Rare bird poisoned at Gilford Castle

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Four wild birds were found dead, believed to have been poisoned, around Gilford Castle grounds in the past few months.

Police in Banbridge are asking for the assistance of the local community to help them with their investigation after three buzzards and a rare Gyr Falcon were discovered over the past number of months on land at Gilford Castle.

Two of the birds were sent away for examination and tested positive for banned substance, Carbofuren.

Police are now investigating the possibility of Carbofuren being used in the local area and are asking for the support of the local community.

Carbofuren a toxic carbamate pesticide is used to control insects on crops but is known to be particularly toxic to birds. In its granular form, a single grain could kill a bird. Birds often eat numerous grains of the pesticide, mistaking them for seeds, and then die shortly thereafter.

Constable McArthur, Gilford Neighbourhood Policing Team, said: “Buzzards are a protected species under the Wildlife (NI) Order and it is illegal to poison them. Carbofuren is a banned substance and should not be spread on fields.

“I am asking the community to report any kind of suspicious activity to us.

“If you notice substances being spread in fields or have information in relation to birds or animals being poisoned, please contact us.”

The police in Banbridge can be contacted on the new non-emergency 101 number.

Buzzards and Falcons are birds of prey protected under the Wildlife (NI) Order 1985 as amended by the Wildlife and Natural Environment Act (NI) 2011.

A spokesperson for USPCA said, “As enforcement agency the PSNI should be informed of any suspicious activity in this regards. The use of poisons threatens targeted species but pets and wildlife.”