Bird protection organisation the RSPB is offering a £1,000 reward for information leading to a conviction after a marsh harrier was found poisoned on Goxhill marshes.
The dead bird was discovered on top of a large bush by a local bird-watcher who was monitoring a breeding pair of harriers in the area.
The position of the dead bird aroused his suspicion as its spread wings suggested it had fallen from the sky.
The RSPB’s investigations team were alerted about the incident and collected the bird.
Analysis was undertaken by Natural England under the Wildlife Incident Investigation Scheme (WIIS).
The post-mortem found residue of the agricultural pesticide aldicarb, which is often used to illegally kill birds of prey through the lacing of bait.
The marsh harrier is a rare breeding bird of prey with fewer than 400 pairs in the UK.
Habitat loss and persecution almost drove to the marsh harrier to extinction in Britain.
In 1971 there was only one pair left in the whole of Britain but the population has started to recover well in the last 40 years.
It typically breeds in lowland wetland and farmland and will take a wide variety of prey.
But like many other birds of prey it continues to suffer from illegal persecution.
Most of the population is based in eastern and south east England with a few pairs also breeding on the east coast in Scotland.
Their local breeding stronghold is RSPB Blacktoft, near Goole, which had 12 nests this year.
Mark Thomas, RSPB Senior Investigations Officer, said: “This is another appalling example of the crimes which continue to be committed against birds of prey.
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