The buzzard was seen falling from a tree. Photo: North Yorkshire Police

The buzzard was seen falling from a tree. Photo: North Yorkshire Police

A dead buzzard discovered in a raptor-persecution blackspot had four different pesticides in its body.

Three of the chemicals in the bird, found in Pateley Bridge, North Yorkshire, are banned substances.

North Yorkshire Police said pesticide poisoning was believed to be the cause of death of the bird of prey, which was witnessed falling from a tree in the Nidderdale village by a member of the public in March.

Officers said the buzzard was taken straight to a local vet but died soon after. The body was sent to the wildlife incident investigation scheme, administered by Natural England, for further analysis due to the circumstances surrounding its death.

A police spokesperson said: “This analysis identified the presence of three pesticides in the buzzard’s gizzard and crop with a fourth pesticide detected in its kidney.

“The report received by the police from WIIS noted the bird’s good body condition and the fact there was a good quantity of mixed food in its crop – two factors which indicate it likely died as a result of exposure to the pesticides.

“The pesticides identified in the buzzard’s system were: bendiocarb, carbofuran, isofenphos, and chloralose. Bendiocarb is licensed for use in England as an ingredient in a number of insect control products but should not be released into an environment where wildlife could come into contact with them.

“Carbofuran, isofenphos and chloralose are all banned substances which should not be used under any circumstances.

“Unfortunately several birds of prey have been the victim of poisoning in Nidderdale over the past few years with similar mixtures of poisons found in the dead birds in the past.”

North Yorkshire Police said it was investigating the incident but has so far not found any evidence to suggest how the pesticides reached the buzzard in this case or previous cases.

It said often the poison may be laid on bait such as a rabbit carcass or other dead animals so police were urging dog owners to be careful and not allow their dogs to eat any animals they might come across on a walk or during exercise.

Anyone with any information which could help the police track down those responsible for the illegal use of these is asked to contact North Yorkshire Police, quoting reference 12200084524.

The spokesperson said: “Anyone misusing pesticides may be committing a variety of offences.

“If you come across an object which you believe may be contaminated with a pesticide or other poisons, please do not touch it. Instead take lots of photos of the scene and a detailed grid reference if possible.

“Report the situation immediately to the police giving all the information collected and why you suspect involvement of a poison.

“The buzzard population has recovered in Yorkshire over the past few decades and they are now a common sight in Nidderdale. All birds are protected by law and it is a crime to intentionally kill, injure, or take any wild bird.

“Persecution of birds of prey is one of the five priority crimes for the National Wildlife Crime Unit.”

Officers added: “If anybody has information about persecution of birds of prey please call North Yorkshire Police on 101.”

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