Shot peregrine euthanised in Gloucestershire

A critically-injured peregrine has been euthanised after an x-ray revealed a shotgun pellet lodged in its wing, causing a catastrophic break.

[All photographs from Vale Wildlife Hospital]

The wounded bird was taken to Vale Wildlife Hospital near Tewkesbury, Gloucestershire today. There are no further details yet about where this illegally-shot peregrine was picked up.

Anyone with information please contact the Police on Tel: 101, or the RSPB Raptor Crime Hotline on Tel: 0300 999 0101 or anonymously Crimestoppers on Tel: 0800 555 111.


19 thoughts on “Shot peregrine euthanised in Gloucestershire”

  1. What to say, it just goes on and on from one end of our island to the other. Another magnificent raptor to be added to a seemingly never ending list. So so sad such a waste of a precious life.

  2. That is NOT a shot gun pellet. A shot so far into the wing would have a dozen or so others with it.

      1. Richard,
        Assuming from the x-ray -the small white circle is the pellet lodged at the point of the wing break-then please explain what other ammunition has this profile, if it’s not a shot gun pellet?

        Also don’t forget that when a shotgun is fired- the pellets from the cartridge disperse on leaving the barrel. The further from the gun the wider the spread of pellets both both laterally and longitudinally.

        A lot of scientific ballistic research has been done on the spread dynamics.

        The damage a pellet causes is roughly based on its energy- which can be measured by its mass and velocity.

        Unlike a high velocity round from a rifle, the low mass and velocity of shotgun pellets often doesn’t kill birds or animals outright, but simply wound them leaving them to die in agony due to their wounds or an inability to fly or feed.
        (Unless a pellet has penetrated the brain, heart or major blood vessel-a bird that is shot and falls from the sky is often not dead, just unable to fly due to a broken wing- it then suffers impact damage as it hits the ground which results in it’s demise)

        Nothing “glorious” about grouse shooting – its just another way of causing suffering!!

  3. John L – your considered response, is of interest – I would that all such discussions could be held in such a tone – – though I accept that when we feel strongly about what to most is a highly emotive topic, that isn’t always possible.

    Your ballistic claims are only in part correct and largely an irrelevance because with so many possibilities of ‘chance’ and corruption there is clearly no irrefutable evidence. The bird in the x/ray – unlikely the same bird as in the photograph with feathers, appears to have one piece of shot beside a broken Metacarpal bone. The photograph on the wing of the bird with blood showing, is in a deferent position to that of what may be lead shot.

    I previously asked who it was who killed the bird, it being claimed that it was alive when it was found. It would also be interest to know of the roll of the person who killed the bird, assuming that it was a different person than the one who performed the x/ray. The major wing bones, the Humerus, the Ulna and the Radius remain undamaged, and I’ve previously requested to have it explained, why the bird was killed – when there was simply no need. Damaged Metacarpals repair readily and with appropriate treatment, the bird could at least have been given the chance to repair and then be given its freedom. There may be those who consider that the person who finally ended the life of the bird was as culpable as the person who, it’s claimed, shot it.

    I spent 10 years as a Gamekeeper and I have hunted and shot all my life. I have never killed a bird of prey and I never will. I’m now old enough to have witnessed the dreadful demise and almost clinical eradication of our birds of prey due in the main, to DDT and the similar chemical treatments applied to our growing crops, with the eventual top of the food chain raptors paying the price – a price, incidentally, which we all paid.

    It’s also my view that those who do kill birds of prey – and with irrefutable evidence, at least enough to convict in a Court, should receive an automatic prison sentence. Whether an individual bird of prey is killed, isn’t really of that much relevance – what matters in the larger scheme of life is the damage that is done by publicity – much of which has no evidence of a crime committed and which inevitably leads to the wildest claims by those who would claim to support our wildlife – – and the simple fact is that the bulk of genuine conservation work is carried out by those who own land and through the process of elimination, have weeded out the applications which don’t promote wildlife management and applied those which do.

    The simple fact is that should those who wish to see a ban on the killing of wildlife for sport, have their way, then our current and remarkably vibrant – and in truth healthy, wildlife status will decline – and rapidly. I will accept that it’s a curious anomaly that genuine conservation work is usually best carried out by those who kill living creatures, and as I do, but that may be a subject for another time ……..

    1. “our current and remarkably vibrant – and in truth healthy, wildlife status”

      Just who, exactly, do you think you’re kidding?

  4. Alec
    I am not sure how you are concluding the bird in the photograph is not the same bird as in the xray?
    What motivation would the wildlife hospital have for claiming the x ray and photograph weren’t from the same bird?
    Please also consider that the birds feathers will have a similar effect as a human wearing clothing. As such the blood on the outer feathers may not be an accurate indication of the actual point of entry of the shotgun pellet. Just as the blood loss from a human as it saturates the clothing doesn’t always indicate the exact location of the wound.
    Also the entry point of a pellet, and the point where the blood comes from, isn’t the same place as where the pellet will finally lodge within the body- admittedly there is little structure to a birds wing so this distance on birds wing will be small.
    We haven’t been told the medical reasons as to why it was decided not attempt a repair on the wing- there is some clue that the pellet was lodged in the wing, and it may have been decided that with the shock the bird will have suffered, along with the injuries, that putting the bird under anaesthetic in order to operate and remove the pellet was likely to result in death? But that is something only the vet who assessed the bird will know-and we aren’t provided with that information.
    However what is clear is that the bird had been illegally shot. The law is very clear on this point, and to shoot a peregrine is an illegal act under the Countryside and Wildlife Act.
    On the facts we do know- If we then apply the legal chain of causation, ..”but for” the bird being shot would it have died? If the answer to this question is “no”..then culpability for the death rests with the person who pulled the trigger and fired the shot. That person has committed a criminal act, which resulted in the birds death.

    I accept that conservation work frequently involves the control of certain species which endanger the conservation status of other more fragile species. (but humans have so meddled in ecosystems which we really don’t understand, that we are probably responsible for creating many these imbalances in nature?- 100,00 years of natural selection would not result in a species all of a sudden facing extinction- which is now what is happening so frequently when humans and wildlife come into contact – we only need to consider the effects that man made climate change is having on nature? )

    I believe the “raison d’etre ” for the killing of wildlife has to be solely on conservation grounds ( and any killing must be humane -with no suffering to the victim ), and not simply to supply an over abundance of game birds for a shooting industry, which is what appears to be happening on many of the grouse moors and shooting estates?

    1. John L. what grounds would I have to mistrust the wildlife hospital? That’s easily answered, much along the same lines that I wouldn’t trust a second hand car salesman simply because he told me too.

      I learned many years ago, to be extremely cautious of anyone who was trying to sell me something – and that includes an idea, or a premise. A means to an end is the usual justification applied by those who distort the truth, and to achieve an end result – – it’s just how the world is.

      Para 2; that the attending vet is equally unprepared to explain the facts to you, presumably a supportive and interested party, is equally curious and in my experience of life, when others are SO secretive, they generally have something to hide, with the only relevance being that if claims are being made and if they have value, then they will stand inspection – – if not, then they won’t.

      Anyway, that’s all by the by. Previously you advised someone that their experience of ballistics was lacking – hypothesising about how or where a discharged projectile will end up, is all a matter of conjecture and considering my point that to achieve an end, an already dead bird could have easily had it’s Metacarpal broken and a lead pellet inserted and you claim (para 3) they the bird has clearly been shot is making an assumption when a counter argument, could just as easily be that this PM has been corrupted, is as valid as is your assurance, to the contrary. From what I see, clear and irrefutable evidence has yet to be lodged.

      Quote: *However what is clear is that the bird had been illegally shot.* End quote, and yet again, no one can say with certainty that the lead shot, if that’s what it is, arrived by shooting. You are assuming that I and others will accept the word of a supposed report whilst being unwilling to have an assessment of the PM carried out by our own appointed pathologist – – ergo there is a refusal to share the details of the PM – Q.E.D. Such intransigence wouldn’t be tolerated by any Court in the land – – I suspect that this is known by those responsible which explains their reluctance to disclose or reveal their supposed evidence.

      Para 4 is an irrelevance to the discussion – we live on such a small island and with in excess of fifty two million inhabitants, that I genuinely think that it’s a mystery that our world is as well preserved, as it is – but that, as I say, has nothing directly to do with the death of a Peregrine falcon.

      Your final paragraph – and again, it’s outside the parameters of this particular bird’s death. The balance which is achieved, or all so often isn’t on shooting estates is a subject for another discussion – and in part, you may be surprised at the level of support which I would give – but that isn’t for here.

      I believe that I have mentioned it before – – I am SO opposed to the killing of birds of prey that following clear and irrefutable evidence of proof, it is my firm belief that those who are found to be unquestionably guilty should receive a mandatory prison sentence – – my argument though is that many of the claims being made are false, the supposed evidence being provided is questionable and the supposed and claimed slaughter of birds of prey, is being used as a weapon to damage what little true conservation facilities that we have left.

  5. There you have it, folks. Some people talk a good game, in an attempt to portray themselves as reasonable, while still unable to resist playing the same worn out denial card, and concocting ridiculous conspiracy theories.
    They would do well to remember that verbosity doesn’t equate to credibility.

    There’s a song about that…

  6. Alec,
    Am I correct in thinking then that the logical conclusion of your conjecture is that you can not accept the evidence of a third party, if it doesn’t match your own view of the world; and since you mistrust everyone else who offers you “an idea or premise”, then the only “truths” you are prepared to accept are “truths” you have witnessed with your own eyes, or formulated in your own mind?
    A very interesting position to adopt, and one which ultimately appears to leave you in position where everything outside your own experience can not exist.

    1. John L, well done, we seem to be making progress – we’re almost there!

      Though not specifically ‘my’ own potted view of the world, rather that I’m not so gullible as to simply believe what I read, what I’m told – or for that matter always what I see, without corroborating evidence – – a supporting evidence I would add that neither you nor those who hold it seem prepared to provide. I would also point out that it’s the very same set of principles as are applied within our Law Courts –

      Perhaps I could ask a question of you; Do yo swallow, hook line and sinker what ever our political classes tell you – and without evidence? You do? Are you ever disappointed?

      I keep an entirely open mind, which I never allow to be persuaded, without clear evidence. Your claims regarding this bird are bizarre – you offer assurances which considering that you have nothing, barring a dead bird, by way of support, leaves me considering that if you refuse to see logic, then further discussion seems pointless.

      I shall leave this conversation – you seem unable to accept any logical reasoning beyond your own rather myopic view of life.

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