Shot buzzard found dead in Peak District National Park

Press release from RSPB (19 Nov 2020)

Young buzzard found dead had been illegally shot

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.”

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.


16 thoughts on “Shot buzzard found dead in Peak District National Park”

  1. It is most gratifying that the RSPB has issued the press release regardless of the police having been informed of the shooting.
    The release may only refer to an event 6 weeks ago
    but I’m not satisfied that the police appeal which should have been issued in this case a good time ago did not happen. All too regularly police appeals in the past were too long delayed. I hope that this can be changed in all police forces especially where there is little reason for a delay.

    1. Police appeals are not going to stop this sort of thing unfortunately we all know that it is a great shame that these billaims can stroll round “national parks” killing whatever they like with impunity .

  2. Grossly late advice from the police to the public requesting help have been a feature of nearly 100% of raptor killings. This is an outrageous state of affairs.

    What is the reason ?

    The police never refer to their advice being late and often so late that it is almost meaningless.

    Is the police process merely a “tick box” exercise that serves no useful purpose beyond ticking the box.

    The methodology for alerting the public (that should be a valuable part where responsible and well intended citizens can help fight the criminals …… mentioned here as a reminder in case those who are tasked to bring the felons to book have had an unexplainable oversight) is desperately askew.

    One can speculate why these delays take place and some of the possibilities are disturbing, as many of us can envisage.

    Delay has almost become an inherent feature of investigation. It appears to be one of the inviolate rules of the process that must happen despite having the inevitable result of aiding the criminals (and those who, one way or another, facilitate the perpetual onslaught of this crime).

    Those in Westminster AND HOLYROOD who are wriggling and jiggling to avoid tackling the problem are complicit in this scandalous state of affairs.

  3. You are correct Dougie Westminster and Holyrood are both guilty of wriggling and jiggling on this issue. No Werrity conclusion yet, infact the Scottish Green MSPs Mark Ruskell and Alison Johnstone had a motion to declare a Nature Emergency , Alison Johnstones remarks specifically were on DGS and the damage being caused in Scotland highlighting the paltry amount contributed to the economy compared to other moorland uses.
    Sadly the SNP and the Tories combined to vote it down last night in the debate.
    I agree it is very frustrating that Police appeals for information take far to long to come out it shouldn’t happen but i think we should also note the Police forces due to goverment cuts are under a large amount of pressure on general police work and that sadly will impact on wildlife crime work at times for the officers involved on that side of policing, some if them as we know do it over and above normal police duties. So maybe at times we should cut them a wee bit of slack, although in principal i agree with your comments. The real problem is the legislation from the repective Parliaments and until they ban DGS the problem aint going to get fully resolved.

  4. I have to say I like these reports and I welcome them and the publicity, it doesn’t make me angry at all. Sounds perverse, but my reasoning is that many of us know for a fact that Buzzards are being bumped off in high numbers every single week in the grouse regions with little general public awareness – so it is at least a blessing that one or two deaths get discovered and publicised.

  5. Ok, I don’t know what to say or do as the killing goes on in the age of extinction…just keep ploughing on with emails to MPs, forums etc etc ….but here’s an idea…… why not insert an electronic chip or something into each owned gun and directly connect it to a police data base? Yes, this idea will work…. Big Brother.

  6. One day this sickening and illegal carnage will have stopped, until then we all need to be vigilant. I have a message for all those who think Buzzards or other raptors are fair game. Please, in a spare moment look down the barrels of your loaded gun and pull the trigger, you will be doing the rest of the world a huge favour and saving the cost of a prosecution

  7. Am I missing something here?

    A juvenile buzzard is found dead in suspicious circumstances inside a National Park.
    An examination by a vet reveals the bird has suffered a broken leg and also injuries consistent with being illegally shot as there was a lead pellet in its chest.
    There is evidence a wildlife crime has been committed when someone shot the bird, regardless whether this was the cause of death or not.
    It is also very possible the broken leg could have been caused as a result of being shot. This would probably have led to the bird having difficulty obtaining food, leading to its death.
    So there is every possibility the chain of causation leading to death was caused by the illegal shooting, indicating a crime has been committed.

    The Buzzard is protected by law.
    The National Park is a place that has legislation in place to protect the environment and enhance wildlife.

    Six weeks after the incident was first reported, it appears as though it has fallen to the RSPB to make an appeal for witnesses.
    I can find no evidence from Derbyshire Police’s website that the local police service has initiated an investigation, or even made a media witness appeal for information.

    Is this what we should expect from the police in these circumstances?

    Am I mistaken, but aren’t the police supposed to invest crimes, regardless of who reports them?
    Were the police waiting for the young buzzard’s mum to call into the local police station and report her offspring missing?
    How must the member of public who found the bird and reported the matter feel?
    Do they think the police have taken their report of finding this bird seriously?
    Have the police’s actions, or inactions with regard to this crime made them feel as though they have been treated as a valued witness?
    Will the 6 weeks of silence encourage them to come forward again in the future and report suspicious wildlife incidents to the police?
    Or do they just feel as though it was pointless, as nothing will be done?

    What was the point of Operation Owl, if the police aren’t going to take visible and immediate action on each occasion a wildlife crime, or suspicious wildlife incident is reported?

    The public will simply lose confidence, and the wildlife criminals will never face justice.

    This has to change, and there has to be a much better response to each and every reported wildlife crime.
    The police have to use each and every incident as a reason for a witness appeal, in the hope this will lead to obtaining and developing intelligence, which in turn will eventually lead to the criminals being identified and prosecuted.
    This is so basic, that the fact that doesn’t appear to be happening is just beyond comprehension.

  8. John L wrote:-
    “How must the member of public who found the bird and reported the matter feel?
    Do they think the police have taken their report of finding this bird seriously?
    Have the police’s actions, or inactions with regard to this crime made them feel as though they have been treated as a valued witness?
    Will the 6 weeks of silence encourage them to come forward again in the future and report suspicious wildlife incidents to the police?
    Or do they just feel as though it was pointless, as nothing will be done?”

    That narrative is, of course, particularly noteworthy.

    In relation to crimes where evidence from public witnesses could be crucial to :-

    1. becoming aware of the crime, and/or
    2. obtaining information on whether anyone had been observed in the vicinity of the crime scene

    it is important to have any members of the public quickly report anything suspicious.

    Given that information from mop’s could well prove to be crucial it follows that if witnesses ignore what they have seen then the chances of bringing culprits to justice become close to non existent.

    The situation where people do not report various types crime because they feel nothing will be done is already widespread. It is a major failing.

    If it was desired to deter people reporting wildlife crime then the best way of achieving that is to make the reports pointless due to failure to rapidly arranging publicity.

  9. So you have no proof of where it was shot, what it was shot with or when it was shot!!!

    Added to that, you are making out this is new, when on fact, you spouted this over a week ago!! How many more “reports” are you going to duplicate and how many times are you going to duplicate them??

    1. Richard,

      What an extraordinary response to the news that a young buzzard has been found dead with lead shot embedded in its chest.

      And no, this crime hasn’t previously been reported on this blog (or anywhere else as far as I can see) so, no, it isn’t a ‘duplication’ of another case.

      The report of another shot buzzard last week was the one that a member of the public caught on camera as it was shot in Kent.

      With so many reports of birds of prey being shot in the UK, I guess it’s understandable that someone might get confused about the individual cases but when it comes to trolls like you, from within the game shooting industry, the ‘confusion’ is more likely to be a deliberate ploy to try and play down the extent of raptor persecution.

      Nice try, but no cigar.

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