POLICE are appealing for information after a protected and rare bird of prey was shot and killed in the Forest of Dean last month.

Officers were called by a member of public who found the body of a goshawk near Kempley - one of the daffodil triangle villages - on the morning of Tuesday, February 27.

The dead goshawk
The dead goshawk (Gloucestershire Police Rural Crime Team)

According to the Woodland Trust, there are only a few hundred of the birds living wild in the country.

An X-ray of the goshawk’s body, which had been ringed, showed an air rifle pellet had broken its hip leading to its death.

An x-ray showing the pellet in the hip of the dead goshawk
An x-ray showing the pellet in the hip of the dead goshawk (Gloucestershire Police Rural Crime Team)

A spokesperson for Gloucestershire Police’s Rural Crime Team said: “Goshawks are protected under the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 which means it is an offence to intentionally kill, injure or take any wild bird.

“This sort of offence is taken seriously and if anyone has any information we would be keen to hear from them.

“If you have any information please Contact Gloucestershire Police Rural Crime Team on 101.”

Enquiries are ongoing and investigating officers are asking anyone with information on the incident to please get in contact.

Information can be submitted by completing the following form online: https://www.gloucestershire.police.uk/tua/tell-us-about/cor/tell-us-about-existing-case-report/    

Alternatively, you can call 101 and quote the same incident number or speak to Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.

The Woodland Trust say goshawks were all but extinct as a breeding bird in the UK by the end of the 19th century due to loss of woodland habitat and persecution from gamekeepers.

Deliberate and accidental reintroductions have seen the population slowly recover, with an estimated 542 birds in 2017, although habitat loss and persecution still remain a threat.  

The goshawk is regarded as the ultimate woodland predator, with wings that are tailor-made for weaving through trees and hunting almost anything it outsizes.

Its prey includes other birds, such as wood pigeons, corvids (members of the crow family) and game birds, plus squirrels, rabbits and other mammals.

The name ‘goshawk’ comes from the Old English name ‘goose-hawk’.