A JOINT investigation has been launched into the death of a rare bird of prey on the banks of the River Humber.
The dead marsh harrier, which had been poisoned, was found on top of a bush near Goxhill, North Lincolnshire, on May 27 by a birdwatcher who was monitoring a pair breeding in the area.
He was suspicious because its spread wings suggested it had fallen from the sky.
The circumstances are now being investigated by Humberside Police, the RSPB, and Natural England.
Sgt Howard Garlick said: “This is one of the more unusual incidents that police are called to investigate. Whilst it is not one of our regular priorities, all reasonable steps will be taken to investigate this matter and prevent further loss of these rare birds.”
Mark Thomas, senior investigations officer at the RSPB, added: “This is another appalling example of the crimes which continue to be committed against birds of prey.
“Poisoning is a particularly insidious method of persecution both because it causes the bird great suffering and also because it is so indiscriminate.”
There are fewer than 400 breeding pairs of marsh harriers in the UK. Habitat loss and persecution almost drove to them to extinction in the UK, and in 1971 there was only one pair left, although the population has since recovered well.