An investigation is taking place into the “unacceptable” shooting of a peregrine falcon.
The Scottish SPCA was contacted after the female bird was discovered injured at Grange Farm near Kirkcaldy, Fife, on July 25.
The bird was unable to fly, and after being taken to the charity’s national wildlife rescue centre in Fishcross, Clackmannanshire, X-rays revealed she had been shot.
A Scottish SPCA special investigations spokesman said: “We were shocked to hear that the peregrine falcon had been shot.
“This poor bird was extremely lucky to be spotted by the farm worker, who took immediate steps to ensure the falcon’s welfare and survival.
“The shot would have knocked the bird out of the sky almost instantaneously so the incident will have happened close to the farmland the bird was found on.
“Thankfully, due to the expert avian vets we have at our national wildlife hospital, the falcon has a good chance at recovery and release back in to the wild.
“Peregrine falcons are a Schedule One-listed species of The Wildlife and Countryside Act and it is illegal to intentionally harm or kill one of these birds.
“We are working closely with Police Scotland to establish the circumstances around the bird’s injuries due to the use of a firearm in the incident.”
Police Scotland wildlife crime liaison officer, detective constable Ben Pacholek, said: “The fact that a shotgun has apparently been used in an attempt to kill a bird of prey is of serious concern.
“This incident is sadly another example of the unacceptable persecution of raptors in Scotland.
“I strongly urge anyone within the local and wider community to come forward with details or any information about this incident which can help the ongoing investigation.”
Anyone with information about what happened to the peregrine falcon can contact the Scottish SPCA confidential helpline on 03000 999 999 or alternatively can call Police Scotland on 101.