National Parks & Wildlife Service (NPWS) of the Department of Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht is investigating the circumstances surrounding the discovery of two dead Peregrine Falcons at a quarry in Ballykelly, Co. Wexford. The two birds, one male, one female were found dead at Oaklands Quarry, Ballykelly near New Ross in Co. Wexford.
The birds have been taken for analysis to the Department of Agriculture, Food & the Marine in its Regional Veterinary Laboratory in Kilkenny. The birds will undergo a necropsy where physical examinations will be undertaken and organs examined and their condition assessed. The livers will also be removed for toxicology examinations. These post mortem examinations will establish the exact cause of death.
“Both birds were found close to vestigial remains of a pigeon.” said Tony Murray, the local Conservation Ranger with the National Parks and Wildlife Service. “We suspect that the pigeon was treated with substances that poisoned the Peregrines and the toxicology examinations will confirm this and identify the products used. The Peregrine population declined in the 1950s and 60s due to the use of organic pesticides like DDT. Following a ban on the use of these, the population recovered significantly to what it is today. Peregrine Falcons are a protected species and the deliberate killing of them is a criminal offence”. The National Parks and Wildlife Service has opened a file on the case and further investigations are on-going. Anyone with information that can assist the investigation is asked to contact the National Parks and Wildlife Service on 076-1002662 or contact their local Garda Station. NPWS would like to thank the staff of Oaklands Quarry for their assistance in this and in a previous similar incident at the same location.
In the summer months, peregrines can be seen around the coastal cliffs, mountain crags and inland quarries on which they breed. In winter they frequent favourite hunting grounds like moorland, marshes and estuaries.