Hobby Recovery – EY03640

Example of a Hobby nest with 3 young

The Eurasian Hobby is a migratory species. Birds arrive in the UK from early April and head off on migration in September/October.

The entire British breeding population of Hobbies migrates south to spend the winter months in tropical Africa; the exact location is still a bit of a mystery, although two birds fitted with satellite tags in Germany spent the winter months on the southern edge of the Congo rainforest, in Angola, this might hint at the winter location of some British Hobbies too.

EY03640 was 1 of 3 chicks ringed from a nest in West Yorkshire on the 28th July 2018, the bird had completed one full migration when it was found injured with a shoulder fracture, near to Settiner See in the Ludwigslust-Parchim district, Germany and was released after care.

It is fairly safe to assume that this bird returned to Europe after overwintering in Southern Africa. Whilst we have no exact details of where this particular bird migrated to or the exact route or destination, we have attached a rough map showing that this bird had in all probability travelled almost 10,000 miles since leaving the nest approximately 340 days previously.

Rough idea of the minimum distance traveled
Posted in Eurasian Hobby, falco subbuteo, Injured bird of prey, Injured raptor, Nest Recording, raptor, Recoveries, reporting, reporting ringed birds, ringed bird, ringed bird of prey

Recoveries – Merlin

We’ve not had any recoveries for a while but this week we have had three.

Two of these were Merlin ringed at a nest in the north of the Peak District National Park on the 18/6/2019, the nest fledged four young.

A male bird DD47979, unfortunately hit a window whilst chasing Starlings near Kidlington, Oxfordshire (the green line). Found 146 days after ringing and a distance of 192 km from the nest site.

His sibling a female bird EZ54326, was caught by a ringer at Holme Bird Observatory Norfolk and released after biometrics were recorded (the yellow line). Caught 132 days after ringing and a distance of 158 km from the nest site.

We would like to thank the finders for reporting these birds, more details of what to do if you find a ringed bird or a dead bird of prey can be found HERE

Could we remind you that dead birds of prey found in good condition can be sent to The Predatory Bird Monitoring Scheme for analysis, they will send you a postage paid package for shipping. **Please note** If you suspect that a bird has been killed illegally, contact the police by calling 101 and ask for the matter to be referred to a Wildlife Crime Officer.

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.

Posted in birds of prey, Merlin, Nest Recording, peak district, raptor, Recoveries, reporting, reporting ringed birds, ringed bird, ringed bird of prey

Peregrine rescue

Yesterday we received a call about a young Peregrine Falcon that had ended up on the ground and was being attacked by crows.

Luckily someone had spotted it and recognised the danger the bird was in. The juvenile Peregrine was put in a box in a quiet place whilst assistance was sort. Eventually they were put in touch with the raptor group and we collected the bird. It was kept overnight by a local falconer who checked the bird over and ensured it was feeding ok.

Rescued Peregrine Falcon










In the meantime one of the raptor group members spent a few hours in the area that the bird was found in and located where the birds had bred and confirmed that the parents were still around.

Having been given a clean bill of health the bird was returned to the roof of the building, with the permission of the owners and the help of their staff.

There was a second juvenile (probably female) on an adjacent building and the adults were very interested in what we were doing and no doubt soon heard the calling of this young bird.

P3A male Peregrine










Old nest that the Peregrines used










We are hoping that we will be able to erect a nest platform for next year to save them nesting on a Jackdaw nest as they have done this year.

A big thank you to everyone involved, here’s hoping that this little male has better luck with his second chance.

Posted in birds of prey, Darvic, Injured bird of prey, Nest Boxes, Nest Recording, Peregrine Falcon, raptor, reporting ringed birds, ringed bird, ringed bird of prey | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Goshawk – Ladybower

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).

X-ray showing the suspected ingested object

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

Foreign object dissected from muscle with a ten pence coin for size comparison









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.

Posted in dead bird of prey, Goshawk, Injured bird of prey, Injured raptor, peak district, Persecution, Protection, raptor, Rescue | Tagged , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Peregrine nest fails in suspicious circumstances

Raptor persecution in the Dark Peak area of the Peak District National Park is well documented, the links below give some background to historical and current persecution in the area and some background to this blog.

Peak Malpractice 2006  – RSPB, Peak Malpractice update 2007 – RSPB, The Peak District Bird of Prey Initiative 2018 – Peak District National Park Authority, National Trust, 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.

The subject of this blog is a peregrine falcon breeding attempt in the Glossop area of the Peak District National Park.

The breeding attempt failed suddenly in circumstances that we consider suspicious.

On the 26th of March 2019, two raptor workers checking historic peregrine breeding sites witnessed a food pass between an adult male and female peregrine falcon close to a remote crag on a grouse moor.

The male was behaving territorially towards a kestrel which strayed too close to the potential nesting crag. We consider such behaviour in a suitable nesting area during the breeding season as indicative of a breeding attempt.

In case the pair had not yet commenced breeding we opted not to check the crag, instead observing from a suitable distance and planning a return visit in a week or two.

On the 8th of April 2019, we returned to the crag and were surprised to find that no birds were present in the area, on investigation of the crag we discovered 3 cold peregrine falcon eggs.

Three cold peregrine falcon eggs









The question is what happened to this pair of peregrine falcons? Why were they no longer present? Peregrine falcons do not just give up on a breeding attempt after investing their energy in producing and laying eggs unless something has befallen one or both breeding birds.  Another statistic in a long line of incidents that have befallen breeding birds of prey in the Dark Peak Area and another example of the reduced probability of peregrine falcon nesting successfully in the Dark Peak region.








This incident has been reported to Derbyshire Police and the RSPB and is now under investigation. Finding evidence or witnesses in cases such as these is uncommon so if you see or hear anything relating to such incidents, please contact Derbyshire Police on 101.

Posted in birds of prey, Nest Recording, peak district, Peregrine Falcon, Persecution, raptor, reporting, reporting ringed birds | Tagged , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Poisoned raven found in Peak District National Park

The RSPB yesterday published this press release, regarding a raven found illegally killed in the Peak District National Park. The bird was killed by poisoning with Aldicarb, an extremely toxic substance banned from use over a decade ago.

Photo of poisoned raven found near Langsett

The reported police response was disappointing to say the least and there have been at least a couple of instances of proven and suspected raptor persecution where we have been surprised that South Yorkshire Police made no request for information from the public.

For many years South Peak Raptor Study Group and Peak District Raptor Monitoring Group have voiced their concerns about the plight of the raven as a breeding species in the Dark Peak area of the Peak District National Park.

Each year a high percentage of monitored pairs fail to nest successfully. On subsequent nest visits, previously occupied nests are often found to be abandoned. The frequency that this scenario occurs without any natural explanation leads us to believe that the principal reason for such failures must be illegal persecution.

On the 24th of March 2018 just a few days before the discovery of the poisoned bird, a raptor field worker visited a raven nest close to where this poisoned bird was found. At that time the raven nest was well built up and two raven were present in the vicinity. The nesting attempt failed to progress and once again we were left wondering what caused this breeding failure. It has only now become apparent that the poisoned bird was probably one of the nesting pair.

The 2018 Peak District Bird of Prey Initiative Report (page 12) provides clear evidence of an ongoing campaign of illegal persecution targeting raptors in the Dark Peak.

Raptor persecution is difficult to prove, birds often nest in remote areas and persecution no doubt takes places when witnesses are least likely to be present. Usually, we only discover the reason for such failures when the RSPB Investigations Team reports on an incident such as this or releases video evidence of a criminal caught in the act.

It was hoped that indiscriminate poisoning of wildlife was a thing of the past, however querying the RSPB Raptor Persecution Data Hub reveals that that there were 65 confirmed raptor poisoning incidents in England between 2012 & 2017.

This is the second wildlife poisoning incident that Peak District Raptor Monitoring Group are aware of in this area in recent years.

In 2015, less than 10 km from where this bird must have been found, a raptor field worker recovered a total of 13 dead black-headed gulls from a reservoir. The Wildlife Incident Investigation Scheme (WIIS) were informed but would not accept them so in this instance the RSPB paid to have one of the birds tested privately. Once it was confirmed that this bird had indeed been poisoned, the birds were accepted into the scheme. WIIS concluded “Dead gulls were found at a reservoir. Analysis has confirmed a residue of alpha-chloralose in the kidney of one of the gulls, which is likely to account for the death of the gull. Case closed”.

Poisoned black-headed gulls recovered from local reservoir 2015

Posted in peak district, Persecution, raptor, Raven, reporting | Tagged , , , ,

Barn Owl Boxes – An update

Over the last few years PDRMG with the help of a number of organisations, farmers and individuals have been building and installing Barn Owl Boxes around the Dark Peak.

Boxes being made with supervision

Completed box










We would like to offer a huge thank you to everyone who has been involved, including Derbyshire Ornithological Society who funded a number of the nest boxes, the National Trust who provided some boxes, the National Trust tenant farmers and other local farmers who have been very supportive in having boxes at their farms. A special thanks to Roger France and Sophie Phillips, Roger donated some wood and also facilitated the installation of a number of the boxes and Sophie was kind enough to build three external Barn Owl nest boxes on behalf of the National Trust.

DOS funded Boxes ready for installation







To date 25 boxes in total have been installed. 18 boxes in Derbyshire, 2 in Greater Manchester, 3 in West Yorkshire, 1 in South Yorkshire and 1 in North Yorkshire.

Internal Nest Boxes

External box made by Sophie Phillips










Everyone’s efforts are helping the Barn Owl to recover in our study area

Owlets in one of the new nest boxes, visited by schedule 1 license holder




Posted in Barn Owl, Nest Boxes, Nest Recording, Owls | Tagged , , ,