Red kite believed to have been shot & hung from a tree

There is a disturbing news report this afternoon that a red kite has been shot dead and was hung from a tree in a Norfolk village.

According to the Eastern Daily Press, ‘Norfolk police were called to Swaffham Road in Cockley Cley on Friday, April 9, after someone reported a dead bird hanging from a tree.

Police arrived on the scene to find a red kite, and an X-ray led to a vet finding shot dust around the right ulna and one of the legs being broken, police have said‘.

[A red kite. Photo by Natural World Photography]

Given the date, location, species and the x-ray that was published in this article (that appears to have been lifted from here), I believe this red kite is the same one that Norfolk Constabulary tweeted about and I blogged about last week (see here) although there was no mention of it being hung in a tree.

Presumably this new information has been provided to the press by Norfolk Constabulary, although I still can’t find a press release on the police website. It’s really not good enough. Raptor persecution is a national wildlife crime priority and the bare minimum should be a press release from the police with what can be viewed as reliable detail for accurate reporting.

Other new information in the EDP article includes a named contact at Norfolk Constabulary – PC Chris Shelley.

If you have any information about this incident please contact PC Shelley on 101 quoting reference 36/25060/21 or contact Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555111.

This is the second report of a dead raptor found hung in a tree in recent weeks. Earlier this month Police Scotland were investigating an incident where a dead buzzard had been strung up in a tree, reportedly after dying of natural causes (here).

12 thoughts on “Red kite believed to have been shot & hung from a tree”

  1. Hanging the corpse in a tree is a classic case of putting 2 fingers up! If the culprit is caught, which I rather doubt as it’s always difficult in shooting cases< it should be taken into account .

  2. And they want to introduce Osprey to Norfolk. Why???? More target practice??? Why introduce a species which is not red listed worldwide into such an environment. I’ll tell you. To bring in finance from tourists.
    All the species which are being introduced are being done so are of the larger variety to allow the general public to view without optics. Why not develop the habitat and benefit all aspects of nature. One never hears of projects to introduce small passerines like Corn Bunting, Yellowhammer etc. I know there are Trusts improving habitat for small birds but such work does not encourage tourism and financial income for locals.

    1. You only don’t see it if you don’t look, presumably so you can have a moan about reintroducing raptors. Are you sure you haven’t wandered onto the wrong forum? Presumably you haven’t heard of the Nature Friendly Farming Network? Presumably the Marlborough Downs Nature Improvement Area passed you by? The MDNIA where local farmers have teamed up with local birders and ringers to provide better habitat and food sources to boost numbers of Yellowhammer, Corn Bunting and Tree Sparrow and which has been an unqualified success.

      Work is being done across the country for a huge range of native species but this is a raptor forum so it focuses on raptors. Who’d a thought it?

    2. Don’t know where to start with this. Cirl buntings have been translocated to new territories in south west England, corncrake have been reintroduced to part of the fens, short tailed bumblebees have been brought back after being nationally extinct as was the large blue butterfly. Thousands and thousands of water voles have been bred in captivity for release at dozens of sites across the country, hazel dormice and harvest mice have been relocated. So much for it only being the species that don’t need binos to see. The bigger species like boar and beaver tend to be keystone ones which help an awful lot of wildlife. The plans for rewilding at Wild Ken Hill in Norfolk (which includes sea eagles, not ospreys) will definitely bring in tourists as well as a lot of species from butterflies to buzzards.

  3. Was it ‘hung’ in a tree, as in a deliberate act, or simply ‘hanging’ from a tree? We’ve had one found hanging from a tree in West Yorkshire where it had apparently become caught up by one of its wings after it had been shot off its nest. Something of the sort might have occurred here.

  4. Hanging this illegally killed Red Kite from a tree shows the depravity and brazen disregard for the law of the wildlife criminals.
    It is an act which is about as low as it gets.
    These people are a scourge on our society and need catching, prosecuting and vilifying
    Hopefully this abhorrent act will get wider media coverage, and the public will be so outraged that their anger will turn on those responsible, and the medieval mentality of those who support and encourage raptor persecution.

    It is time there were national standards for the investigation of raptor crimes, and Chief Constables and PCC’s were held to account when their constabularies fail to meet these nationally agreed standards.

    I note the College of Policing advise that wildlife crimes should be investigated by a trained wildlife crime officer.
    The College of Policing also set out what can be expected from a police investigation, and gives guidance to officers on how to conduct an investigation, and the various investigative strategies which should be considered.
    Further to that I believe there should be oversight, and case progression management of the investigation by an officer of at least the rank of sergeant, as there is with other crimes where the victim is a person. This would ensure minimum investigative standards were being met. Whether this happens or not with wildlife investigations isn’t clear.

    I have previously mentioned the importance of a communications or media strategy to help identify potential witnesses or gain intelligence and information regarding a crime.
    This is fully covered by the College of Policing.
    It doesn’t inspire confidence when Norfolk Constabulary make no mention of this crime on the news section of their website.

    My concern is that many constabularies consider the raptor crimes occurring within their force area in isolation, and if the number of reported crimes is low then the matter is not given the importance it deserves. Raptor crimes have to be viewed nationally. Only then is the real scale of the problem revealed.
    Whilst the National Wildlife Crime Unit does offer national support and advice, what happens within each constabulary is a matter for the Chief Constable and PCC, and I suspect some CC’s and PCC’s don’t view raptor crimes with any great importance, or have other competing factors which result in a lack of resources to deal effectively with the issue when it arises.

    Hopefully the criminal act of killing a Red Kite and hanging the corpse from a tree will help focus minds on effectively tackling these wicked crimes.

  5. This really is not surprising given the amount of shooting currently taking place around my local area in north Norfolk. The one to two mile radius around Cromer seems to be particularly bad this year ! Two days ago watched a pair of Buzzards being disturbed from woodland behind East Runton (adjacent to a crematorium ! ) by shooting by one individual. Obviously the local gamekeeper with the relevant NE licences tucked away in his top pocket.

    On the subject of the Cockley Cley Red Kite. There cannot be too many Landowners and Gamekeepers in the immediate area, considering the only people who visit the god forsaken place seem to be weekend ravers !!

    Given the complete inactivity and enthusiasm by the Norfolk Police on all things relating to Wildlife Crime (especially when concerning The National Trust, and Network Rail ) i do not hold out much hope of a successful conclusion to the Red Kite shooting.

  6. This is harking back to the days of the gamekeeper’s gibbet. I wonder when this country will decide to join the modern world?

  7. An interesting comment about wildlife crimes being dealt with by officers of at least sergeant rank. As well as normal duties I was also a wildlife officer in Hampshire Constabulary 25yrs ago. I can assure you that a constable is perfectly capable of dealing with most crimes when allowed to get on with it. Maybe standards have declined.

  8. The Eastern daily newspaper have reported on this, according to their report, shot dust is the residue left after a shot from a weapon. Information apparently from a local birder / conservationist in the cockley cley area, has said the kite was found by a dog walker, who feared the kite may have been poisoned, so as a possible risk to dogs, then hung it in the tree, someone else found it hanging in the tree and called the police. Still a hideous crime as it has obviously been shot.

    [Ed: Thanks, Philip. I understand the bird was sent for post mortem and the pathologist confirmed it had been shot]

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