Peregrine found critically injured with shotgun injuries in North Yorkshire

Press statement from North Yorkshire Police (20th May 2021)

Police appeal for information after peregrine falcon found shot near Selby Abbey

On 7 May 2021, an 8 year old female peregrine falcon was discovered in the grounds of Selby Abbey with injuries which meant she was unable to fly.

[Photograph from North Yorkshire Police]

The peregrine was rescued and x-rayed by a local falconry specialist vet, Mark Naguib, who found a number of shotgun pellets throughout the bird’s body. The peregrine is ringed by the British Ornithology Trust so was able to be traced back to being released as a chick near Newark eight years ago.

The peregrine falcon is now in the expert care of local wildlife rehabilitator, Jean Thorpe, who will give her the best possible chance of making a recovery.

[X-ray from North Yorkshire Police]

North Yorkshire Police Constable Sarah Ward said:

“Peregrine falcons are a protected schedule one species and it is shocking that anyone would target one in this cruel and callous way.

“Our county should be a haven for birds of prey and this type of cruelty will not be tolerated.

“If anyone has information about this worrying incident please get in touch and report to us. You can either call 101 or if you wish to remain anonymous please call Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.”

RSPB Investigations Officer, Jack Ashton-Booth said:

“We are appalled at this deliberate and illegal attack on a protected peregrine falcon. The bird was riddled with shot, including one piece lodged in its head. Incredibly, it is still alive but it’s touch and go.

“We urge anyone with information to contact North Yorkshire Police immediately. Alternatively, if you wish to speak out in confidence, please don’t hesitate to call our Raptor Crime Hotline on 0300 999 0101.

“Peregrines are incredibly good at adapting and are increasingly living alongside us in our towns and cities, and are a joy to see nesting on tall buildings like cathedrals. Nature is in trouble, and we must embrace it or risk losing it.”

If you have any information about this incident please call North Yorkshire Police on 101 quoting ref: 12210119786.


UPDATE 29th June 2021: Shot peregrine successfully rehabbed and released back to wild (here)

13 thoughts on “Peregrine found critically injured with shotgun injuries in North Yorkshire”

  1. I’m normally against capital punishment, but in this case I would seriously consider making an exemption> Perhaps if I were to be more lenient, perhaps spraying the cretin with his/her own shotgun.

  2. You can’t discharge a shotgun without someone hearing it!
    You can’t persecute wildlife without someone else knowing that you do or, at the very least, suspecting that you do!
    The ending of raptor persecution, as with any wildlife crime, is dependent upon the actions of every man Jack of us and not just the Police & NGO investigations Teams.
    Not many wildlife criminals are caught on camera (identifiably), or caught red-handed with a ‘smoking gun’, or a bottle of some banned substance, or an eagle owl, or an illegal trap in their possession … and there is NO HONOUR & certainly NO HUMANITY amongst these criminals at all! How can you not despise the small-mindedness of people who commit such crimes? Basically, why would you want them as your neighbours, as work colleagues, as members of your shoot, as members of your racing pigeon club, as members of your community, as members of your local Young Farrners’ group, as members of your shoot, as a drinking buddy or, even worse, as a member of your family? They have no qualms about killing things because they ‘want to’! Be afraid!
    So … what’s to be done?
    It’s time to GRASS THESE CRIMINALS UP! This cannot go on!

    1. Sadly the truth of the matter is those behind this criminal act will probably never be identified and never face prosecution.
      But you are right others will know or suspect who is responsible.
      This blog highlights that there is just one sickening report after another, after another of vile persecution towards birds of prey.
      I suspect those behind these raptor persecution crimes will try and claim some justification in that they are killing predator species which effect their own or their employers interests, whether that be protecting grouse, racing pigeons or something else.
      But such evil acts can never be justified.
      To wish harm on another creature which is only acting in its natural instincts for survival shows a lack of understanding and tolerance.
      It’s not just what these criminals are doing which is against the law, it is the fact that their actions are targeted at vulnerable defenceless victims.
      Birds which can’t defend themselves against bullies armed with shotguns or poison.
      There is something very wrong with people who behave like this.
      It is a form of bullying.
      There is no place in our society or in our communities for them.
      In my mind, those that cause suffering to animals are on the same level as racists, sexists and child abusers, and something which I will not tolerate.
      As humans – what we are, is what we do!
      I just hope that one day those who know who these criminals are, open their eyes and see them for the vile people they really are, and then have the courage to take appropriate action to stop their offending.

  3. I almost feel these and other crimes are now inhumane and calloys people who are just thumbing their noses at the rest of us who care deeply for the welfare and safety of these beautiful creatures. I feel personally affronted!!!!

  4. Wonder how far it might have flown with those injuries and whether there are any relevant pastimes of note in the area? It could well have been a female from a breeding pair. Wonder whether Jean found evidence of a brood patch.

  5. It is heartbreaking to look into that bird’s eyes. To think that there are people loose in this country who could harm such a beautiful creature is sickening and raises serious questions about anyone who could commit such an evil act.
    I am absolutely certain that whatever psychopath committed this crime would not give a second thought about inflicting serious harm to any person and any other animal.

    Anyone out there who has the slightest inkling as to who was responsible for this crime (or any other) PLEASE contact the police now or, if you wish to remain anonymous then Crimestoppers:-

    0800 555 111 100% anonymous. Always.

  6. This bird will have fallen where shot. If Police want to show that these crimes will not be tolerated then it is time to step up the game. They will have a record of every shotgun licence in the area, remove them all, systematically, until the perpetrator owns up, they would have to. Peer pressure would be enough.

    1. Agree 100%: anyone walking around with a shotgun is “going equipped” in my eyes – just as a burglar wandering around with a jemmy and glass cutter. The police just don’t have the will to tackle this sort of crime properly. They will blame the law and lack of manpower but if the Met can hassle innocent black youths in London for no good reason using stop and search why can’t they do the same with gamekeepers, pigeon fanciers and other members of the criminal classes?

    2. That would work. Can we believe that all high ranking Police officials are 100% wanting to stamp this out? Who amongst them would block this guaranteed method of capture? “Red-tape gridlock”, the system is jammed,

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