‘Birds used as bait’ shocker

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BIRD-lovers trying to protect wildlife in Calderdale are being urged not to take matters into their own hands.

Police have issued the plea after receiving several calls from people shocked at captive birds being used in traps.

They say the reports come after officers asked the public to be vigilant regarding birdlife.

They issued their plea to gain help in catching a poisoner thought to be trying to kill rare birds by spiking food and leaving it near their nesting sites.

As reported by the Courier, police were called in after a chicken carcass believed to have been deliberately poisoned was found in the Ryburn Valley near the home of a peregrine falcon. Police are urging people to ring them if they are worried but not take action themselves.

Calderdale’s wildlife officer Special Constable Phil Sanderson said: “We have had a number of calls about captive birds being used in traps.

“These have all been investigated and we thank the public for their concern and vigilance but urge people not to take matters into their own hands but to let us know.

“The use of captive birds is lawful and covered under a licence for the landowner and their agent to catch particular types of pests and there are a number of regulations covering these.

“If in doubt then let police know and we will carry out a thorough investigation and take action if any illegal activity has occurred.”

Meanwhile Special Constable Sanderson also says police have also had several complaints about dog owners allowing their pets off their leads at nature reserves, disturbing the birds nesting there at an important time in the breeding season.

“For good reason this is an offence under the Wildlife and Countryside Act,” he said.

“The vast majority of dog owners act responsibly.

“But there is always the minority who spoil it for the others.

“All dog owners are asked to act responsibly and value the environment.”

Anyone who suspects a trap has been set to poison birds illegally should call Special Constable Phil Sanderson on 0845 6060606.