Comment on A natural death on Mull

Keith – thanks for your message. Several birds of prey, fitted with satellite-transmitters, that have died, have been located in recent years. For example, I’m sure you will be aware of “Alma” & “Fearnan”, golden eagles both found poisoned on grouse moors in Angus, and “Annie”, a hen harrier found shot in SW Scotland. We have also recovered a number of birds that have died of natural causes – through predation or starvation, as well as transmitters that have become detached, as designed, from their hosts. It's also interesting to note that in the wader study you link to, despite three of the tagged chicks being predated, all three tags were recovered. As you may have seen in our recent guest blog by the Dutch Montagu’s harrier project, the transmitters are highly reliable, and numerous recent studies, notably one on Black Kites in Spain, have demonstrated that, if fitted correctly, such transmitters do not adversely impact on the birds survival, breeding performance or behaviour. With regards to your specific request to publish photos of Hermione, while we will of course notify the public through this blog if anything happens to one of our tagged birds (they are after all, public-facing already and one of the aims of the Hen Harrier LIFE Project is to tell their stories), we feel that while the Scottish Government review of satellite-tagged raptors is ongoing, it would be inappropriate to comment more widely on specific cases. We will be contributing comprehensive information regarding all of our dead or missing birds, including Hermione, to this review and await their findings with interest.