More Dead Raptors found in suspicious circumstances South Devon Nr. Exeter

Sadly once again we hear from PC Josh Marshall, Wildlife Crime Officer Devon, that two additional dead raptors have been found in suspicious  circumstances. You may recall the incidents from 2011 we reported where a number of dead raptors, including goshawk and peregrines had been found poisoned in Devon. (Read the details here.) (And more details here.)

This is the detail plus images PC Marshall released yesterday on his proactive blog. 

Dead Sparrowhawk
Dead Peregrine
Sparrowhawk left, peregrine right
News filtered through last week via contacts at the excellent RSPB investigation team that they had recieved a photograph that appeared to show 2 dead raptors together from a walker out walking on farmland near to Exeter.
The photo displyed what at first was thought to be a juvenile Peregrine Falcon and a female type Montagues Harrier,
A team was dispatched from RSPB South West and a Natural England worker to recover the 2 birds. Both birds as you can see had been in situ for quite a while.
The birds were x-rayed that day and it was established that they had not been shot. Identification confirmed that the birds were a juvenile Peregrine Falcon and a Sparrowhawk, not a harrier as first suggested.
Natural England were unable to send the birds for anaylsis due to the decomposition of the bodies and various other factors.
What is obviously a very suspicous incident will at this time have to remain as such. The birds certainly appeared to have been placed together side by side in the field. No nearby factors gave indication that they could have died from natural causes at that location. It all points to human interference but without witness’s unfortunatley this will remain as undetected.
What was impressive was the speed of the partner organisations working together in conjuction to secure and preserve the evidence. If an investigation had been possible then we would have been in the best position to take this forward
I would just like to remind people to be extra vigilant when out and about and to be cautious of reporting raptor sightings on public forums. Persecution despite our best efforts does take place in Devon. I can only suggest this is what has taken place here.
Thank You to Kevin Rylands at RSPB Southwest for supplying the photographs
PC Josh Marshall
Devon Constabulary.


1 comment to More Dead Raptors found in suspicious circumstances South Devon Nr. Exeter

  • Thanks for the above.

    On this occasion we were able to release news relatively early on as we were confident that we had no further lines of investigation to follow and that a public/warning appeal was necessary.

    What sometimes perhaps isn’t appreciated with these types of investigation is that although we would like to put out the news ASAP it is vital that news is withheld whilst investigations are ongoing so as to not compromise certain lines of enquiry. As was the case with the Devon Goshawks last year and I’m sure other investigations that go on around the country. It can be seen as withholding information but it is purely to safeguard lines of enquiry and actions that may be ongoing.

    Cheers again