A magnificent bird of prey is set to return to the skies – still carrying the gunshot which grounded it – thanks to the care of a High Peak conservation centre.
The injured buzzard was rescued by a member of the public who took the bird to the Chestnut Centre in Chapel-en-le-Frith.
At first staff were at a loss to determine the nature of the injury as there were no outward signs of damage to the bird.
Rebecca Wood, Animal Manager at the Centre, said: “At first we didn’t know what was wrong with it.
“It was only when we took it to a specialist vet that we found out, as there was no blood or anything.”
X-rays revealed that the protected bird of prey had 15 separate pieces of shot lodged in its wing and body.
It is believed it was shot in the Little Hayfield area on or around December 11.
Rebecca said: “A member of the public found it hopping around on his drive and he managed to catch it and bring it in to us.
“I think the reason she had managed to survive is because she is a very big and otherwise a very healthy bird.”
The Chestnut Centre called on the services of a specialist and was very grateful for the help received from Richard Jones at Avian Veterinary Services in Knutsford.
“He is one of the only people in the country who specialises in avian veterinary,” said Rebecca.
“As soon as she was X-rayed we could see all the shot in her.”
Mr Jones treated the buzzard successfully, but the shot had to be left in the bird as it would cause more damage to try and remove it.
The buzzard is expected to stay at the Centre until the spring.
However, there are concerns over her release back to the area where she was shot.
“We are going to have to release her back there because that’s the area she knows. She will recognise the habitat and know where the food is,” said Rebecca.
The police, as well as the RSPB, have been informed of the incident who will be looking closely at the area.
Anyone with information about the incident which took place some time around December 11 is asked to contact PC Carl Webster at Derbyshire police on 0345 123 33 33 or Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.