‘What pleasure do they get out of this?’ – dog walker discovers several dead birds

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Four buzzards along with other birds have been found dead in a Lincolnshire village. 

A dog walker is becoming increasingly worried about the welfare of wildlife after making the alarming discovering of several dead birds.

Mike Hutchinson, who lives in Croft near Skegness, has become increasingly concerned and suspicious after finding four buzzards, 12 rooks and five egrets dead while on his walks over the past three years.

He told Lincolnshire Live: “I’ve seen four dead buzzards on the public footpath next to the wood that has pheasant feeders in it. “I have been here three years in January and one of the first walks I did, I found a buzzard. “I did not think anything of it then, but then there was one another year after that and the last two I have reported to police.

“As time went on, I became more suspicious.”

According to the RSPB’s website the buzzard is “fully  protected under the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981, which makes it an offence to kill, injure or take a buzzard, or to take, damage or destroy an active nest or its contents”.

The 74-year-old said he also came across 12 dead rooks in a field two months ago and he also came across five dead egrets. He said: ““What pleasure do they get out of shooting egrets? They are the slowest birds. “It’s dreadful and there’s no need for people to do this. “It’s the 21st century. You’re talking about people that want to bring back hunting because it’s their way of life. To be honest, I don’t think it fits in the 21st century.”

Mr Hutchinson also witnessed a rook and magpie trapped in a cage in a wood which were “desperate to escape”.

However, Lincolnshire Police has confirmed it is not investigating the deaths.

A spokesperson said: “The first incident was reported for information only and the log states that the caller believes the buzzard may have been poisoned as a result of eating pigeons that had been shot.

“The second incident relates to a buzzard that, albeit dead, did not show any sign of injury or intervention.

“In both cases, the birds were taken away by Natural England for analysis and there was no further action required by us in terms of any offences.”

In the UK, legislation gives protection to wildlife and important habitats and sites.

Crimes against protected species include:
  • killing or taking them from the wild
  • collecting their eggs or skins for personal collections
  • trading in them and taxidermy offences
  • people destroying nests and breeding sites, bat roosts and other protected habitats can also be considered offences

Lincolnshire Police’s advice is to contact them, Natural England, or your local wildlife trust if you think an offence has been or is about to be committed.

In February this year, the RSPB revealed that a buzzard had been shot in Lincolnshire.

Members of the public were urged to be extra vigilant to help stop the persecution of birds of prey after a spate of shootings, trappings and poisonings.

At the time, the charity revealed birds across Eastern England, including a red-footed falcon, buzzards, marsh harrier and red kite were becoming victims of wildlife crime in the region.

If you have any sensitive information about the illegal killing of birds of prey, the charity advises you report it by calling the RSPB’s confidential hotline on 0845 466 3636.

Calls to this number are not recorded and will be treated in the strictest confidence.

This article written by Holly O’Flinn was first published by Lincolnshire Live 13 October 2017

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