Buzzard illegally shot dead near Welwyn

PUBLISHED: 06:30 09 June 2011

The shot buzzard

The shot buzzard

Archant

A FEMALE buzzard with dependent young was shot dead near Welwyn.

The raptor was felled with a shotgun on the cusp of the village and Wheathampstead and Sandridge, near the John Bunyan pub and Lemsford Road.

And police are trying to snare the bird of prey’s killer.

Rural and wildlife officer, Sergeant Jamie Bartlett, said: “It is really sad that this buzzard’s dependents may not be able to fend for themselves and may have died as a result of their mother being shot.

“She did not die instantly, she may have flown a short distance (perhaps up to 300m) from where she had been shot, probably towards a nearby nest containing her young.”

He added: “This is a serious wildlife offence and we are appealing to anyone who was in the area at the time or may know who is responsible to come forward.

“It may be that this was an accident and the person responsible did not mean to shoot the buzzard – either way we would like to hear from you.

“We need to do everything we can to protect our wildlife from harm so that we can see them in their natural habitat for years to come.”

Officers believe the buzzard was gunned down on May 28.

She was discovered by a man walking his dog the following day.

A Herts and Middlesex Wildlife Trust spokesperson said: “Buzzards are fully protected under the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981, which makes it an offence to kill, injure or take a buzzard, or to take, damage or destroy an active nest or its contents. In the past buzzards have been blamed for taking game birds, but they are actually much more likely to feed on carrion and small rodents. In fact, the largest part of their diet is made up of earthworms.”

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