October, 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.
  • Suggestions please!

    Instead of referring to our male harrier as ‘our male’, ‘Bowland male’, or ‘73852’ (his sat tag reference number), we thought it would be nice if he had a name! So I'm putting out a request to you, the readers of this blog, to help us come up with a name for him.

    If you could get your thinking caps on and email your suggestions via the ‘E-mail blog author’ link to the right of this post it would be great. I'm looking forward to hearing what you come up with already! Hopefully you'll have lots of suggestions for us to choose from so that by the next time I blog about ‘our male’ he’ll have a proper name!  


  • Il est allé en France

    What was I saying about our birds not doing anything too exciting? What a difference a day (or two) can make! The first email I read yesteday morning, as the rain and wind lashed against the office window, was from Stephen Murphy (Natural England) informing me that our Bowland male has up and left for France! His latest satellite fix from Sunday afternoon shows him in northern France about 150km west of Paris.

    What’s really interesting, is that a juvenile male from Langholm moor also headed south and arrived in France within hours of the Bowland male. The Langholm bird is a little further west, latest fix putting him close to Cherbourg.

    We are still learning so much about post fledging dispersal in harriers. Where they decide to go and why is still a mystery to us, we can only guess at their reasons. These two birds flew across the prevailing winds, had they ‘gone with the wind’ they’d be in Denmark so it was presumably a conscious decision to go south. Where will they go next? Make sure you come back and find out!

    Satelite fixes of the Bowland male (74842) and the Langholm male (58941) © Stephen Murphy, Natural England.

  • Bowland juveniles update

    So after spending a few days on the east coast of Yorkshire, our male headed back west and has been ranging around the same moorland areas in north Yorkshire as our female for the last three weeks.

    Neither have been up to anything exciting. The male has been making journeys of about 15km a day and changing roosts on a nightly basis whilst our female is sticking to just three roosts and only travelling about 8km each day.

    Importantly, both are alive and well, so let's wait and see what they get up to as the autumn progresses. 

    Thanks for reading.