Marsh Harrier found shot in Norfolk


A male Western Marsh Harrier was found having been shot at Sculthorpe Moor, Norfolk, last month. The discovery took place on 21 June, when a dog walker found the stricken bird on the boundary of the nature reserve, near Fakenham.

Unfortunately, the finder was unable to get to the bird to a rescue centre, but photographs of the individual show injuries associated with shooting. The harrier was then reported to staff at the reserve after a member of the public had tried, unsuccessfully, to contact RSPCA.

However, a subsequent search failed to find the bird; curiously, the vegetation where the bird previously had been was all broken down, with only a few feathers left. It's likely the bird in question is the male from a pair breeding on the reserve – he has not been seen since and his absence puts this year's chicks at risk.

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Nigel Middleton, Sculthorpe Moor Reserve Manager, said: "We hear of birds of prey being killed illegally so often. Illegal persecution is such a problem and it's inexcusable. Having it happen on our door step has come as a real shock. Marsh Harriers are the reason that Sculthorpe is a reserve. This is just horrifying. If anyone knows anything please let the police know. Let's bring this criminal to justice."

Police are asking for anyone with any information to contact them. If you saw anything last week that may be relevant please contact Jason Pegden (PC1257 – Wells SNT (C11), North Norfolk LDU) on 101.