The media coverage of the Hen Harrier today

As predicted in my morning blog, the plight of the Hen Harrier has been given plenty of publicity in the coverage of the results of the national bird vote (won by the Robin).  These are two examples that were easy to find – there will be others, no doubt.

The Guardian quotes David Lindo and myself on the subject with me saying ‘Three cheers for the robin – a lively bird and always the strong favourite to win this popular vote. But let’s hear it for Britain’s most-persecuted bird, the hen harrier.’ and then asking ‘When will Defra act to end the illegal persecution of the nation’s ninth favourite bird?‘.

The Independent pictures all ten bird finalists (online at least) and has the caption for the Hen Harrier just right ‘Hen Harrier: most-persecuted bird in the UK because of their taste for grouse‘.

Roll on Hen Harrier Day!


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6 Replies to “The media coverage of the Hen Harrier today”

  1. Mark, once again this year the North West Raptor Protection Group will be hosting their second Hen Harrier Protest on the village green at Dunsop Bridge at the heart of the Forest of Bowland. The event will commence at 10 am and will be followed after lunch at approximately 1.30 pm by a memorial walk along the Dunsop Valley where we will visit one of the abandoned hen harrier territories so tragically lost this year. The walk will take 2-3 hours and we would like as many people to join us to make a statement that we will not tolerate the killing of our hen harriers by anyone.

    Full details of our event can be found at the attached link, we have attached an e-mail for anyone who may wish to contact us with any questions, thank you.

  2. Mark in all honesty, I doubt the weather this year could get any worst than last year, I sincerely hope not?

    I have just returned from leading a birding trip to the Czech Republic, this years visit was perhaps the best ever experienced in the last twenty five years. Not only for the numbers and wide variety of raptors seen, but also the diversity and number of songbirds seen and heard everywhere we travelled between southern Bohemia and eastern Moravia. Raptors and songbirds coexisting everywhere, seemingly without any of the issues we hear about from songbird survival here in Britain.

    My most important observation was the fact that Marsh Harriers are commonplace throughout the Republic and do not suffer from the persecution handed down to our own Hen Harriers on Red Grouse moorlands. At most of the fishponds we visited I was not surprised to discover two or ever three resident breeding pairs of Marsh Harriers, each nest separated by just a few hundred metres. The only difference in habitat classification was the fact that in the Czech Republic the areas visited had no heather, no Red Grouse and most importantly no gamekeepers. Its rather ignorant for anyone to claim raptors in England are adversely damaging our songbird populations, when the raptors we do have are small in number in comparison to those in the Czech Republic where songbirds continue to thrive, despite the overwhelming numbers of raptors.

    1. As a regular visitor to Czech Rep I can only agree the healthy populations of all birds there just illustrate starkly what we have lost. It's not just harriers either, half our avifauna in the UK is clearly in utterly dire straits. Where are all the House Martins?


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