Six suspected poisonings of birds of prey in Nidderdale
Last updated Jun 4, 2020

Since the beginning of lockdown, North Yorkshire’s rural taskforce has reported one confirmed and five suspected cases of bird poisonings in the Nidderdale area.

Local businessman Keith Tordoff has put forward a £5000 reward to encourage people to come forward with information.

The first case of poisoning was noted over 18 months ago when a red kite was poisoned, but in recent months the issue seems to have resurfaced.

The confirmed case was found by a couple after a buzzard fell into their garden from a tree at the beginning of lockdown.

The several suspected cases include two family dogs, both fell ill on a walk in Nidderdale in March.

It was suspected they had eaten some poisoned bait that was meant for the birds. The two spaniel breeds were taken to the vets, where one died following the incident.

Including these two dogs, there have been a further five suspected incidents of poisonings over the past three months. Inspector Matt Hagan, the head of the rural taskforce said:

“As well as the one confirmed poisoning of a buzzard a few months ago I have sent another five suspected incidents of poisonings to the labs. I am still awaiting results, but there may be other incidents I am unaware of from other teams in the surrounding areas. The bird breeds include peregrine falcons, buzzards and red kites”.

The lockdown has meant the lab reports are delayed however the team is dedicated to finding the person responsible.

Nidderdale is a tourist hotspot, but with a series of suspected bird poisonings it has become the centre of police enquiries.

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Keith Tordoff, a local business man and former Chair of the Chamber of Trade for Pateley Bridge, said:

“When I realised the severity of what was happening I decided to put up a reward of £5000 for information.  We got some information at the beginning but no-one was convicted. Then, in lockdown a buzzard fell out of a tree into a couple’s garden still alive, when it was taken to the vet it was confirmed as a poisoning. Tests found four chemicals, three of which are illegal.”

The cash reward is still active as no convictions have been made in this case.