Buzzard shot dead near Wheathampstead

A FEMALE buzzard with dependent young was shot dead on the cusp of Wheathampstead – and police are hunting for the culprit.

The bird of prey was found on the outskirts of the village near the John Bunyan pub and Lemsford Road on Sunday, May 29, by a man walking his dog who then reported it to police the following Thursday. It is believed that she was shot on the Saturday.

Rural and wildlife officer, sergeant Jamie Bartlett, said: “It is really sad that this buzzard’s dependants may not be able to fend for themselves and may have died as a result of their mother being shot. She did not die instantly, she may have flown a short distance (perhaps up to 300m) from where she had been shot, probably towards a nearby nest containing her young.”

He continued said: “This is a serious wildlife offence and we are appealing to anyone who was in the area at the time or may know who is responsible to come forward.

“It may be that this was an accident and the person responsible did not mean to shoot the buzzard – either way we would like to hear from you. We need to do everything we can to protect our wildlife from harm so that we can see them in their natural habitat for years to come.”

A Herts and Middlesex Wildlife Trust spokesperson said: “Buzzards are fully protected under the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981, which makes it an offence to kill, injure or take a buzzard, or to take, damage or destroy an active nest or its contents. In the past buzzards have been blamed for taking game birds, but they are actually much more likely to feed on carrion and small rodents. In fact, the largest part of their diet is made up of earthworms.