We are appealing for information after a heron was shot with an airgun.

Shot heron being examined at West Hatch © RSPCAThe juvenile bird was spotted in a garden in Yeovil, Somerset by a passing dog walker. He was in an underweight state and struggling to fly. We were called and an inspector came to rescue the bird and take him to the nearby West Hatch Wildlife Centre.

A veterinary examination revealed an airgun pellet and fracture in the wing, but it is hoped with a bit of treatment, care and time he will make a full recovery and be released back to the wild.

RSPCA Animal Collection Officer Alison Sparkes said:

“This poor heron was clearly in a great deal of distress and kept on flapping his wings and trying to fly but only getting about two feet off the ground.


“These birds are pretty shy creatures so he was still quite hard to catch – elusively dodging behind garden sheds. But eventually I managed to get hold of him. I would have not been able to had something not been wrong.


“I was surprised to find he had been shot. Herons are legally protected and it is an offence to attack a bird in this way and would have caused him a lot of pain. In fact, he is probably lucky to be alive.


“It is hard to imagine why anyone would do a thing like this but it is possible someone might have been trying to keep him away from fish in their pond. If this is the case there are plenty of humane ways to deter birds and other wildlife from ponds, which do not cause such suffering.


“I urge anyone with any information about this incident to let us know on 0300 123 8018.”

The heron will be released back to the wild

Peter Venn, manager at West Hatch said the heron was making a good recovery and they hope to release him back into the wild when he is strong enough.

He said.

“This poor bird was lucky he was found when he was. Any longer and infection may have been caused by the pellet, which would have made his recovery and treatment a lot harder.


“We are very grateful to members of the public who stop to rescue animals in need like this – they are saving lives.”

Can you help?

Anyone with information can call the inspector information line on 0300 123 8018.

We can’t do it without you

The RSPCA can only carry out rescues like this with your help.  To help support work like this please donate online or text HELP to 78866 now to give £3.

(Text costs £3 + one standard network rate message).