Hampshire & Isle of Wight

Hawk trust sees increase in injured birds of prey

Injured kestrel
Image caption Birds of prey have been forced to look for food close to dangerous roadways

A Hampshire conservation centre has seen a big increase in the number of injured birds of prey this winter.

Twenty-five birds - including buzzards, kestrels and tawny owls - were brought to Andover's Hawk Conservancy Trust in December - 20 more than in the same period last year.

Most were suffering from the effects of hunger or road accident injuries.

Manager Kim Kirkbride said: "The heavy frosts and snow have made hunting for food extremely difficult."

It is thought many of the birds were forced to hunt close to verges and roadsides where they were in collision with cars or lorries.

Some of the birds are juveniles which hatched earlier this year and have not developed enough experience of coping with harsh weather.

The injured birds are treated before being released back into the wild when they are fully fit.

The trust is asking people to be vigilant for other birds of prey who may be in distress.

Campbell Murn, chief scientific officer, said: "Unlike garden birds, who can be supported using nut and seed feeders, there is little people can do to supplement a bird of prey's diet.

"Only by protecting their habitats can we ensure that they have enough to live on. "

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