RSPCA appeal after bird of prey dies following airgun attack in Washington

X-rays later revealed the bird sustained a number of injuries Credit: RSPCA

An osprey has died after he was fatally wounded in an airgun attack in the region.

The bird of prey was spotted bleeding and lying on his back by a worker at the Crowther Industrial Estate in Washington, Tyne and Wear, after he was thought to have crash landed at the location.

X-rays later revealed he had been shot three times and sustained a number of injuries, including a fractured left wing.

The RSPCA was alerted about the incident on 26 May and collected the bird to take him for urgent veterinary treatment.

The charity is appealing for businesses on the estate to check their CCTV for potential information about the person responsible. 

Over 620 incidents involving animals that have been targeted with airguns, have been reported to the animal welfare charity between 2020 and June 2023. 

An initial examination showed that the osprey had suffered a ruptured right eye - which would have impeded his ability to hunt - and grazes to his body. X-rays were subsequently taken which also revealed three lodged pellets and a fractured left wing.

Due to the nature of the bird injuries the decision was made to put the bird to sleep to prevent further suffering.

RSPCA inspector Rowena Proctor, who is investigating, said: “It’s appalling that someone has taken pleasure in cruelly and deliberately shooting such a beautiful bird of prey and hard to understand why people carry out these mindless attacks. 

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