September, 2011

Our work

Our work
You might be surprised to read that our work is far broader than nature reserves and Big Garden Birdwatch. Read more about what else we do.

Way out west

South west England is rich in wildlife - from the high moors to the coast and out to sea, it's one of the most wonderful regions in the UK. This blog celebrates all that's wild about the region. Here we will share insights into our work to protect
  • Latest RSPB South West Wildlife Guide

    The latest wizzy RSPB Wildlife Guide from the sunny south west attached. Events, walks, talks and all manner of wildlife activity from October through to March. With something for everyone, its well worth a look.

    We're even doing a film premiere!

    Download is about 3Mb

  • Shock at second bird of prey poisoning in West Country

    Devon and Cornwall Police and the RSPB are again appealing for information following confirmation this week that two peregrine falcons found dead near St Just had been poisoned with the banned pesticide carbofuran. The RSPB is offering a reward of £1000 for information leading to a conviction.

    The birds, male and female, were found by a member of the public at midday on 21 July having been seen alive just hours earlier hunting along their cliff side nest.

    Following the discovery, Natural England‘s Wildlife Incident Investigation Scheme (WIIS) were notified and began an investigation. The bodies were sent for analysis and it was confirmed on Tuesday that both had high levels of carbofuran and that this had caused their deaths.   

    This follows the news last week that four goshawks and one buzzard found dead in Devon in March had similarly been poisoned with the banned pesticide carbofuran.

    Dr Elaine Gill, Natural England’s Regulation Team Leader in the South West said: “The use of illegal chemicals like carbofuran poses a significant threat to our wildlife and environment – in this case, causing the needless death of two peregrine falcons after they ate bait laced with poison.

    “Peregrines receive special protection under the Wildlife and Countryside Act (1981) and poisoning them is an offence, as is the possession or use of carbofuran, which has been banned for more than a decade. We treat such incidents seriously and will continue our work with other enforcement agencies under the Wildlife Incident Investigation Scheme to tackle incidents like this.”

    PC Jack Tarr, Wildlife Crime Officer in Cornwall, a keen birdwatcher who’s been involved in monitoring peregrines for 12 years, said; “That these magnificent birds should be killed in this way is truly shocking. This was a pair I’d regularly enjoyed watched myself hunting off the coast at St Just and I know they were popular with many other people who walked the cliffs there. We need to find out who did this and bring them to justice.”

    Tony Whitehead, spokesperson for the RSPB in the South West said; “To have confirmed two bird of prey poisonings in as many weeks is unprecedented. We know that Devon and Cornwall have always been a persecution black spots and this year looks as though it might be one of the worst on record.”

    “We need to stop this. Whatever drives people to do this, it’s important to understand that killing birds of prey is not only barbaric, it is also against the law. This makes the perpetrators, however they seek to justify their behavior, no more than common criminals and we’d expect them to be treated as such.”

    Anyone found guilty of an offence against birds of prey can be liable to a fine of up to £5000 (per offence) or to imprisonment for a term not exceeding six months, or both.

    If anyone has information regarding this they can call Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111 or telephone 101 quoting crime number AP/11/1922.  Alternatively, the public can contact the RSPB on 0845 466 3636. All information is handled in the strictest confidence.

  • Outrage over poisoning of rare birds of prey in Devon












    Devon and Cornwall Police and the RSPB are appealing for information after four goshawks and one buzzard were found dead in woodland to the west of Exeter. The RSPB is offering a reward of £1000 for information leading to a conviction.  

    The RSPB was informed of the incident by a member of the public and recovered the birds in liaison with the police and the Forestry Commission who own the land.

    The birds, that showed no signs of being shot, were sent for toxicological analysis where it was discovered they had been poisoned with the banned pesticide carbofuran. This substance has been identified in a number of other bird of prey poisoning incidents.

    In the UK there are only 410 pairs of nesting goshawks. In Devon the most recent surveys suggest no more than 20 pairs breeding in the county.

    PC Josh Marshall, Wildlife Crime Officer with Devon and Cornwall Police said: “These four goshawks represent a significant percentage of the Devon population and it’s a huge setback for what is a magnificent bird. This is the worst single incident I’ve dealt with since becoming Wildlife Crime Officer.”

    All birds of prey are fully protected under the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 (as amended). In addition, goshawks are specially protected and listed under Schedule 1 of the Act.

    RSPB Investigations Officer Mark Thomas said: “This is truly shocking. To find just one dead goshawk in these circumstances is dreadful, but to find four and a buzzard is unprecedented, especially when you consider that they have been deliberately lured to their deaths.  

    “We hope that the reward will encourage anyone with information to come forward.”

    The birds were found on Forestry Commission land. Ian Parsons, Forestry Commission ranger for the area, said; “The people that do this to our wildlife not only deprive people of the chance to see these rare birds but they also put the public at risk. The poison involved is lethal to dogs and humans and the land where this happened is open to the public. These people obviously don't care about the dangers of doing this."

    If members of the public have information about this crime they can call Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111 or email PC Josh Marshall directly on . This will be handled in strictest confidence.

    PC Josh Marshall: “We rely on the public to be our eyes and ears in wildlife crimes such as this so if anyone knows anything about this, please get in touch.”