Archive for the ‘RSPB Hen Harrier Project’ Category

Comment on An update on Holly the hen harrier

Saturday, February 6th, 2016
Very sad to hear of the loss of one of the few,if it can be proved her death was natural at least it will be one crime less to an ever growing list.

Blog Post: An update on Holly the hen harrier

Friday, February 5th, 2016
If you have been following the movements of our satellite tagged birds on our website, you will have noticed that we lost Holly in mid-October 2015, quite soon after she was featured. Needless to say, the project team were gutted as we were looking forward to following her travels and sharing them with you. You can read about her story here: http://www.rspb.org.uk/henharrierlife/holly.html   Photo credit: John Simpson As soon as her satellite tag data showed us she had died, we went to the site– an area of upland farmland and forestry to the north east of Glasgow - to look for her. We searched the area thoroughly but, unfortunately, we were unable to locate her. This is disappointing as we would have wished to submit the body to a government laboratory for a post mortem examination to try to establish how she died.  Survival rates for young harriers like Holly are low, with only around 1 in 3 surviving to a year old.  These youngsters will often die of natural causes such as starvation, but we cannot speculate as to the cause of death in her case.  We will of course provide an update if any further information comes to light.

Blog Post: The decline of the hen harrier in NE Scotland

Thursday, February 4th, 2016
By Ian Thomson, Head of Investigations, RSPB Scotland There is no denying that the hen harrier is one of our most spectacular and enigmatic birds of prey. It breeds in remote, out-of-the-way locations, often in the uplands, miles away from the biggest centres of human population. For me, it’s a bird that never fails to lift my spirits, one that always brightens a day out birding or hill-walking. I’ve been lucky. I was brought up in Aberdeen, and as a teenager going through my birding formative years in the late 1970’s and early 80’s, was fortunate to be there at a time when the North-east Scotland Raptor Study Group (NERSG) was in the process of being created. The hills and glens of Deeside became a second home to me for several springs, with the chance of seeing golden eagles, merlins and peregrines. But, the monitoring of breeding hen harriers was always one of the highlights. My dominant memory of those days was being invited along one day to help with ringing the chicks at three nests in one of the glens that went off to the south of the main Dee valley. I’d never been to a harrier nest before, and could barely contain my excitement! I’d watched the adults on several occasions from a mile or so away, so the opportunity to see these birds up close was brilliant. But, at every nest, there were no chicks. There were no adult birds around. There were cold, dead eggs. “They’ve been done.” said one of my colleagues. At that time, I suppose, on reflection, I’d little concept of what that really meant. But fast-forward 35 years, and I now lead the RSPB Investigations team in Scotland, I know exactly what it meant, and days like that are why I do this job. A paper that I’m sure will be of great interest to many, but is particularly so to me personally, has just been published in the journal British Birds .“The past, current and potential status of breeding Hen Harriers in North-east Scotland” [1] is a testament to the incredible efforts of a number of people in the NERSG in monitoring the fortunes of this species over the last 35 years. Several of the authors had been undertaking harrier monitoring before my first forays into the Aberdeenshire hills, and they continue to do so. It is however a depressing story that this paper tells. A peak population of 28 pairs in the area in the early 1990’s had declined to only one confirmed breeding pair by 2014.  Year after year, raptor workers carry out hundreds of hours of unpaid fieldwork, driven on solely by their commitment to the conservation of their chosen species. And every year, raptor nests fail and adult birds disappear. It’s widely acknowledged that bad weather, food shortage and predation are factors in breeding attempts being unsuccessful. But we also all know that places like the moors of north-east Scotland, the southern uplands around the Borders, and the Peak District of northern England are areas where food for harriers is abundant. These are also the areas where we’re told that upland breeding waders are thriving because of the intensive predator control regimes undertaken by sporting estates. So, if there’s plenty of available food, abundant nesting habitat, very low numbers of predators and other ground-nesting species like waders (and grouse!) are doing well, why are hen harriers doing so badly in these areas? The answer is pretty simple – persecution. What proof is there of this? There have been very few proven recent cases of illegal killing of hen harriers...  This is indeed true. But when you have a very small population, you’re not likely to get many proven cases of persecution. The damage has already been done. Raptor populations cannot withstand a level of attrition where year after year, adults are killed or nests destroyed. Suffice to say that in 2013, when the population of hen harriers in NE Scotland, as listed in this study, was only four confirmed pairs, by sheer luck, birds were witnessed being shot at two nest sites. In both cases, the perpetrators removed the dead harrier. That’s no surprise as why would a criminal want to leave evidence of their crime lying around to be found?  But, many birds are being killed out of sight of witnesses? Population studies such as this give you a good idea. From 2004 to 2010, the population of hen harriers in Scotland fell by 22% to 525 pairs. In 2011, the Joint Nature Conservation Committee published “A conservation framework for hen harriers” [2] . The conclusions of this piece of work were that the potential hen harrier population of Scotland was estimated to be within the range 1467–1790 pairs, but that there was strong evidence that, in the uplands of eastern and southern Scotland, illegal persecution was causing the failure of the majority of breeding attempts, leading to fewer breeding birds and/or fewer successful nests. It was depressingly predictable that certain organisations that claim to represent land management interests dismissed the conclusions of this report, in part by claiming the findings were out of date. The good news for them is that the Hen Harrier framework has been revised, and is due for publication, hopefully very soon. I wonder if this revised version will elicit different conclusions?  Or will this latest piece of work, monitoring and documenting the hen harrier population of NE Scotland be similarly disputed by those who are part of the denial culture that seemingly pervades much of the game bird shooting industry? But, I have news for those that seek to undermine the efforts of those who are out in all weathers monitoring Scotland’s birds of prey, and bringing the decline of these magnificent birds to the public’s attention. This report’s findings are the reality. I know. I’ve been there.   [1] Rebecca, G., Cosnette, B., Craib, J., Duncan, A., Etheridge, B., Francis, I., Hardey, J., Pout, A., and Steele, L. (2016) The past, current and potential status of breeding Hen Harriersin North-east Scotland. British Birds 109: 77– 95 [2] Fielding, A., Haworth, P., Whitfield, P., McLeod, D. & Riley, H. (2011) A Conservation Framework for Hen Harriers in the United Kingdom. JNCC Report 441. Joint Nature Conservation Committee, Peterborough.  

Blog Post: Running for Hen Harrier LIFE

Thursday, January 14th, 2016
This week, we have a very special guest blog from Tristan Reid who is undertaking a challenge of epic proportions, all for hen harriers. Please support him in his effort! .............................................................................................................................................................................. My name is Tristan Reid and I am a very passionate conservationist. I have been raising funds for wildlife conservation projects both in the UK and abroad for a good few years now. I am about to embark on a two year project to raise funds and awareness for the Hen Harrier LIFE Project. The hen harrier is a species that is very close to my heart as it is a bird I used to see frequently during my early adult life on the uplands of Perthshire. I now live in Cumbria and spend a lot of time in the Lake District National Park and the North Pennines in what should be prime breeding habitat for hen harriers. Sadly seeing one of these species in the breeding season has become a very rare sight indeed. The plight of the hen harrier is a sad story in its own right; but it is also indicative of the unnecessary negative impacts caused my man on an ever growing list of wildlife species. I decided that I had to do something significant to raise awareness of the hen harrier’s plight in England. My plan is to run all 268 miles of the Pennine Way non-stop! As if this mileage wasn’t a big enough ask; the 268 mile route includes over 30,000 ft of ascent over some of the toughest terrain in the country! This is going to be a very tough adventure which is the main reason I will be giving myself two years to train for it! The choice of using this route as my challenge rests in its relevance to the cause. The Pennines should be home to hundreds of pairs of breeding hen harriers; but unfortunately only a handful are still extant (and often sporadic in their occurrence). As Ellen Johnson Sirleaf said ‘If your dreams do not scare you, they are not big enough’. This challenge certainly terrifies me; and it is most certainly big enough! I will spend the next two years training hard by entering many tough ultra-marathons of increasing distances (you can see my 2016 schedule here:  http://www.trisreid.co.uk/94-2/ ) as well as training with sleep deprivation and tired legs! This is going to be a very tough challenge; but one worth doing for such a necessary cause. You can keep track of my progress via my facebook page (here: https://www.facebook.com/runningforhenharriers/ ) and via my twitter feed (here: http://www.twitter.com/thetrisreid ). You can also show support by donating to the Hen Harrier LIFE project via my Just Giving page here: https://www.justgiving.com/HenHarriers Photo credit: James Kirby

Blog Post: Findlay is Wilde about Hen Harriers – Ecotricity guest blog

Thursday, January 7th, 2016
Happy new year everyone! I'm happy to say that we're starting 2016 with some exciting news. Young wildlife campaigner Findlay Wilde has kindly donated his Ecotricity Young Green Britain Award winnings to fund a satellite tag for the Hen Harrier LIFE Project. You can read a guest blog by Ecotricity on Finn's own blog (Wilde About Birds) here:  http://wildeaboutbirds.blogspot.co.uk/2016/01/guest-blog-from-ecotricity-hen-harrier.html

Blog Post: All I want for Christmas…

Thursday, December 17th, 2015
What with all the storms passing through recently, I can’t help but think of how hard it must be for our wintering hen harriers to survive out there. Luckily we know our hen harrier Chance is safe in France and data from her satellite tag shows that she has settled for the winter, north-east of Le Mans. It’s likely she’s found an area with a good supply of food. You can follow her movements here: http://www.rspb.org.uk/henharrierlife/chance.html Photo: Chance's wintering location in France Some of our other satellite tagged birds in 2015 were not so lucky. In Bowland this year, one of our satellite tagged birds died along with two of its siblings before fledging the nest. The post-mortems and other tests on the three chicks, including the satellite tagged bird, were inconclusive – they had been partially eaten but we don’t know whether they were predated or scavenged. Our camera footage shows that the juveniles were alive at least two days after tagging and the weather was fair. The close proximity of the three bodies doesn’t suggest predation. We therefore suspect that they succumbed to either disease or starvation and were subsequently scavenged. Happily the fourth chick in the nest did survive and fledged successfully. Some of you may also remember Hetty, a young female satellite tagged on the Isle of Man in July. Sadly she died about a month later and her body was found by our Investigations Team, 2km from her nest site. Again, post mortem results were inconclusive but she likely died of natural causes. Young harriers do find it hard to survive and we know the added threat of illegal persecution makes reaching adulthood even harder. This is why satellite tagging birds is necessary, so that we are able to retrieve bodies and send them for testing to work out the cause of death. Sat tags also allow us to identify important areas for hen harriers when they are alive and track the birds’ movements to understand their ecology. If you agree satellite tagging is important and want to do something to help, Lush are still selling their hen harrier bath bombs over the Christmas period, proceeds of which directly fund our satellite tagging work! Pop along to your local store for some stocking fillers – or just go online:  https://www.lush.co.uk/products/bath-bombs/skydancer-far-madding-guns Wishing you a very merry Christmas and a hen harrier-filled 2016!  Ps you can listen to the RSPB’s Graham Jones on the Talking Naturally podcast about the plight of hen harriers and the RSPB’s commitment to help save the species about 34 minutes in here: https://soundcloud.com/talkingnaturally/tn-ep-016-politics-hen-harriers-and-activism    

Blog Post: Why do hen harriers skydance?

Thursday, November 19th, 2015
Watch one of nature's most awe-inspiring spectacles — the hen harrier's skydance — and learn more about their breeding behaviour in this short video. Keep your eyes peeled when visiting the British uplands in the spring and you could be lucky enough to see this for yourself! (Please visit the site to view this video)

Blog Post: Meet Holly and Chance

Friday, October 16th, 2015
Today, we are proud to introduce to you Holly and Chance, two satellite tagged hen harriers that you can now follow online! Our new ‘Meet the Hen Harriers’ feature on the LIFE Project website ( www.rspb.org.uk/henharrierlife ) has been set up to feature some of the birds that we are satellite tagging through the project. We are tracking as many hen harriers as we can in order to gain a better understanding of the threats they face and identify the places they are most at risk since numbers have declined dramatically, due to intensive moorland management for grouse shooting and illegal persecution. Satellite tagging also allows us to locate and recover dead harriers in a timely manner which will assist the police and our Investigations Team in cases where the cause of death is suspicious.   More and more individuals will be added as the project progresses, and we hope the public will get involved in their life stories. Already Holly and Chance have been displaying some fascinating migration behaviour! “Holly”, the first female harrier, had her satellite tag fitted in June this year by members of the Scottish Raptor Study Group, assisted by the Ministry of Defence (MOD) Police, and was one of three chicks from a nest located on high security MOD land at Coulport. She was named after a member of the production crew from BBC Scotland’s Landward programme, after appearing in a special feature about hen harriers and the threats these birds face from illegal killing. Holly fledged in August and has since left her nest area, moving east into the uplands by Loch Lomond and central Scotland. Holly on tagging day. Photo credit: John Simpson. “Chance” is the second female hen harrier, named by RSPB Scotland, who was tagged in June last year by members of the Scottish Raptor Study Group. Chance has provided a wonderful example of how young birds spend their first year. She travelled south from her nest in south west Scotland to the RSPB Wallasea reserve in Essex at the end of October (2014), before crossing the Channel to spend the winter months in the Pays de la Loire region of western France. Chance came back to the UK in spring this year and spent most of the summer in north east England. She has now embarked on her second migration to France, stopping in Wales en route! Chance - photographed at Wallasea last October by Trevor Oakley The maps will be updated every two weeks, showing data two weeks in arrears so that the birds’ exact locations cannot be determined for their safety. Keep tuned!

Blog Post: Hen Harrier talk at RSPB AGM

Monday, September 14th, 2015
Guest blog by Jeff Knott, Head of Nature Policy The last time I gave a talk on hen harriers at an RSPB event, it finished with me and a colleague ripping our clothes off on stage. I suppose it’s not surprising I’ve not been let anywhere near a stage since! But after what I can only presume is a collective bout of amnesia in the events team, I’ll be back talking about hen harriers at the RSPB AGM and Members’ Day on Saturday 10th October at the QEII Centre, London. You can book your place online here . While I’ll certainly be covering the ongoing plight of one of our most threatened birds of prey and the pernicious effect of illegal persecution, the talk will also be focusing on the reasons we can be positive and why I honestly believe we will save our hen harriers. I can’t tell you too much more detail right now. We’re busy preparing things at the moment and I wouldn’t want to ruin the surprise, but I can promise it will definitely be memorable – we’ve got a trick or two up our sleeves that should make it unique. I’ll again be joined by a glamorous colleague and I doubt what we have planned has ever been attempted at Members’ Day. I promise to keep my clothes on this time though. Probably. No more details for now...If you want to see what we have planned, you’ll just have to be there .

Comment on We’re hiring for hen harriers!

Wednesday, September 9th, 2015
I wish the successful applicants much success in their very important roles.

Blog Post: We’re hiring for hen harriers!

Wednesday, September 9th, 2015
The LIFE+ Project is advertising two Community Engagement Officer posts, based in northern England and Edinburgh. We are looking for two self-motivated, inspirational people with excellent communication and interpersonal skills to deliver school and college workshops and field trips, community group talks and attend community events. We want to engage with the shooting and land-owning communities communities across the seven key Special Protection Areas (SPAs) for hen harriers in northern England and southern and eastern Scotland that the project focuses on - a large geographic area! The aim of the roles is to raise awareness of the habitat, ecology and threats to the hen harrier as well as the measures to protect these amazing, but declining birds of prey.  For more information, and to apply, please visit:  https://www.rspb.org.uk/vacancies/details/406470-community-engagement-officer-2-roles

Blog Post: Sad news from the Isle of Man…

Friday, September 4th, 2015
Back in July, we blogged about Hetty, a young hen harrier on the Isle of Man, satellite tagged as part of the LIFE project with Manx Birdlife. Unfortunately we have some sad news to report. Transmissions from her tag showed our Investigations Team that she had stopped moving and so they went out to the Isle of Man this week to look for her. Sadly, as expected, she had not survived, and was found only 2km from her nest site. We cannot speculate about the cause of death at this stage, but her body had been heavily predated. Her remains have been sent for post mortem and we are anxiously waiting for the results. This case highlights the potential hardship hen harriers face trying to survive alone when newly fledged from the nest, whether that is difficulty finding food or avoiding adverse weather, predation or illegal persecution. Any hen harrier making it to adulthood to breed is a feat of endurance. Luckily in this case, we had the technology in place to allow us to find Hetty and investigate the reasons for death. We will share the results in due course. We’d like to thank Lesley Cowin who named the bird in memory of her late father Sydney Cowin who bequeathed an amount of money to the local charitable trust, the Society for the Preservation of the Manx Countryside (SPMC) which part funded the costs of the satellite tagging procedure, and we hope we can work with Manx Birdlife again next year. We’d hoped to feature Hetty’s movements on the LIFE Project website, alongside some other birds tagged this year. This has been delayed because we have been waiting for the birds to move away from the areas where their nests were. We think we should be good to go in a couple of weeks, and we look forward to sharing the travels of these fantastic birds. Watch this space...!

Blog Post: Jenn’s Big Bird Bungee Jump – update!

Thursday, August 13th, 2015
  By Jennifer Lane   Phew!! So as some of you know, this weekend I bungee jumped 300ft to raise money for hen harriers in Bowland. And… it was INCREDIBLE!   We’ve raised a wonderful £543.00 so far. Thank you so SO much to everyone who has donated to this great cause – you’ve been absolutely fantastic !   There’s still chance to visit my JustGiving page and donate: https://www.justgiving.com/Jennifer-Lane2/ And for those who want a bit of a chuckle, here’s it is: https://youtu.be/37mnNK3JZjs (listen out for the squawk…)   Thanks again everyone J ... And here are some great photos of Jenn making the jump, courtesy of Carl Lane.

Blog Post: We want to dance in the Peak District – Hen Harrier Day 2015

Tuesday, August 11th, 2015
Guest blog by Helen Byron, Area Conservation Manager I’m just back from a weekend of hen harrier events in the Peak District, which the RSPB was delighted to support.  On Saturday night, we were at the Palace Hotel in Buxton for Hen Harrier Eve: celebrating the hen harrier , an event organised by Mark Avery. A packed room of almost 300 heard readings about the Peak District, a landscape for harriers, by local duo Stone and Water; saw the RSPB Skydancer video introduced by RSPB’s Amanda Miller and strongly endorsed by the RSPB’s Chief Executive Mike Clarke who was at the weekend’s events.  There was a conversation with Turner Prize-winning artist Jeremy Deller; a presentation about birds of prey and their part in our culture from author Mark Cocker; a fantastic video mash up from young campaigner Findlay Wilde, who also announced that he had convinced Ecotricity to sponsor satellite tags for the LIFE+ Project; a video montage of the recent travels of Henry the Hen Harrier; and a passionate speech by Chris Packham.  And all this delivered from a life size model of a grouse butt made by Findlay and with an appearance by Henry the Hen Harrier! A great time was had by all! Photos: Guy Shorrock, RSPB Sunday morning saw around 500 people, old and young, and various dogs including poodles, which greatly pleased Chris Packham, congregate in the stunning Goyt Valley for Hen Harrier Day 2015 - and this year the weather was glorious!   Charlie Moores from Birders Against Wildlife Crime, the event’s organisers, hosted the event which opened with a talk from Derbyshire Wildlife Trust's CEO Jo Smith celebrating the Peak District and confirming DWT’s commitment to hen harriers, followed by a rousing speech from RSPB’s Jeff Knott, stirring words from Mark Avery and closing with an engaging speech by Chris Packham.   The passion in the crowd for the plight of the hen harrier was abundantly clear.  You can get a flavour of the speeches, the posters and bird kites that accompanied it on the BAWC YouTube channel  here . Photos: Guy Shorrock, RSPB After the rally in the Goyt there were stalls in the Buxton Pavilion gardens where people who’d been at the rally and others new to hen harrier issues could talk to BAWC, DWT, RSPB and others and enjoy family activities in the splendid sunshine. Photos: Guy Shorrock, RSPB Hen Harrier Day/weekend 2015 in the Peak District was much bigger than in 2014 - the RSPB was delighted to support it and my colleagues and I were so pleased to be part of it. Expect even more next year!!

Blog Post: Smell LUSH and save hen harriers!

Friday, August 7th, 2015
Today, the high street cosmetics store Lush has launched a hen harrier bath bomb, proceeds of which will go to the Hen Harrier LIFE+ Project to help fund our satellite tagging operation from next season! Satellite tagging allows us to learn more about their ecology and to find out where they might be at risk.  The bath bomb was named by TV presenter Chris Packham, 'Skydancer – Far From The Madding Guns'. This follow-up campaign by Lush, comes ahead of Hen Harrier Day this Sunday 9th August ( http://henharrierday.org/ ) and the start of the grouse shooting season on the Glorious Twelfth to help inform the general public of the decline in hen harrier numbers over recent years. Jeff Knott, the RSPB’s Head of Nature Policy, said: “We are delighted that Lush has come up with this imaginative way of raising awareness about hen harriers and getting their customers involved in their conservation.  Everyone who buys a bath bomb will be making a valuable contribution towards bringing this amazing bird of prey back from the brink of extinction in England." Please pop into your local Lush store this weekend and help save our hen harriers!

Blog Post: Hen Harriers need YOUR help

Wednesday, July 29th, 2015
Last week, I headed down to Bowland to meet the team involved in the LIFE project nest protection on the site. I was keen to meet them to hear their perspective on this season’s happenings. Much of the Forest of Bowland is designated as a Special protection Area as the Bowland Fells SPA (European importance), and this is primarily for its breeding Hen Harriers, with a designation of 12 breeding pairs. However, in recent years successful breeding pairs have been way below this number, with 2 pairs in 2014, and none in 2012 and 2013. Last season, two satellite tagged fledglings (Hope and Sky) also disappeared from Bowland after their tags failed to transmit . These tags are very reliable and it is high unlikely that this was due to technical difficulties, as this technology is considered very reliable. This year, five healthy adult male hen harriers went missing in England resulting in the failure of the nests they were provisioning. Four of these males where from the Bowland from the United Utilities (UU) estate: this is extremely unusual and the reasons for their disappearances are yet to be explained and police continue to appeal for information. A 2008 government-commissioned report by Natural England found that it was very unusual for male hen harriers to abandon an active nest in most places. However, it also found that nearly 7 out of 10 of the nesting attempts which failed on grouse moors, did so following the disappearance of an adult. Although this year’s nests were being watched 24/7 by our team of dedicated volunteers, it is nigh on impossible to follow and protect males who travel far and wide to hunt from the nest, leaving the female to care for and protect the eggs/chicks at the nest site. It’s sad to think that the loss of the 4 males at Bowland this year has resulted in the loss of so many potential hen harriers, indeed the team at Bowland were devastated by these disappearances, as were UU. I really feel the urgency now to raise awareness of the plight of the hen harrier. Luckily, through the LIFE Project we are able to satellite tag and track birds, giving them protection away from their nest sites, which should help provide evidence if any tagged birds go missing. Others feel the same! RSPB staff member Jenn Lane is bravely undertaking a bungee jump  on the 8 th August to help raise the profile of hen harriers. Please donate to her cause here: https://www.justgiving.com/Jennifer-Lane2/ . Funds raised will go towards the RSPB’s work on hen harriers High street cosmetics chain Lush is also getting involved. They campaigned in stores last year – and this year wants to follow it up in stores in the week of the Glorious Twelfth. Pop into your local store to find out more! Finally you can also do something too! Hen Harrier Day is on Sunday 9 th August and events are taking place across the UK, with the main event at the Goyt Valley in the Peak District. The more people we can get to come out to these events the better so we can gain more media coverage so people will take notice. Find out about your local event here: http://henharrierday.org/ See you there!

Blog Post: First hen harriers tagged as part of the LIFE+ project

Thursday, July 23rd, 2015
  Bea Ayling (Hen Harrier LIFE+ Project Manager) In June and July, a number of hen harrier chicks across England and Scotland were satellite tagged as part of the RSPB’s new Hen Harrier LIFE+ Project. The project seeks to better understand the movements of these magnificent birds to help identify areas where they are most at risk.. This need became particularly pertinent in the 2015 breeding season when 5 nests failed in northern England due to the well-publicised, unexplained disappearances of the healthy male adult birds. As the new Project Manager (covering for Blánaid while she is off enjoying her own brood), I am on tenterhooks to see how the 2015 breeding season pans out having started the role smack bang in the middle. I am particularly excited about being able to track our birds online!  A couple of the project’s satellite tagged birds will be made public here: http://www.rspb.org.uk/henharrierlife/ . The latest tag went on a female chick on the Isle of Man, named Hetty. It’ll be fascinating to see where she disperses to for the winter as hen harriers are known to range far and wide. Maybe she will encounter some of our other tagged birds across the sea in England and Scotland! Maps of her movements should be available on the website in the next few weeks. Hetty and her brother prior to ringing and tagging. Photo credit: John Hellowell I really hope that allowing the public to follow our tagged birds’ helps raise awareness and understanding of hen harriers, encouraging recognition that hen harriers are an intrinsic part of the UK’s uplands, and that we’re all responsible for their protection.  

Blog Post: Jenn’s Big Bird Bungee Jump

Thursday, July 16th, 2015
On Saturday 8 August, RSPB staff member Jenn Lane is doing a bungee jump to raise money for hen harriers in Bowland. Here she explains why. Ever since I heard about the plight of the hen harrier, I’ve been keen to do my bit. My day job for the RSPB is working as an administrator in our Lancaster office, however, every year we get the chance to volunteer for a day elsewhere in the organisation. In June I used this opportunity to take part in a hen harrier nest watch in Bowland. Following the disappearances of four males from active nests, I was protecting the last remaining one in the area.  Seeing the pair hunt against the hillside was a moving experience and I realised the full extent of what these birds are up against.  I decided I really wanted to raise the profile of this wonderful bird and what better way to do it than jumping 300ft through the air.   Jenn Lane The RSPB is doing all it can to help the hen harrier breed successfully and thrive once again in the face of so many obstacles. Please donate to my JustGiving page today and help save hen harriers from the brink of extinction. https://www.justgiving.com/Jennifer-Lane2/

Comment on Wanted: Your thoughts on our new Skydancer film

Thursday, May 28th, 2015
Anything that draws attention to the plight of these fantastic birds,along with other raptors,must be welcomed with open arms.Our local club's recording area covers a large part of the "Yorkshire black hole for raptors" and we worry every time we get a report of Hen Harriers seen in the area.Not sure what the solution is but our members do keep our eyes and ears open when out on the local moors.

Blog Post: Wanted: Your thoughts on our new Skydancer film

Tuesday, May 5th, 2015
If you haven’t already seen our new Skydancer film, please a spare 10 minutes and watch it here . Made by Northumberland-based Haltwhistle Film Project , we hope it offers an engaging and inspiring introduction to hen harriers and the challenges they face. Filmed in Yorkshire, Lancashire, Cumbria and Derbyshire, the work features interviews from all sides of the hen harrier debate, as well as animations and scenes from last year’s Hen Harrier Day. We would really like to know what you think of the film. Love it or hate it, please email your thoughts to julie.chrisp@rspb.org.uk .  We are going to evaluate the whole Skydancer project later this year and your views will feed into our final report.