September, 2011


Get the latest news on our hen harrier conservation work, including the five-year Hen Harrier Life+ project.

Skydancer - the UK's hen harriers

Follow the efforts of RSPB staff during the breeding season, as they attempt to monitor and protect one of England's rarest breeding birds of prey - the hen harrier.
  • When they decide to go they go!

    Well as predicted, our juvenile male harrier has finally become curious about the world outside Bowland and spread his wings!

    Last week, after a brief foray to the west as far as the M6, he passed back over Bowland and then headed directly east, (straight over my house by the looks of things) and out into the north sea! Presumably he wasn’t quite ready for the challenge of crossing the 300+ miles of open water to get to Denmark and after about 40km he turned tail and headed back to the dry land of east Yorkshire.

    If you want to know what he decides to do next, keep checking back, you never know he might well make the crossing yet!  

  • Where are they now?

    So here is what I hope will be the first of many updates I’ll be able to provide you with on the progress of some of our juvenile harriers from this year – details kindly passed to me by Stephen Murphy, Natural England’s Hen harrier Recovery Project Officer.

    One of our females has decided to head north east from Bowland and is currently ranging around a series of grouse moors near Kettlewell in the Yorkshire Dales. According to Stephen, this is quite a common pattern of behaviour for Bowland born females. Fingers crossed she’ll stay safe, as unfortunately the Yorkshire Dales are not known for their bird of prey populations.

    Our male on the other hand has stayed put! He seems pretty happy making the most of the still plentiful numbers of voles and passerines that are still populating the Bowland fells.  Males very rarely stay faithful to their natal areas but it looks like as food availability is still so good, he’s a bit reluctant to chance his luck elsewhere! I would imagine though that next time I blog about his whereabouts he will no longer be with us as by early September the males have usually headed off, often in a southerly direction.

    So if you have the chance to take a walk in Bowland over the next week or so you may still have the fortune of spotting a harrier, if you do, don’t forget to let us know via the hotline - or indeed if you spot one further afield!