Wednesday, 21 August 2013

Oh Please....Not The Hen Harrier Again!

A recent history about the Hen Harrier in the North of England. 

Hen Harrier. Gordon Langsbury.

As a breeding bird in the North of England the Hen Harrier (HH) is now extinct, not any easy claim to make if only because a report I read recently claimed 7 nests were started in 2011 out of which only four were successful and 12 young were fledged. Further reading of the history books would find you seeing reports of....'several pairs that breed - or attempt to breed - on the Bowland Fells each year, but few successfully rear young'.

Up to the 18th century the HH was a regular breeder on the Lancashire Moors, but grouse shooting became a popular sport by the middle of the 19th century, the result of which a heavy persecution campaign was launched on these moors to rid the areas of 'things' that got in the way of what was to become - and is today - a lucrative business, and the HH being a ground nesting bird - fearless in defence of their nests and young - were easily destroyed.

Just into the 20th century the HH had become almost extinct in England, Wales, and mainland Scotland, but continued to breed in the Orkneys and Outer Hebrides. It is thought probable that the HH re-colonised Scotland during the war of 1939-45 when heather moors were less intensely keepered. The first evidence of the return of the HH to Bowland was of a nest discovered with young in 1969....the first one in 107 years.

Tragic then isn't it that, in spite of the Wildlife and Countryside act of 1981 - in the case of the HH an act seen by some as no more than a huge joke - which is supposed to protect the wildlife it was introduced for, the HH has been brought to extinction in Bowland and the North of England 44 years after the discovery of their return here in 1969.

Oh Please....Not The Hen Harrier Again!....Why not!

The M and S Issue gathers pace, quote....'I'm afraid I am unable to give you specific details about our suppliers as this is commercially sensitive information'....unquote. 



Ana Mínguez Corella said...

Hello friend Peter .. we need to preserve wildlife and nature .. Regards ..

Christian said...

I bet you'd sooner be birding, Pete! All the best with the on-going communication with M&S.

Pete Woodruff said...

Ana/Christian....Always good to hear from you, and also good to see your interest in the Hen Harrier story'.