Injured raptors, dead raptors and rings

Finding a dead bird

In cases of suspected persecution/poisoning do not touch a carcass.

If you find a dead raptor, you should make a note of where you are (grid reference if possible) and take a photograph if you have the necessary equipment (aim to capture the surroundings). If the bird has a metal/colour ring on either leg, carefully read the details and write them down. When you return home, enter the details on the ringing website (http://blxl.bto.org/euring/main/) and the BTO will email you with information on that particular bird.

Please send any dead raptors (where foul play is not suspected) to the Predatory Bird Monitoring Scheme (PBMS). This includes death by natural causes or death by accidents such as hitting windows or cars. You can contact Lee Walker on 01524 595830 and the PBMS will send you a pre-paid container (which includes gloves) in which you can send them the carcass. The PBMS will analyse the specimen you send them and will inform you of their findings. Always wash your hands after moving a carcass. The Centre for Ecology and Hydrology has been monitoring the levels of pollutants in predatory birds for over 40 years. The information they obtain is all down to members of the public.

In cases of suspected persecution/poisoning do not touch a carcass. Dial 101 and ask Police Control that you need to speak to the Wildlife Crime Officer about a suspected illegal persecution of a bird just found. It is important that if this happens you do not move any bird or material/items involved in any way. If you are unsure, you can always contact us via email and we will get back to you to advise you. It is also important that if you believe the bird has been poisoned, or you find material near that has potentially been poisoned (e.g. meat), that you do not touch it.

If you have any doubt or concerns if you find yourself in any of the situations above please feel free to contact us (via email) and we can give you a ring to advise or assist. If you do find a dead/injured bird please email us with the information as well so that we can add it to our data.

Finding an injured bird

Injured birds of prey require specialist treatment from a vet or a rehabilitation centre, and it may be best to call an expert rescuer to the bird rather than try to capture it yourself.

If you do feel you need to catch the bird to protect it from further injury, you should use the following procedure carefully:

  • Wearing a pair of heavy gloves, approach the bird very slowly and from the front
  • Cover the bird with a towel, blanket, or jacket, ensuring its head is completely covered. It may struggle at first but will calm down.
  • When it has calmed down pick it up using both hands, taking care to fold the wings against the body and secure the legs and talons.
  • Place it in a cardboard box slightly larger than the bird, with ventilation holes and a blanket or towel on the bottom.
  • Keep the box in a warm, dark, quiet place away from children and pets. Cover the box with a towel or blanket.
  • Do not disturb the bird – resist the temptation to keep checking it. On no account should you try to give the bird any food or water.

As a group we recommend that you take the raptor to the International Centre for Birds of Prey in Newent. If you have concerns about picking the bird up, please contact us via email and will call you to advise or assist you.

Always take extreme care to protect yourself (and the bird) when handling an injured bird, as even a weak bird may lash out with its talons or bill. Please keep in mind that being handled can be extremely stressful to wild birds, so should be kept to an absolute minimum.

Finding a grounded bird

You may find a grounded bird, for example a young Peregrine in an urban location. It may have fallen from its nest immediately above from where you have found it. It would be worth calling in to nearby buildings that are likely to hold a nest site (such as a Church) as someone there may be monitoring the nest and may be able to return the bird to its nest.

Failing this, please contact us via email and we can assist you.

Finding/seeing a ring

You may either see a ring on a dead bird you have found or on a photograph you have of a bird that is clear. The ring will be small and metal or it may be a larger coloured ring or even a wing tag. All of these can provide very useful information so please report it by doing one of the following:

  • Go to the ringing website (http://blx1.bto.org/euring/main/) where you can enter the information on the ring. You will be sent an email detailing all the known information about that bird.
  • Remove the ring from a dead, ringed bird if you can and send it to the British Trust for Ornithology, The Nunnery, Thetford, Norfolk, IP24 2PU with details of the bird and where it was found.
  • Phone the BTO on 01842 750050.

If you believe that the bird has died in any suspicious circumstances (for example it has been shot or poisoned) please contact the police and the GRMG so that we can investigate with the local Wildlife Officer.

Useful contacts

Gloucestershire Raptor Monitoring Group: glosraptors@gmail.com

Please note that all emails are pushed to a mobile phone and will be read almost immediately.

The International Centre for Birds of Prey, Newent: 01531 820286

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