Bird of Prey Poisoning and Persecution Report 2011

Date Released: Friday, July 26, 2013

This report is available for download from the Publications section.


The report, published by the Department of Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht, is the result of cooperation between the National Parks and Wildlife Service, the Department of Agriculture, Food & the Marine’s Regional Veterinary Laboratories and the State Laboratory, and also involves An Garda Síochána, the Golden Eagle Trust and BirdWatch Ireland. 

33 poisoning or persecution incidents affecting birds of prey were recorded in Ireland in 2011, according to a report. 15 birds of prey were confirmed poisoned, and four more suspected cases were recorded. 8 birds of prey were shot.

Some of the deaths were accidental, but many were deliberate. The most frequent casualty was the red kite, a native species that was recently re-introduced to Ireland. It is believed that seven of the ten kites found dead were poisoned by eating rats that had themselves been poisoned. As well as red kite, other raptor species that were deliberately targeted included peregrine falcon, buzzard, sparrowhawk, and kestrel.

The report notes that the use of tracking devices on birds has enabled dead birds to be found, but this also means that the true levels of mortality are likely to be significantly higher.

The use of poison has been greatly restricted under EU law in recent years. It is illegal to poison any animal or birds other than rats, mice or rabbits in Ireland and only then using certain registered products. The Campaign for Responsible Rodenticide Use has recently been set up with funding from industry. This campaign aims to promote best practice so that rat poison in particular should not get into the wildlife food chain where it harms owls, kites and other birds of prey.

The poisoning of golden and white-tailed sea eagles has been a particular problem in recent years, but fortunately in 2011, no poisonings were recorded. Records of poisoning and persecution in 2012 are currently being analysed and the second annual report is due for release shortly.

For further information contact Barry O’Donoghue (087 9110715) or Ciaran O’Keeffe (087 2646416)

The Campaign for Responsible Rodenticide Use is in startup stage in Ireland. For info see the UKwebsite