Hen harrier numbers edge closer to Favourable Conservation Status levels
Last week we revealed that Hen Harriers had enjoyed a record breaking breeding year, with 60 chicks from 19 nests. The RSPB also revealed a further five nests.
The GWCT have today published a blog reinforcing this success particularly when considered against English hen harrier Favourable Conservation Status being 61 pairs.
The latest news will no doubt be inconvenient for people like Mark Avery, the RSPB's Martin Harper and the BBC's celebrity presenter, Chris Packham, who regularly portray the plight of the hen harrier in the worst possible terms in order to further their crusade against driven grouse shooting.
In reality, the opposite is true and the recent success of hen harrier breeding is largely down to the huge efforts and investment of many of those working across our moorland communities.
The GWCT's blog, authored by Director of Communications, Andrew Gilruth, can be read here:
"Hen harriers in England have just had another record-breaking year: 60 chicks from 19 nests says Natural England, and the RSPB is reporting a further five nests. The significance of this remarkable achievement is illustrated by the fact that English hen harrier Favourable Conservation Status (FCS) is 61 pairs.
Historic fluctuations in hen harrier numbers are attributed to a range of factors, from vole numbers to illegal killing and our summer weather, but the recent increase is also the result of a real conservation effort.
It’s only eight years since we had just one hen harrier nest, prompting the RSPB to acknowledge that the legal protection of nests alone was not working and insisting Defra produce a recovery plan of its own.
The plan was swiftly produced and contained six elements, one of which was to trial rearing hen harrier chicks in captivity, before releasing them back into the wild.
It was hoped this would improve their conservation status by providing practical ways that grouse moors could integrate raptors.
You can read more about how brood management works here, but it appears we are beginning to see a real boost in the number of chicks being fledged."
To find out more about the GWCT or to donate please see: www.gwct.org.uk