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Get the latest news on our hen harrier conservation work, including the five-year Hen Harrier Life+ project.
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  • Blog Post: Introducing Cathleen

    Our new(ish) Hen Harrier LIFE Project Manager Dr Cathleen Thomas reflects on her first few months in the role. Avid followers may have noticed that we’ve been a bit quiet on the blogging front lately. Some of you will know that Blánaid Denman left the Hen Harrier LIFE project in August...
  • Blog Post: Hen harrier breeding numbers in England 2017

    It’s the question to which everyone wants the answer – how many hen harriers bred in England this year? Answer: three successful nests, from a total of seven attempts, producing 10 fledged young. Today, the Northumberland Hen Harrier Protection Partnership* have announced that five...
  • Blog Post: Competition: Help us name our hen harriers!

    You may remember last month I blogged about our 2016 Perthshire female, DeeCee and her fantastic brood of five healthy chicks (see here ). Well, I’m now delighted to share that all five have fledged successfully from land owned and managed by Forestry Commission Scotland in Argyll – two of...
  • Blog Post: Exciting times: Hen harriers the next generation

    We've received more brilliant news this week - in her first ever breeding attempt, our Northumberland female, Finn, is successfully rearing one chick at her nest in Southwest Scotland! The discovery was made by specially trained and licensed staff following up on Finn's welfare. Finn's...
  • Blog Post: Guest Blog: Stunning hen harrier chase on Isle of Man

    Peter Christian is a birdwatcher and photographer with a keen eye for detail. Here, he describes how he was lucky enough to capture an incredible photographic series of a hen harrier in pursuit of a meadow pipit, providing a rarely glimpsed view into lives of these extraordinary birds. All photographs...
  • Blog Post: Happy hen harrier family

    Great news for a Friday - a recent routine check of DeeCee's nest in Argyll, carried out by RSPB staff under full appropriate licences, has revealed a healthy brood of five chicks! Hen harrier DeeCee's healthy brood of five chicks. Can you spot the tiny youngest in the middle? You'll...
  • Blog Post: Hen harrier Class of 2016: an update

    As I sit at my desk with every window in the office open and the sun beating through the glass, it feels as though the year has abandoned any thought of Spring and skipped straight to Summer. Long may it last! It’s also a reminder (as if I needed one) that we are rapidly approaching the thick of...
  • Blog Post: Another shot hen harrier... how many more?

    This is not the news I wanted to wake up to. Just weeks after the Crown Office discontinued a high-profile case against a former gamekeeper for the alleged illegal killing of a hen harrier despite clear video evidence, another hen harrier shooting has come to light. Police Scotland issued an appeal this...
  • Blog Post: Alleged hen harrier shooting case dropped

    In case you missed it, RSPB have just published film footage of a former gamekeeper allegedly shooting a hen harrier on Cabrach Estate, Morayshire, in June 2013, retrieving the body, and cleaning up the feathers after himself. After almost four years of waiting, court proceedings were dropped two weeks...
  • Blog Post: A new season & hopes for the class of 2017

    It’s that time of year... hope and trepidation playing on my mind in equal measure. The breeding season just beginning, and with it, all the excitement and uncertainty of what lies ahead for our hen harriers. Often it feels as though little has changed from year to year, but our recent adventures...
  • Blog Post: From a bird found, to a bird lost

    As far as positive starts to the New Year go; the news of the possible rediscovery of our missing 2014 female, Highlander, was a pretty fantastic way to kick off 2017. This was shortly followed by a phone call from a farmer in Cumbria who was only too delighted to tell me about the hen harriers roosting...
  • Blog Post: Highlander lives?

    It’s a rare delight in the world of hen harriers to be able to start the New Year with some good news, but I am utterly astonished and elated to report that Highlander, a female hen harrier which fledged from United Utilities estate in the Forest of Bowland in 2014, and who suddenly and unexpectedly...
  • Blog Post: Hen harriers on the move and another bird lost

    As the cold weather sets in and Christmas approaches, it’s clear that winter is truly upon us. My thoughts at this time of year, as ever, turn to our young harriers out on the hills. Over the last two months, the number of hen harrier sightings at roosts and hunting grounds in southern and coastal...
  • Blog Post: Remarkable hen harrier journeys revealed by satellite tagging

    The recent recovery of Rowan, a Langholm hen harrier tagged by the Hawk & Owl Trust and Natural England, who appears to have been illegally shot in Cumbria, highlights the vital role that satellite tagging has to play in the conservation of this threatened species. These tiny devices, barely 2...
  • Blog Post: Guest Blog: Rowan - a personal reflection

    Guy Shorrock is currently the longest standing member of RSPB's Investigations Team. Following the apparent shooting of satellite-tagged hen harrier, Rowan, here he reflects back on his 25 year career in the fight against raptor persecution. On Monday Cumbria Constabulary released the news that...
  • Blog Post: Follow that bird! Hen harrier satellite maps go live

    I'm delighted to announce the launch of our hen harrier satellite tracking maps on the Hen Harrier LIFE Project website: www.rspb.org.uk/henharrierlife . Already the stories are fascinating – just look at where Donald has gone... Please make sure to log on with Internet Explorer as...
  • Blog Post: Second 2016 hen harrier goes missing

    I’m sorry to have to report that we have lost another of this year’s satellite tagged hen harrier chicks. Brian, named after the very experienced raptor worker Brian Etheridge, was one of our non-public-facing birds. With the permission of the landowner and help of local Scottish Raptor...
  • Blog Post: Guest blog: Satellite tracking and mortality in Montagu's harriers

    Raymond Klaassen is one of the lead researchers at the Dutch Montagu's Harrier Foundation . Here he tells us about his work using satellite tracking to study the migration and mortality of Montagu's harriers on the continent. This nomadic species is a close relative of the hen harrier and...
  • Blog Post: Guest blog: A view from the hills

    David Hunt is one of two Assistant Investigations Officers employed by RSPB's Hen Harrier LIFE Project to support the conservation and protection of this species. Here he reflects on the 2016 breeding season and shares some of his thoughts and experiences of watching over these beautiful birds. ...
  • Blog Post: Guest blog: Finn the hen harrier takes flight

    Findlay Wilde is the young conservationist and blogger behind Wilde About Birds . Finn is a young female hen harrier who, together with her three brothers, fledged from one of two nests on Forestry Commission land in Northumberland this month. Finn was satellite tagged as part of the Hen Harrier LIFE...
  • Blog Post: Introducing a Bonny wee hen harrier

    With the notable exception of Henry , few living hen harriers manage to achieve national celebrity status. But at barely six weeks old, our young male, Bonny, is already well used to the public eye, after the fitting of his satellite tag by trained and licensed RSPB staff was filmed and featured on the...
  • Blog Post: Guest Blog: Aalin, the sat-tagged Manx Hen Harrier takes to the air

    Neil Morris is the Managing Director of Manx BirdLife. Here he shares his thoughts and hopes for Aalin, the second hen harrier to be satellite tagged on the Isle of Man as part of a partnership between Manx BirdLife and RSPB's Hen Harrier LIFE Project. I’m a complete convert to Manx culture...
  • Blog Post: Elwood Blues: First tagged hen harrier of 2016 goes missing

    Ian Thomson is RSPB Scotland's Head of Investigations, whose team help to monitor the data from our satellite tagged hen harriers. Here he shares some upsetting news. We knew it would happen sooner or later, I just hoped that for once it might be later... It’s very disappointing to have...
  • Blog Post: A thought for this year's hen harrier chicks

    With only a few days to go until the third annual Hen Harrier Day, my thoughts are inevitably with this year’s newly fledged chicks and the challenges facing them as they stretch their wings and take to the air for the first time over the previous and coming weeks. Despite RSPB’s recent...
  • Blog Post: The hen harrier rollercoaster continues...

    It's a turbulent and uncertain time for nature conservation (and everything else) in the wake of last week's EU referendum result. The hen harrier is just one of the schedule 1 species currently afforded protection under the European Birds Directive. What will replace this and other vital pieces...