RSPCA appeal after injured buzzard found to have been shot

RSPCA appeal after injured buzzard found to have been shot

The RSPCA is appealing for information after a buzzard was shot with an air gun and is now undergoing veterinary treatment.

The animal welfare charity is investigating after an x-ray revealed the buzzard had been shot in the head with an air rifle - miraculously missing her eye and skull.

The female buzzard had been found in the front garden of a member of the public in Bustards Lane, Walpole St Peter.

The poor bird was thin and weak and RSPCA Inspector David Podmore rushed the bird to a nearby vet on March 15.

Following an x-ray it was discovered the bird had an airgun pellet in her head. The wound was infected and as the bird was emaciated it is likely she had been shot some time ago.

The pellet had entered above her left eye luckily missing her eye and skull.

The wound had developed into an abscess so this was surgically drained and she was put on antibiotics and pain relief.  She's since been monitored by a specialist bird of prey rehabilitator but unfortunately, her eyesight has deteriorated. 

She is due to undergo surgery to remove the pellet in the hope that this may reduce swelling that's suspected to be the cause of the issues with her vision. It is hoped that if she does recover she will be released back to the wild when she is strong enough.

David said:

It is upsetting to think that this beautiful bird was deliberately targeted and shot. The bird had clearly been shot a while ago as she was so emaciated and the wound was infected. While we do not know where the shooting would have happened,  this is certainly an offence under the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 and we would urge anyone with any information about how this bird came to be harmed to call the RSPCA Inspector appeal line on 0300 123 8018 or the police.

All wild birds are protected under the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 and it is an offence to kill, injure or take wild birds except under a licence. The maximum penalty, if found guilty, is six months in prison and/or an unlimited fine.

If you see an animal in distress please review our advice on how best to deal with the animal.

The RSPCA receives almost 1,000 calls to investigate air gun shootings every year and sadly cats and wildlife are usually the animals most often affected.

We are calling for tighter controls on air weapons. This, along with better education and explanation of the law when buying an air gun, and requirements that everyone must receive basic safety training before being allowed to walk out of the shop could help relieve the problem.

These weapons cause horrific pain and suffering. Anyone caught deliberately using an air gun to injure an animal can face up to six months in prison and/or an unlimited fine if found guilty under the Animal Welfare Act.

Facts about buzzards:

  • Most common and widespread bird of prey in England and Wales.
  • Now found in all counties, although more populous in the South West of England, the Lake District and Wales.
  • Performs spectacular aerial displays during the breeding season, including loop-the-loops and a display often called "the roller coaster", in which the bird flies high into the sky and dives straight to earth in a twisting spiral, before starting the display over.
  • The buzzard's call can quite easily be mistaken for the meow of a cat.
  • Feeds mostly on small mammals; generally voles, mice, rats, moles, young rabbits and hares.