January, 2012


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.
  • In search of Sky Dancers

    Suffering from the winter blues? These dark, wet, blustery days getting you down? Why not cheer yourself up by looking forward to the warm, balmy days of spring and summer (well we have to be optimistic!) and get yourself signed up for some of the exciting events lined up as part of Festival Bowland, organised by the Forest of Bowland AONB.

    Especially look out for In search of Sky Dancers, a series of guided walks on the United Utilities estate run by the RSPB and United Utilities*. You’ll get to see and learn about some of the fabulous species that occupy our amazing upland habitats as well as learn all about the management of the estate, you may also be lucky enough to catch a glimpse of a spectacular skydancing hen harrier!

    © Amy Challis, RSPB 2008.

    We'll look forward to seeing you!

    * With support from the Heritage Lottery Fund.


  • Happy new year

    So what fortunes will this new year bring for the English Hen harriers? The first harriers will be starting to return to the uplands to establish territories in less than 8 weeks now. I am keeping everything crossed that they have a good year here in the Forest of Bowland, the stronghold for breeding attempts in England, but wouldn’t it be fantastic if there were successful nests elsewhere in our uplands this year too?

    I am very sad to have to report in my first blog of 2012 that out young male harrier, Martin, has not transmitted any signal since November and is presumed to have died.  Despite fieldworkers being out looking for him in the areas of his last transmissions in Brittany, northern France, no trace has been found so the cause of disappearance is unknown. On a much more positive note, our Bowland female has survived the gales and generally very miserable weather in the Yorkshire Dales over the Christmas period and is still giving good signals. On a couple of recent walks in the dales, I’ve seen lots of evidence of voles so hopefully she has been feeding well and with any luck we’ll see her cross the A65 and return to Bowland in search of a mate in a few weeks time ... not long to wait now!