Sunderland Echo

Man took bird of prey into nature reserve

- Gavin Ledwith gavin.ledwith@jpimedia.co.uk @GLedwi

Police have been contacted after a man was reported to have taken a captive bird of prey into a popular nature reserve.

More than 200 species of birds can be spotted in Rainton Meadows, near Houghton, which attracts birdwatche­rs and walkers from across the region.

Durham Wildlife Trust, which runs the site, contacted the police after receiving two similar reports and said “the individual involved will have undoubtedl­y created disturbanc­e and additional stress for the birds in the area”.

Northumbri­a Police have added that "deliberate­ly flying a bird of prey within a nature reserve will have a detrimenta­l effect on any wildlife”.

B i rd s v i s i t i n g R a i nto n Meadows include up to 1,000 greylag geese, a spectacula­r sight when flying in formation in the area, which travel from as far away as Scandinavi­a to spend autumn and winter at the reserve because of its wealth of wetlands.

A spokespers­on for the trust said: “Rainton Meadows is an important area for a variety of wetland and woodland birds and Durham Wildlife Trust manages the site for the benefit of wildlife and to provide special places for people to get out and experience nature.

"By bringing a bird of prey onto a nature reserve to practise falconry, the individual involved will have undoubtedl­y created disturbanc­e and additional stress for the birds in the area.

"With nature increasing­ly under pressure and subject to disturbanc­e from human activity, we felt it necessary to report the incidents in the hope that it would deter those responsibl­e from returning.”

A N o r t h u m b r i a Po l i c e spokespers­on said the male reported to have been seen with the bird of prey had still to be identified.

The spokespers­on added: “We would expect all visitors to respect the fact that this is a nature reserve and clearly deliberate­ly flying a bird of prey within a nature reserve will have a detrimenta­l effect on any wildlife within the reserve.

"It shows a disregard for the wildlife in the reserve, the wildlife trust and its members. We would encourage members of the public to report any such behaviour to the trust.”

The incidents happened on successive weekends in November.

The trust can be contacted on (0191) 5843112.

 ??  ?? Warnings have been issued after reports a man was seen in Rainton Meadows nature reserve, on the edge of Sunderland, with a bird of prey.
Warnings have been issued after reports a man was seen in Rainton Meadows nature reserve, on the edge of Sunderland, with a bird of prey.

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