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Long Melford: RSPB offer £1,000 reward for information about illegal shooting of a young peregrine falcon

13:13 09 September 2014

The injured Peregrine Falcon which was illegally shot is recovering at Lavenham Falconry in Monks Eleigh. Stephen Younge is pictured with the bird.

The injured Peregrine Falcon which was illegally shot is recovering at Lavenham Falconry in Monks Eleigh. Stephen Younge is pictured with the bird.

Archant

Police officers and the RSPB are investigating the “appalling” illegal shooting of a young peregrine falcon – a bird that experts think may have secured a coveted place in the annals of Suffolk ornithology just weeks before being blasted from the sky.

The wounded peregrine falcon found in a field at Long MelfordThe wounded peregrine falcon found in a field at Long Melford

After being peppered by gunshot and suffering a broken wing, the bird is being cared for at a falconry centre with the aim of returning it to the wild when its recovery is complete.

It was discovered near Long Melford and the RSPB is offering a £1,000 reward for information leading to a conviction in relation to the shooting.

Ornithologists think the bird may have been raised by a pair of peregrines in Bury St Edmunds – the first breeding record of the species in west Suffolk in modern times, and possibly the first time the species has ever nested in the area.

Keen naturalist Darren Underwood made the grim discovery of the wounded bird with a fellow Long Melford resident while walking on a public footpath near the village on August 20 and described the shooting as an “appalling crime”.

X-ray of the injured peregrine falcon found at Long Melford showing. You can cleraly see the pellets.X-ray of the injured peregrine falcon found at Long Melford showing. You can cleraly see the pellets.

Mr Underwood, of Cordell Road, said: “A local resident alerted me to a bird of prey that appeared to be injured. I was surprised to find that it was a juvenile peregrine falcon.

“It was very approachable and I assumed it had perhaps accidentally flown into the fence and was stunned.

“There were no obvious external injuries and with the resident’s help I put the bird in a box and contacted the Mulberry Court Veterinary Surgery in Sudbury. They were excellent and very caring and when they took an X-ray of one of the bird’s wings they found it had several pieces of lead shot in it.

“It had been shot with a shotgun. People are quite rightly appalled and disgusted by the illegal shooting of birds in places such as Malta and Cyprus, but the fact that such crimes are taking place right here at home is equally disgraceful.”

The injured Peregrine Falcon which was illegally shot is recovering at Lavenham Falconry in Monks Eleigh. Stephen Younge is pictured with the bird.The injured Peregrine Falcon which was illegally shot is recovering at Lavenham Falconry in Monks Eleigh. Stephen Younge is pictured with the bird.

As the RSPB announced its offer of a £1,000 reward to anyone providing information that leads to a conviction in relation to the shooting, the charity’s investigations officer Mark Thomas said: “This bird has only recently left its nest and has already been shot, presumably by a person who intended to kill it.

“Whilst it is good news that the bird has survived, it is unknown if the bird will make a full recovery.”

The wounded peregrine is being cared for by Lavenham Falconry at nearby Monks Eleigh.

Owner Steve Younge said: “It is doing very well. We have kept it hooded to keep it calm. It is eating very well and in the next two or three weeks we will try to build up its strength and fitness and we will see where we go from there but the hope is to return it to its rightful place in the wild.”

Suffolk police confirmed the shooting is being investigated.

Anyone who may have information should contact wildlife crimes officer Pc Mark Bryant on 101, or Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111. Alternatively they can call the RSPB’s investigations team on 01767 680551.

5 comments

  • Its time guns were special license only I grew up around them but I cannot see a need for them, leave nature and wildlife alone and it will look after its self.

    Report this comment

    Paul Edwards

    Tuesday, September 9, 2014

  • What a beautiful bird! I can see only eight pellets and they do not seem to have penetrated the flesh to cause damage to vital organs. Perhaps the bird was at long range from the swine with the gun and was caught only by the edge of the spread. Perhaps the wing was broken as the bird landed badly. Let's hope the vet has removed all the shot successfully and fixed the wing, which should repair itself reasonably quickly, given that it is a young bird. And let's hope the police find the offender and revoke his gun licence, if he has one. Bring back the stocks.

    Report this comment

    Roger RamsBottom

    Tuesday, September 9, 2014

  • Sicking to see this bird shot. Before you shot you should know your quarry and what it looks like in flight. Random blasting at any species just gives shooting a bad name. Being a keen shooter were not all trigger happy idiots.

    Report this comment

    confused.com

    Tuesday, September 9, 2014

  • I believe that most responsible gun owners (and I count myself as one of them) will condemn this behaviour. A bird of prey, particularly a falcon, is a joy to behold and we are privileged indeed if they are slowly returning to Suffolk. I sincerely hope that whoever carried out this appauling act is brought to justice, and that the Falcon makes a full recovery. As a footnote I'm not really interested in my comment opening a debate on these pages about the wrongs and rights of shooting. Both sides have their opinions and we're highly unlikely to change each others views.

    Report this comment

    Suffolk Boy

    Tuesday, September 9, 2014

  • No doubt shot by someone whose idea of sport is blasting battery raised tame pheasants out of the sky. What big men they are who enjoy this so called 'sport'

    Report this comment

    BoBoBolinski

    Tuesday, September 9, 2014

The views expressed in the above comments do not necessarily reflect the views of this site

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