The mum kingfisher bird fatally trapped in her nest along with six unborn chicks was the last female of the species in the region meaning the bird could be wiped out with only three males left to breed.
Cops have launched a manhunt for the culprits who killed a female kingfisher and six unborn chicks by bricking its nest with a stone and ended all hope for successful breeding of the species in the area.
After trying to free herself form the blocked nest for days, the last female kingfisher in the region was found in a weakened condition in the Traun-Donau-Auen nature reserve in Linz in the northern Austrian state of Upper Austria.
According to reports, cruel thugs had blocked the entrance to the nest, located at the bottom of a hole in a wall, with a stone.
The poor bird, that was caring for its eggs at the time, was left with no way of getting out.
The kingfisher died shortly after being rescued by a person who discovered the blocked nest.
Local media said that the kingfisher was the last known female in the wider region, with biologists
There are still three kingfishers left in the Linz area, but as they are all male there is no chance of them building nests.
According to Stephan Weigl of the Linz Biology Centre the species is locally endangered, as the species have increasing difficulties finding places to breed, especially after severe winters.
Weigl said: “These birds normally feed themselves with small fish. When the winter has been very severe, it is however increasingly difficult to find those.”
The police have launched a tip line where people can offer information that will hopefully lead to the perpetrators being caught.
A pile of rubbish and numerous empty beer bottles were found next to the nest, as well as a sign which had ‘First Upper Austrian Outdoor Boozing Club’ written on it.
The area has since been cleaned up, most likely by park employees, which made cops call on anyone in the possession of the original sign to hand it back to the police.
An investigator said: “We hope to find DNA traces and fingerprints on it.”
The stone used to seal the nest somehow ended up in a nearby body of water and is unable to be used as evidence.
The Upper Austrian Conservation Union confirmed that the hole had been blocked with a stone leaving no way for the kingfisher to get out.
Reports also said that a campfire had been lit underneath it.
Josef Limberger from the Upper Austrian Conservation Union said: “There are often vandals who visit the area, to drink and take drugs, they leave their rubbish everywhere too.
“This time, they didn’t just leave their rubbish. They also destroyed the nesting hole, and that is just going too far.”
The investigation is ongoing.
To find out more about the author, editor or agency that supplied this story – please click below.
Story By: Koen Berghuis, Sub-Editor: Joseph Golder, Agency: Central European News
The Ananova page is created by and dedicated to professional, independent freelance journalists. It is a place for us to showcase our work. When our news is sold to our media partners, we will include the link here.