A FALCON rehabilitated by an Andover bird of prey preservation charity after it was shot has been released back into the wild today.

Peter the peregrine falcon was found injured in King's Somborne in March when it was discovered his wing had been fractured by gunshot.

The bird of prey was taken to the Hawk Conservancy Trust and has since remained in the bird of prey hospital there where he has been nursed back to full fitness.

A blue ring on the bird’s leg, marked ‘GX’, revealed that he hatched at Salisbury Cathedral in 2014 and is known locally as ‘Peter’. He was one of the first chicks to hatch at the cathedral for over 60 years.

Appealing for help to find whoever shot Peter, Jenny Shelton from the RSPB, said: “We are glad to report that, after some R&R at the Hawk Conservancy Trust, Peter has made a full recovery and is ready to be released back into the wild.

“Peregrine falcons are incredible thunderbolts of evolution and most of us are privileged when one chooses to live amongst us. But sadly there are people who will shoot or poison birds of prey. We don’t know who shot Peter, but urge anyone with information to come forward.

“Sadly, this story is part of a much larger problem UK-wide regarding the illegal killing of birds of prey which is putting some species at risk of extinction. Peregrines have been driven to colonise urban areas in some areas of the UK because they are being persecuted in their natural habitats. It is worrying to hear of birds now being targeted in urban areas, we only hope that Peter isn’t targeted again once he is released.”

The RSPB is offering a reward of £1,000 for information relating to this case which leads to a conviction. If you have any information, call Hampshire police on 101.

If you find a wild bird which you suspect has been illegally killed, contact RSPB investigations on 01767 680551 or fill in the online form: https://www.rspb.org.uk/our-work/our-positions-and-campaigns/positions/wildbirdslaw/reportform.aspx.