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Operation Owl

North Yorkshire Police is calling for the public to take part in Operation Owl - a national initiative to prevent the persecution of birds of prey in our countryside.

Picture of a peregrine falcon trapped in an illegal pole trap
A peregrine falcon trapped in an illegal pole trap

North Yorkshire is known for its wonderful countryside, which is home to many species of birds – including protected birds of prey (also known as raptors).

Under the Wildlife and Countryside Act it is an offence to intentionally kill, injure or take wild birds.  Nevertheless birds of prey are still shot, poisoned and trapped – especially in our upland areas.  Sadly, as a county, North Yorkshire has more confirmed incidents of raptor persecution than any other county in England – a situation we are determined to tackle.

Launched in February 2018, Operation Owl is a joint initiative by North Yorkshire Police, the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB) and the Royal Society for the Protection of Animals (RSPCA), together with the North York Moors and Yorkshire Dales National Parks. The initiative set out to raise awareness of raptor persecution, encouraging the public to be vigilant for signs of this criminal activity, and to report suspicious activity to the police.

In June 2019, Operation Owl was rolled out nationally and in September 2019, the first national awareness weekend took place with 25 police forces across the country taking part and standing against bird of prey persecution.

Find out why Operation Owl is so important in Sergeant Stuart Grainger’s blog

In North Yorkshire, we tackle bird of prey persecution through:

  • partnership working,
  • enforcement,
  • thorough and persistent investigation,
  • intelligence,
  • targeted patrol, and
  • raising awareness of the issue by creating more ‘eyes and ears’ in our countryside.

By participating in Op Owl, the public can help to bring those who illegal harm wild birds to justice.

Find out how you can help stop bird of prey persecution.

Watch the RSPB/North Yorkshire Police video.