adopted to working with other partnership agencies, such as the National Wildlife Crime Unit or Natural England?
    Are “best practice” principals being adopted, and are we seeing a standardisation of “best practice” principals being put in place right across the country where raptor persecution is occurring?

    The Government has identified raptor persecution as a national wildlife crime priority for police forces.
    Therefore I would expect police forces across the country to be taking illegal incidents involving raptors very seriously. Not to do so may well be a dereliction of duty?

  7. I am all for wild falcons, but the numbers are rediculous. For people to say that food dictates thier survival then yes it does to a degree, there has recently been evidence of them predating their own species,( maybe territorial Idk) also evidence of them eating kestrels which are in real decline. When a peregrine is hurt or ill, people bring them in and rehab them to be released at a later date, im all for nature but how is that natural? They are no longer endangered and numbers are way up due to man interviening and being an apex preditor they have no enemies as such. I go watching birds a lot and see so many now terrorising migratory species which are easy pickings. They are no longer in thier natural environment due to man putting false nesting sites up and encouraging them inland where they do not belong and make a real mess. (I have a friend who owns a resturant and his beer garden was nearly shut down, he had to stop serving food whilst they nested due to health and safety saying they pose a real health risk and possible salmonella risk) I am a nature/bird lover but enough is enough they are over protected and becoming a nuisance.

    1. Not as big a nuisance as feral pigeons which they help control – the likes of Kites and Ravens used to breed in towns and cities hundreds of years ago so take your drivel elsewhere

    2. Your understanding of basic ecology is as piss poor as your use of your own language. No evidence, no idea, no credibility. You’re way out of your depth here, and your bullshit’s fooling nobody.

    3. Peregrine, do you think we should cull Blackbirds because they “decimate” earthworm populations? Or is that okay because they are not domesticated like cats? If you think about it, aren’t domestic cats replacing the former genuine Wildcats in their ecological niche? I think it’s just as appropriate as the idea of giving up certain aspects of our so-called civilisation. I suggest you try to direct your mind towards more sensible directions, like bringing an end to raptor persecution.

    4. Peregrine, I have to reflect on some of the ‘knowledge’ you describe, to ornithologists whom I suspect are a bit more knowledgeable than yourself (on average at least). Let me expand on that. You are “all for wild falcons, but the numbers are ridiculous.” Can you explain how you know that? Most raptor numbers are locally variable in numbers depending largely on food supplies. In central Scotland where I live, Kestrels, Buzzards, Hen Harriers and Short-eared Owls have locally declined significantly. Some people use this to point the finger at gamekeepers, but in my opinion this widespread reduction is due to a recent sharp reduction in these species’ preferred food item – the Short-tailed Field Vole. It just so happens that other contractors and myself have been monitoring vole density on grouse moors for about 15 years now, to find that a massive decline took place widely over west central Scotland about ten years ago, immediately afterwards causing these raptors to move elsewhere or failing to rear young in nests, with much reduced productivity. There is currently evidence that the vole populations are beginning to build in numbers again, so it is hopeful that the raptors will benefit in terms of progeny production.

      What is the evidence that “wild falcons” have taken to killing each other? No-one I know has noted such cannabilism, including myself and members of my area’s local Raptor Study Group. If raptor experts are unaware of this recent change as you report, can you provide any evidence? It could of course be natural if Kestrels are moribund for whatever reason. However I have yet to find such information in ornithological journals.

      How does human compassion towards injured wild animals have to be “natural”? I’ll say no more.

      Don’t you realise the irony of your final sentences? You claim to be an experienced birdwatcher who sees “over protected” wild birds allegedly “terrifying” migratory species. So why is it that nearly every ornithologist I know does not attest to this particular hypothesis? I’ve been birdwatching intensively for 56 years, and have never observed such behaviour anywhere compared to what you suggest.

    5. ‘When a Peregrine is hurt or ill’? Not natural to save it when it has been ‘naturally’ shot, naturally snared, naturally poisoned by nature loving members of the population like yourself. Too many peregrines? Too many kites, to many.???…Too many eejits.

  8. First of all, talk to the BTO about your concern of “rediculous numbers of peregrines” . They will ease your fears and arm you with sound knowledge.
    Because at the moment (and I am not trying to ridicule you here), everyone reading your statement knows how completely naive you are

  9. So kill all the predators to save the non predators? Unbelieveble that anyone actually thinks that way. I wonder if Mr made up name bannister is a vegan. I also wonder why he would be following this particular blog…any signs of previous posts from him? What a F***kw*t!

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