A large bit of heather moorland in the north of England? Must be lots of ringtails up here thought Henry! I told him that it might be a bit of a struggle to find any girlfriends up here but he was adamant.
North Yorkshire (includes North York Moors National Park & Yorkshire Dales NP) is the worst county in England for recorded incidents of bird of prey persecution.
Between 2004-2013 there were 70 confirmed raptor persecution incidents (2014 data not yet published).
These 70 incidents included:
- At least 26 confirmed incidents involving the illegal use of pesticides – these include the illegal poisoning of 14 Red Kites, six Buzzards, one Goshawk, one Peregrine plus the finding of a number of poisoned baits; several domestic pets were also poisoned.
- The confirmed shooting of 25 birds of prey – consisting of 10 buzzards, three red kites, three kestrels, two goshawks, two peregrines plus singles of hen harrier, sparrowhawk, short-eared owl and eagle owl.
- The illegal trapping of seven birds of prey plus another 11 illegally set traps for raptors.
In connection with these incidents six individuals, all gamekeepers, were prosecuted.
Hen Harrier last bred successfully in North Yorkshire in 2007, despite huge areas of suitable habitat.
A Natural England study between 2002 and 2008 showed that of 11 Hen Harrier breeding attempts recorded in North Yorkshire, only five sites reared any young and most of the sites that failed were believed to be due to human persecution.
So, I think Henry will be struggling to find a girlfriend here. But let’s see how he gets on.