1. ITV Report

Protected bird of prey shot 10 times in Bedfordshire

An x-ray of the red kite. Credit: RSPB.

A red kite was found dead in Bedfordshire with 10 pieces of lead shot embedded in its body.

The bird of prey was found at Daintry Wood near near Toddington by a member of the public.

X-rays were carried out by the Zoological Society of London (ZSL) and revealed the 10 pieces of shot.

Red kites are protected under the Wildlife and Countryside Act and the RSPB is appealing for information.

RSPB officer Jenny Shelton said it was likely the bird had been hit at close range.

"It is appalling to find yet another shot red kite, and one containing so many pieces of shot. This was clearly no accident, and the bird will most likely have been shot at close range to incur this level of damage.

"This incident is especially sad considering the lengths that have been taken to re-introduce these splendid birds. Red kites feed mainly on carrion, so pose no threat to people, pets or game, so there is no logical reason for these birds to be targeted.

"To most of us they are a treat to see, and can be identified by their forked tail and red-and-white colouring."

– Jenny Shelton, RSPB.
A red kite. Credit: Press Association Images.

Although a fairly common sight in Bedfordshire now - thanks to one of the world’s most successful reintroduction schemes - in the 1980s red kites were one of the UK’s rarest breeding birds.