Shropshire Star

Mallard duck survives being shot in the head with 'crossbow bolt' in cruel attack

A duck living on a Telford lake has survived being shot in the head with a crossbow bolt and has even been seen fighting with other birds while avoiding capture by humans trying to help it.

The mallard duck

Pictures of the mallard show what appears to be a crossbow bolt stuck in its head, but the bird survived the attack and is able to eat, swim and fly as normal.

RSPCA officers are monitoring the male duck at Holmer Lake in Telford after the charity was alerted by concerned members of the public.

RSPCA inspector Claire Davey is one of two RSPCA officers to have been out to the area to try and catch him over the past three weeks. She said: “It’s hard to believe someone would deliberately carry out such a cruel and callous act.

The crossbow bolt is still lodged in the mallard's head

“It’s obviously an extremely distressing sight for people visiting the lake, but we’d like to reassure the public that we’re continuing to monitor the duck closely and I went out again last Friday to check up on him.

“Presently, he’s able to eat, swim, socialise and fly and has even been seen fighting with other males in the group. But he’s extremely wary of humans, and because of this he sits at the back when being fed. As soon as he spots a net, he backs off, so our attempts to catch him haven’t been successful so far. Because he’s still able to fly, attempting a boat rescue is also extremely unlikely to result in a successful outcome.

“Unfortunately, attacks like this are not uncommon - wildlife is more susceptible to these incidents simply because they are out in the open with no one to protect them. We’d urge anyone with information about this shooting to call our appeals line on 0300 123 8018.”

RSPCA officers will continue to keep a close eye on the mallard and the charity has asked members of the public to call again if he seems to be deteriorating. Currently, avian flu is a problem and the public are therefore urged to avoid picking up wild birds themselves.