TV wildlife expert Chris Packham has been reported to police after footage of him sniffing a baby bird was screened by the BBC.

Mr Packham, who lives in the New Forest, was presenting an item on The One Show about how goshawks are making a comeback after coming close to extinction.

He sniffed one of three chicks, explaining that goshawks had a "characteristic scent or perfume", before the birds were weighed, sexed, and ringed.

But a viewer contacted police and alleged that the 62-year-old broadcaster had disturbed the rare woodland predators, which are protected by law.

Malvern Gazette: Chris Packham has been reported to police after kissing a goshawk chick on TV, but has denied doing anything wrongChris Packham has been reported to police after kissing a goshawk chick on TV, but has denied doing anything wrong (Image: PA)

A Hampshire police spokesperson said: "We received a report relating to an alleged offence under the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 and it is currently being reviewed by our Countrywatch team."

Posting on social media, Mr Packham denied doing anything wrong.

He added: "When it comes to goshawks’ welfare we ought to worry a little less about naturalists having a sniff occasionally and [more about] the widespread persecution of these species."

READ MORE: New Forest-based naturalist Chris Packham opens wildlife hide in grounds of Stroud School, Romsey

The presenter told The Daily Telegraph that a "huge number" of goshawks were killed by gamekeepers every year.

Referring to the item on The One Show he added: "All three of these birds fledged the nest – let's hope they survive."

A BBC spokesperson added: "The One Show had permission to film and followed all protocols around filming wildlife."

Malvern Gazette: A goshawk prepares to devour its preyA goshawk prepares to devour its prey (Image: Gordon Spruce)

Nature lovers have taken to X, formerly known as Twitter, to defend the Southampton-born presenter.

Raptor Protection UK said: "Biggest threat to UK goshawks is gamekeepers, not Chris Packham. The latest in a long-running malicious smear campaign is just laughable."

Protect the Wild added: "This is just ridiculous. The anti-Chris Packham brigade out in full force again."

READ MORE: TV star Chris Packham joins protest against 'attack on environmental laws'

Forestry England declined to comment on the viewer's complaint, which was made to police on July 2.

A statement on its website says the New Forest is home to 45 pairs of goshawks, which is one of the UK’s most elusive birds of prey.

"Goshawks were absent from the Forest for 120 years, only returning in 2002. Since then, a team at Forestry England have been working hard to learn more about these raptors and help to ensure that they are able to breed successfully."

In 2014 bird lovers celebrated the arrival of the first chicks born to a pair of goshawks nesting in the Forest.

A webcam enabled nature lovers to watch them being cared for by their parents.