On the 14th November 2018, we read a report from Derbyshire Constabulary Wildlife Crime Officer
We were quite hopeful for a full recovery for this bird, he was bright and alert and there were no signs of external trauma.
An x-ray showed a dense, circular object of approximately 2mm inside, as a result the bird was re-examined, with no evidence of a wound it was proposed that this was possibly a shotgun pellet ingested from a previously shot prey item (however this was not the case).
To aid the expected recovery, the Goshawk was put with an experienced bird of prey handler for rehabilitation and initially showed some progress. Unfortunately the bird died a few days later.
The dead bird was sent for a post-mortem and found to be in good condition with no signs of external injury.
When the abdomen was examined during the post-mortem the object was not found and a subsequent x-ray revealed it was still present in the Goshawk.
Dissection revealed a piece of lead shot in the left pectoralis muscle
Although the lead shot was unlikely to be the cause of the demise of this bird, it is yet another example of illegal bird of prey persecution. We cannot say for sure that this happened in the Peak District, but it is highly likely given the well documented history of persecution in this area.
Peak Malpractice 2006 – RSPB
Peak Malpractice update 2007 – RSPB
The Peak District Bird of Prey Initiative 2018 – Peak District National Park Authority, The National Trust, The Moorland Association, Natural England and both the local Raptor Groups (The RSPB left the Initiative in early 2018 due to a lack of progress and ongoing raptor persecution incidents).
Raptor Persecution in the Peak District National Park – Melling et al 2018, this document highlights the fortunes of breeding peregrine and goshawk in the Peak District National Park and the association of raptor persecution with driven grouse shooting.
Thanks are due to the person who reported the injured bird, the police officer(s) who responded and took the bird for treatment, the bird of prey handler for their efforts to rehabilitate the bird and of course the vet for all of their work undertaken to try to save and the bird and then investigate the cause of death.