A police investigation has been launched after three red kites were found dead in the Dumfries and Galloway area.
Post mortem examinations and subsequent tests confirmed that two of the birds, which were found in the Stewarty area, had been poisoned illegally.
A cause of death for the third bird has yet to be established.
This now brings the total number of birds which have been poisoned in the region since the beginning of the year to four. In January a red kite was discovered in Kirkpatrick Durham and this was followed by the discovery of a buzzard in Mossdale in March A further two poisoned red kites were discovered in April, one again found at a separate location in Kirkpatrick Durham and the other being discovered near to the Old Bridge of Urr. The remaining red kite was discovered at the end of April at Gelston.
Specialist Wildlife Crime Officer Constable Alan Steel said the force has been working with SAC Consulting and Science and Advice for Scottish Agriculture to establish as much information as possible about the deaths.
He added: “What we have established is that illegal pesticides have been used to kill four of the birds.
“The pesticides identified have been banned in the UK for many years but despite this there would still appear to be those who leave out poisoned bait.
“The use of such poisoned bait is illegal and totally unacceptable and those responsible should understand that their unlawful activities not only serve to have devastating consequences on their intended targets but also on various other forms of wildlife.”
Anyone with information can contact Police Scotland on 101 or call Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.