A buzzard became trapped in a licensed cage and was unable to escape
A gamekeeper left a buzzard to starve to death after it was caught in a trap used legally for trapping crows.
Jonathan Graham, 30, of Foss, was supposed to have dismantled the trap on the Glenlyon Estate, near Pitlochry, Perth Sheriff Court heard.
After the buzzard got trapped, Graham did not open the cage door wide enough to allow the bird to escape.
He admitted to failing to inspect the trap every 24 hours as he was obliged to do, leading to the bird’s death.
Graham was banned from using trap cages for five years and fined £450.
RSPB Scotland has welcomed the conviction.
When the buzzard became trapped, Graham used a bucket to keep the cage door ajar rather than remove it completely as he should have done, the court heard.
Fiscal depute Shona McJannett told the court that gamekeepers could use the licensed cages, but had to carry out checks on them every 24 hours at least.
She said: “In Scotland, all wild birds enjoy a high degree of protection from the law.
“It is vital the cages are checked because they don’t discriminate the birds within them.”
Tayside Police were called to the estate by a walker and found the decomposing remains of a buzzard within the cage on 27 February last year.
Solicitor David McKie, defending, said Graham should have removed the cage door.
He said a fine would mean his client would be “rendered almost unemployable” as a gamekeeper because he would not be able to operate a licence to control wild birds.
Sheriff Robert McCreadie said case involved “a dereliction of the duty owed to all wild birds”.