THE RSPB has put up a £1,000 reward for information after the fourth buzzard in four months was shot in an area of North Yorkshire.

Police are investigating the shooting of the female buzzard, which was found just north of Kirbymoorside in Farndale.

Gunshot was found in the bird’s wing and bone fragments were sticking out of the injury. Animal welfare experts believe it had spent as long as ten days in this state and it had to be put down by vets.

The RSPB had only recently been celebrating the successful reintroduction of buzzards to the east of England.

The latest crime has prompted the organisation to put up a cash reward for anyone who provides information that will lead to a conviction.

The officer in charge of the investigation, PC Stewart Ashton from North Yorkshire Police said it was likely more birds have been killed in the area.

He said: “This is the fourth buzzard reported to have been shot in Ryedale over the past four months. This figure alone is disturbing but due to the hidden nature of the crime, this figure will not be a true portrayal of the number of raptors being killed.”

Jean Thorpe from the Ryedale Wildlife Rehabilitation Centre had collected the buzzard and taken it immediately to a veterinary surgery for treatment.

She said: “To know this fine buzzard was deliberately shot and could not survive the wild life it should have had, is a disgrace. Shame on whoever did this deed.”

In 2011 the RSPB named North Yorkshire as the UK’s worst black spot for crimes against birds of prey, saying there were more incidents recorded in the region than in Scotland, Wales and all of England’s southern counties combined in 2010.

Species including goshawks, red kites, hen harrier and peregrine falcons have all been targeted by shooting or poisoning in the past few years.

According to the charity nearly 75 per cent of those convicted of bird of prey crimes had ties to game shooting and an interest in removing potential predators from grouse moors.

They have submitted written evidence to the House of Commons Environment Audit Committee stating there is a “strong body of scientific evidence” linking raptor persecution with upland moors managed for grouse shooting.

Anyone with information should contact North Yorkshire Police on 101 or anonymously via Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.