Children visiting Bicester’s Jubilee Lake to feed the ducks were greeted with the sight of four birds which had been shot dead on Saturday.
The four bodies, three ducks and a moorhen, were reported to the RSPCA after being discovered floating in the lakes by passers-by walking at the lakes in Avocet Way.
RSPCA inspector Andy Eddy said: “It seems these poor animals were the victims of a deliberate attack – some kind of callous target practice.
“I found four bodies but it seems likely that there were more. It was a really horrible and utterly unnecessary act of cruelty.”
The inspector took the dead birds to a nearby vet who confirmed they had been the victim of a shooting. It is not known what sort of gun was used.
The RSPCA is now investigating the incident and will seek to bring to justice anyone who commits acts of cruelty.
Mr Eddy continued: “It is important to remember that it is against the law to cause suffering to animals in this way.
“It also seems dangerous to be shooting anything in a residential area such as this, so near to a housing estate where people will be passing by.
“We urge anyone with any information to call us, in confidence, on 0300 123 8018.”
Bicester town councillor Dan Sames lives near to the site and was shocked to hear about the shootings.
He said: “I can’t believe that people would be so cruel as to take pot shots at a living animal like this.
“I know lots of families with children go to this spot to feed the ducks, and it is absolutely horrific that they instead find their dead bodies floating in the water.”
The RSPCA has offered guidance to anyone who finds an injured bird:
> Make sure the bird is not a fledgling on the ground because it is learning to fly.
> Capture the bird gently and contain it in a closed, well-ventilated box. Placing the bird into a darkened box will help to reduce stress and the risk of further injury.
> Take the bird to a vet as quickly as you can. It will need treatment from the vets and then specialist follow-on care.
> If that is not possible contact the RSPCA’s 24-hour cruelty and advice line on 0300 1234 999.