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Latest hen harrier numbers show 'complete turnaround' in population as one bird fathers 21 chicks

The latest figures for hen harriers show a 'complete turnaround' in the English population with 141 chicks fledging this year and 485 chicks successfully taking to the wing in England since 2018. That figure is nine times the number in the six-year period before the brood management trial.

This remarkable conservation success story has been credited to the gamekeepers and estate managers that work tirelessly across shooting estates in Yorkshire, Cumbria, Northumberland, Durham and Lancashire who have actively participated in the brood management trial with many estates also hosting wild nests, further boosting the population.

As was reported in the Daily Mail today, symbolic of the revivial of the species - and helping to drive it - is a male harrier which has been called Frank by researchers who has gone on to father at least 21 chicks.

Frank has regularly been spotted in the skies above Nidderdale and Coverdale in North Yorkshire in summer and around his winter roost at Swinton, where he is joined by up to 12 other hen harriers.

Hen harriers in the wild suffer high mortality rates compared to other birds, particularly in their first year of life due largely to predation from foxes, stoats, weasels, crows and gulls. Once fledged the birds are also vulnerable to severe weather, disease, attack by other birds of prey and starvation.


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