On Friday I collected a dead barn owl from a local birder, he wasn’t sure if I’d be interested in receiving it or not.
Although I can’t be 100% I am fairly sure that this particular bird died from starvation, the weather hasn’t been optimal for feeding owls and I can feel from the birds breast that it has been underfed for a significant period.
This has it got me thinking about how we can encourage more people to report any dead Birds of Prey and Owls, so that they can be collected and sent to The Predatory Bird Monitoring Scheme for analysis.
The Predatory Bird Monitoring Scheme (PBMS) is a long-term, national monitoring scheme that quantifies the concentrations of contaminants in the livers and eggs of selected species of predatory and fish-eating birds in Britain.
They monitor the levels of contaminants to determine how and why they vary between species and regions, how they are changing over time, and the effects that they may have on individual birds and on their populations.
It is also important as Birds of Prey and Owls can be the victims of persecution, as recently seen in this request for information from Derbyshire Police from February 3rd 2016
Reward offered as more birds of prey are illegally killed in the Peak District National Park
Derbyshire Police and the RSPB are appealing for information following the illegal killing of two birds of prey near to Glossop, Derbyshire. A £1000 reward has been offered by the RSPB for information leading to a conviction.
On September 09, 2015, a dead osprey was found to the west of Derbyshire Level. A post mortem on the bird revealed that both its legs had been recently broken, injuries which were consistent with it being caught in a spring trap prior to its death. Ospreys are rare visitors to the Peak District and this one would have been on migration to West Africa.
On September 30, a buzzard was found shot dead close to Hurst Reservoir, only a short distance from where the osprey was found. This follows the shooting of another buzzard in the same area in March 2014.
Sergeant Darren Belfield from Derbyshire police said: “I would appeal to anyone who might have any information as to who may be responsible for these cruel acts to contact the police on 101. The continued persecution of birds of prey in the Peak District is totally unacceptable. If you suspect someone of committing any crimes against wildlife, act now. Your call will be dealt with in confidence. If you don’t feel you can talk to the police, pass the information to us through Crimestoppers by ringing 0800 555 111.”
RSPB Investigations Officer Alan Firth said: “Yet again, we are seeing the senseless killing of fantastic birds of prey in the National Park.”
Last year, the RSPB published its annual Birdcrime Report 2014, which revealed Derbyshire as one of the worst places in the UK for bird of prey persecution. In 2014, the RSPB received 16 reports of bird of prey incidents in the county including a shot buzzard, a shot sparrowhawk and an illegally trapped goshawk.