NORTH Yorkshire’s unenviable reputation as the bird killing capital of the country reached another low after two more raptors were found shot dead.

The buzzards, which are protected by law, were found at East Lutton, near Malton and Sutton Bank near Thirsk over the weekend.

Both birds had shotgun injuries.

Jean Thorpe, a local conservationist who rescues and rehabilitates injured wildlife, said it made her “angry and sad” that native birds of prey continued to be targeted.

She said: “There were chips through the flight feathers where shot gun pellets had whizzed through them.

“Apparently pigeon shooters were known to be in this same area about the time this bird had been shot.”

Ms Thorpe said the second buzzard had been found at the top of Sutton Bank, with a shot gun pellets in the liver and skull.

She added: “It makes me angry and sad that these beautiful native birds of prey are killed to protect the non-native game birds. This has gone on far too long.”

The killings are the latest in a long line of such incidents across the county.

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

The latest figures from the RSPB show that in 2015 North Yorkshire was the worst area in the country for bird crime, with 40 reports recorded.

That number is almost on a par with the 41 bird crimes reported for all seven counties that make up the Eastern region of England from Essex to Lincolnshire in that year.

Jenny Shelton, investigations liaison officer at the RSPB, said: “It is tragically predictable to hear of another buzzard being shot in North Yorkshire.

“Buzzards are fully protected under the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981, making it a criminal offence to kill or injure them.

“North Yorkshire is consistently one of the worst counties for bird of prey persecution. These killings simply have to stop.”

The RSPB is offering a £1,000 reward for any information which leads to a successful conviction.

Anyone with information should call North Yorkshire Police on 101 or the RSPB investigations team on 01767-680551.