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Reports emerging of multiple hen harrier nests failing due to predation across unmanaged uplands

(© shutterstock)

Reports are emerging that multiple hen harrier nests have failed this year on moorland not managed for driven grouse shooting due to predation.

In Northumberland, on an area of land owned by the Forestry Commission and monitored by Natural England, there are whispers of a goshawk attack on a hen harrier nest.

Although nothing has been officially announced yet by Natural England it has been suggested that a Natural England nest camera has filmed the attack on the nest which contained five chicks in it. Freedom of Information requests are being made to Natural England to release their nest camera footage.

In the meantime, here is a separate incident of a goshawk attack on another nest. Without this video footage I think we can all guess who the likes of Ruth Tingay, Mark Avery and Chris Packham would have laid the blame with.

In a separate development there are suggestions also emerging that two hen harrier nests in Scotland have been predated by a pine marten, leading to both parent hen harriers leaving the area.

No doubt Ruth Tingay would have likely tried to have presented these latest incidents of hen harrier failures as ‘persecution incidents‘ of the adult birds by gamekeepers however their satellite tags have revealed, far from being persecuted, they have flown 200 miles south, simply reinforcing just how skittish these birds can be when disturbed.

These unfortunate developments follows the news last year that nine hen harriers, including seven chicks, were predated on one RSPB monitored reserve in the Forest of Bowland.

By contrast, this week a separate Natural England raptor worker highlighted a hen harrier nest on moorland used for driven grouse shooting which was thriving with three chicks now 35 days.

It is no coincidence that year after year the statistics show that hen harriers are doing far better on land managed for driven grouse shooting than that left unmanaged.

As DEFRA announced last year, there was a 100% increase in the numbers of hen harriers in Britain with moorland estates in the north of England used for grouse shooting being responsible for much of this increase.

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