Police have launched an investigation after a peregrine falcon was found shot in Fife.
Animal welfare charity the Scottish SPCA was alerted to the incident after the female bird was discovered on farmland at Grange Farm near Kirkcaldy.
The falcon was unable to fly and was transferred to the society’s rescue centre in Fishcross where x-rays uncovered she had been shot.
Protected species under law
In the UK peregrine falcons have full legal protection under the Wildlife & Countryside Act 1981.
This means that it is a criminal offence to intentionally or recklessly kill, injure or take a peregrine.
An undercover Scottish SPCA special investigations unit inspector said: “We were shocked to hear that the peregrine falcon had been shot.
“This poor bird was extremely lucky to be spotted by the farm worker, who took immediate steps to ensure the falcon’s welfare and survival.
Bird ‘knocked out the sky’
“The shot would have knocked the bird out of the sky almost instantaneously so the incident will have happened close to the farmland the bird was found on.
“Thankfully, due to the expert avian vets we have at our national wildlife hospital, the falcon has a good chance at recovery and release back in to the wild.
“Peregrine falcons are a schedule one listed species of the Wildlife and Countryside Act and it is illegal to intentionally harm or kill one of these birds.
“We are working closely with Police Scotland to establish the circumstances around the bird’s injuries due to the use of a firearm in the incident.”
Detective Constable Ben Pacholek – wildlife crime liaison officer – said: “The fact that a shotgun has apparently been used in an attempt to kill a bird of prey is of serious concern.
“This incident is sadly another example of the unacceptable persecution of raptors in Scotland.
“I strongly urge anyone within the local and wider community to come forward with details or any information about this incident which can help the ongoing investigation.”
Public appeal for information
The Scottish SPCA officer added: “We would like to find out what happened to this falcon.
“If anyone witnessed anything on the July 25 or has any information they feel may be relevant they can contact our confidential animal helpline on 03000 999 999.
“Alternatively contact Police Scotland on 101, quoting incident number quoting incident number 1390 of 28 July 2021.”