At Inverness Sheriff Court, a former apprentice gamekeeper was fined £1,500 after he admitted possessing a dead red kite.
James Rolfe, 20, who was a gamekeeper at Moy Estate, near Inverness said he found the bird of prey in a trap set for stoats and weasels but picked it up put the bird in a Land Rover rather than leave it and inform his bosses, the police, or RSPB.
The bird was not poisoned.
RSPB Scotland said it was pleased the sheriff had sent out “a clear message” that society would not tolerate “reckless and deplorable behaviour in the countryside”.
Rolfe was found with the dead red kite by police who had arrived on Moy estate with search warrants, issued under the wildlife crimes act on 3 June 2010.
Defence lawyer Iain Fleming said his client was 19 at the time and he had panicked after finding the kite dead in the trap.