1 day ago / Janet Gleeson,
NORTH Yorkshire’s reputation as the worst county in the country for the persecution of birds of prey has been further cemented after it emerged a sparrowhawk has been gunned down.
Police said the latest casualty was targeted in the High Waistgate area at Feldom, near Richmond, close to the Marske to Newsham road, as The Royal Society for the Protection of Birds said the killings were becoming an increasing concern.
The charity has revealed in the last decade more than 100 birds of prey have been deliberately targeted in the county.
The sparrowhawk was found dead in the last week of April. In the same area last year a buzzard’s nest was found demolished.
Tests were carried out by a local vet for the police and x-rays of the bird found it had been shot, with gunshot pellets found in the Sparrowhawk’s body and wings
Wildlife crime officer PC Mark Wood said: “Killing a bird of prey like this is an offence, and I am appealing to anyone who knows anything about this incident to come forward.”
The death comes just six weeks after a red kite, was found with lead shot in its body in the Yorkshire Dales National Park, near Greenhow, in Nidderdale. It was the ninth killed in the region in the past few months and the sixth in North Yorkshire.
In February, another red kite was found with its wing shattered by shot near Harrogate.
Jenny Shelton, investigations liaison officer for the RSPB, said: “This sparrowhawk is yet another victim in a shocking catalogue of incidents of bird of prey persecution in North Yorkshire. In the last ten years there have been 105 confirmed raptor persecution incidents in North Yorkshire, making it consistently the worst county for crimes against birds of prey. Red kites, owls and buzzards are also being targeted. Sparrowhawks are exciting birds to see and bring a touch of drama when they swoop in on a seemingly tranquil garden scene. Unlike most birds of prey, these are raptors you might see from your kitchen window as they ambush a flock of unsuspecting sparrows, their yellow eyes flashing. This latest incident shows how wildlife crime doesn’t just affect rare birds in remote places, but garden favourites like the sparrowhawk. It is a big problem and causing increasing local concern, it simply cannot continue.’