Man Arrested for Illegal Mass Killing of Raptors in California

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Close up of a Red-tailed Hawk in flightClose up of a Red-tailed Hawk in flight – Nikon D810, f7.1, 1/2500, ISO 400, Nikkor 500mm, natural light, not baited

I seriously don’t know why some people do the things they do and there are times that I read articles and find myself simultaneously exceedingly sad and tremendously angry when those articles have to do with the malicious, illegal killing of birds and wildlife. I became infuriated yesterday when I saw an article in my Facebook timeline about a man named Richard Parker of Lassen County California who has been arrested for the illegal mass killing of at least 135 raptors. This is likely the largest raptor poaching case ever in the history of California.

Raptors are protected under the Migratory Bird Treaty Act (MBTA) and there is no way this 67 year-old man didn’t know that. Not only did he kill raptors including Red-tailed Hawks, one owl and one Ferruginous Hawk on his 80 acre property he was also found to be in possession of two dead bobcats, one taxidermied mountain lion and other nongame birds.

I can’t even begin to fathom why a person would kill one let alone this many raptors. I can’t understand this kind of person and I am not sure I would want to see inside their brains to know what they are thinking.

Red-tailed Hawk chick close upRed-tailed Hawk chick close up – Nikon D500, f8, 1/1250, ISO 400, -0.7 EV, Nikkor 500mm VR with 1.4x TC, natural light, not baited

I hope that this man is charged to the full extent of the law, that they confiscate his personal property, is found guilty of his crime, convicted of a felony, has to pay stiff fines, is sent to prison for a long period of time, never allowed to hunt again in his life and is never allowed to possess a gun again. Period.


The adult Red-tailed Hawk in the photo above was photographed in Utah County, Utah in September of 2014. The Red-tailed Hawk chick was photographed in June of 2017 after 80 mph winds destroyed its nest and blew it and its siblings out of their nest before they were old enough to fledge naturally.


  1. Pepe Forte March 20, 2018 at 12:43 pm

    I love today’s pics Mia. Red tails are certainly among my faves. You breathe life into every image. Thanks.

    I’m probably overstating the obvious, but that jerk you mentioned is nothing more than low-life trash who kills because he loves it. It is the legacy of a cruel and worthless man living a cruel and worthless life. Disgusting.

  2. Utahbooklover March 16, 2018 at 10:45 am

    Thanks for posting these wonderful images, and the news I missed—another example of how crazy some humans can be. 🙁

  3. Kelly March 16, 2018 at 10:05 am

    Like you, I live in Utah where there is a pervasive hunting culture. I’ve recently heard someone talk about stalking a particular deer for two years noticing how “smart and fast” he was every time he was spotted, only to end the story with how happy he was when he finally killed it. That, to me, sounds like a serial killer talking about a victim. I was dumbstruck. Yesterday I had a conversation with someone who told me how beautiful he finds wolves with white coats and how his dream is to kill one and have it stuffed to keep in his house! How does admiration for a beautiful wild animal turn into “I MUST KILL IT!”? Like many have said, I will never understand those who kill animals just to kill them. I’m no expert in psychology, but I can’t help thinking these are the traits of psychopaths and sociopaths. Killing badgers because they come on your land, shooting coyotes because in UT you get $50.00 for each one you kill, using live rabbits as target practice, taking the lives of songbirds because they annoy you — these are all things I’ve heard over and over again while living in Utah. It makes me sad and angry, as you stated. Interestingly enough, I never experienced hunters in Montana talk like this. For them it was about feeding their families, not the thrill of stalking and killing an animal, and they wouldn’t dream of killing something they wouldn’t also eat. While I’ve no wish to paint all hunters in this light, the examples above and the article you linked to are simply mind-boggling.

    • Cindy March 16, 2018 at 10:16 am

      Kelly, I agree with every word you wrote! I too live in Utah. It has always bothered me to see deer flopped in the back of trucks after hunters come home with their kill. It’s almost like a badge of honor for them. Yes, people do eat the meat so that I have learned to accept but not killing for the thrill of it with no regard for the life they’re taking. It’s not just the hawks that were slaughtered but the trophy hunters that fly to Africa to kill endangered animals but that’s another troubling story. You and Mia give me hope. Thank you.

  4. Mary Martha Murphy March 16, 2018 at 4:43 am

    As bad as cruelty to animals and children. Why stoop low when you can reach high?

  5. Becky Wood March 15, 2018 at 3:05 pm

    This man has no brain to examine and obviously no heart either. It takes nothing worthwhile to kill something. The wildlife he killed are more noble, more valuable, more greatly mourned than he will ever be.

  6. Elephants Child March 15, 2018 at 1:14 pm

    Hiss and spit.
    I so often despair about our species.

  7. Laura Culley March 15, 2018 at 12:47 pm

    The sad thing is that the worst that will happen is this guy will get a slap on his wrist for this crime. Birds just aren’t important to the U.S. government administration now. Can you hear me screaming?

  8. richard March 15, 2018 at 12:35 pm

    Please help us follow this as it plays-out in the justice system. Who’s surprised by this?
    There are thousands more like him going unnoticed, a very few find a little legal trouble.
    Expect Dick Parker to get a stern finger-wagging and a $10k fine from the red county judge..
    To the “I share your sadness and outrage” chorus: our fathers taught us “sorry” doesn’t fix it.
    “Concern” is illegitimate without action.

  9. Laura Culley March 15, 2018 at 12:24 pm

    I’ll NEVER understand these actions–not EVER! Like you, I vacillate between overwhelming sadness and anger, but sometimes I also try to fathom the depth of insanity that COULD do something like this. I can’t get there. I just can’t!

  10. Marty K March 15, 2018 at 10:36 am

    Disgusting. Just disgusting. Sometimes I really don’t want to live on this planet anymore. 🙁

    • Laura Culley March 15, 2018 at 12:49 pm

      We need a space ship getaway car!! Seriously, I’m with you!!

      • Richard Burnett March 15, 2018 at 2:45 pm

        “Despair” and “screaming” (at a keyboard) and “wanting-out” of our troublesome hard work
        and responsibility is just amplified silence, apathy and . . . complicity.

  11. Carroll Tarvin March 15, 2018 at 10:16 am

    I share in your outrage & sadness Mia. Thank you for your blog,

  12. steve March 15, 2018 at 10:14 am

    Could be fined over $700,000 and six months in jail. I hope they make an example of him. Such a waste of life.

  13. Cindy March 15, 2018 at 9:41 am

    There must be a piece missing in them, no compassion, empathy. Is it anger at society for one to kill harmless creatures. I just don’t understand. Yes, may the prison bars clang loudly behind him!

  14. Patty Chadwick March 15, 2018 at 8:38 am


  15. April Olson March 15, 2018 at 7:25 am

    I can’t even read the article, I’ve seen enough of similar bad behavior and worse in my years of rehab. I find it too disheartening. Also knowing the outcome of two of the chicks blown from the nest are heartbreaking for me to.

  16. Ilze Long March 15, 2018 at 7:02 am

    Such sadness. Is there anything he wouldn’t kill?

  17. Liz Cormack March 15, 2018 at 6:32 am

    Some people are just mentally warped. It sounds like somebody alerted the authorities. Kudos to that person.

Comments are closed.