As we are currently recruiting a new Skydancer Engagement Officer, I am acting as temporary caretaker for this blog.
My name is Chris Collett and I’m the RSPB’s communications manager for Northern England. It’s is my job to get our conservation projects in the pages of our regional newspapers and magazines, and on TV and radio.
Last week, I was kept very busy with the story about the missing Bowland hen harriers, Sky and Hope. As you are probably aware, these young satellite-tagged birds, stopped transmitting last month and have vanished without a trace.
There has been a huge amount of interest in Sky and Hope from the national and regional media. Our Head of Investigations Bob Elliot was interviewed on the Today programme on Radio 4 and the story was covered on the BBC News website and in the Daily Telegraph.
Regionally, there was a report on BBC North West Tonight and several pieces on BBC Radio Lancashire, as well as many column inches in the local papers.
We also had a huge response on Twitter and Facebook, with loads of people expressing their sadness about the missing birds.
The Skydancer project is all about inspiring people about hen harriers so this level of media and public interest is heartening.
The disappearance of Sky and Hope has been devastating for the Skydancer team, particularly for the staff and volunteers who protected them around the clock on the United Utilities Bowland Estate when they were chicks. However, the fact that lots of people care enough to be upset by the news, gives us cause for optimism.
The English hen harrier remains teetering the brink of extinction as breeding bird but I believe it can and will recover. Generally, nature conservation works on the principles of democracy. If enough people call for a species to be saved, there is a much greater chance it will be.