RSPB reports rise in birds of prey being killed across West Country during lockdown

There has been a spike in the number of birds of prey being killed in the South West during the pandemic lockdown.

The RSPB reports that 10 buzzards have been poisoned in the region and the charity says it has been "overrun" with reports of birds being killed by criminals who believe there is less chance of being caught.

The wildlife charity alleges that the incidents are overwhelmingly connected with land managed for sport shoots.

Buzzards are the UK's most common bird of prey. Credit: PA

The buzzard is quite large with broad, rounded wings, and a short neck and tail.

The RSPB believes it to be the most common and widespread bird of prey in the UK, and estimates that there are currently between 57 - 79,000 breeding pairs on our shores.

Common buzzards fight for food. Credit: PA

The Investigation Unit suspects that the true number of incidents could be much higher, as there are fewer people out in the countryside who might report cases.

All birds of prey are protected by the Wildlife and Countryside Act (1981).