Peregrine falcon shot dead with air rifle near Manchester

X-ray Image copyright RSPCA
Image caption An x-ray of the falcon revealed it was shot with an air rifle

A peregrine falcon has been shot dead with an air rifle at a reservoir in Greater Manchester.

The bird was found by a member of the public at the Elton Reservoir nature reserve in Bury on Sunday.

It was taken to the Greater Manchester Animal Hospital where an X-ray revealed how it died.

The RSPCA is now investigating the "disgusting" shooting and has appealed for anyone with information about what happened to get in touch.

"This is such a horrible way to end the life of such a wonderful bird," said Paul Heaton of the RSPCA.

"Peregrine falcons are slowly making a return to the Greater Manchester area and are a fantastic bird to see - it is disgusting to think that someone would take pot shots at them."

"There were rumours that someone had been taking shots at woodpigeons too prior to this so we would like to hear from anyone who may know who is responsible."

Image copyright RSPCA
Image caption The RSPCA described the shooting as "disgusting"

Peregrine falcons are the fastest animal in the world, reaching speeds of over 200mph when they dive in pursuit of prey.

Their numbers fell in the UK over recent decades due to human persecution and the use of pesticides, but have since largely recovered, according to the RSPB.

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