The two successful Northumberland Hen Harrier nests

Photo: Gordon Yates. Hen Harrier on Skye

Following the nonsense in The Telegraph and the correction to the misinformation in the Guardian yesterday, it is good to see a press release from the Northumberland Hen Harrier Protection Partnership with information about the two successful nests of Hen Harriers that have nested on FC land this year.

First, note that this partnership involves the Northumbria Police, the Ministry of Defence, Northumberland National Park, Northumberland Wildlife Trust, Natural England, FC and the RSPB. That’s the type of partnership I like to see.

Two female Hen Harriers, paired with one male, hatched eight young and most of them have fledged and been satellite tagged (the press release is a little coy about numbers). Excellent!

Andrew Miller, Head of Programmes and Conservation at Northumberland National Park, and Chair of the Northumberland Hen Harrier Protection Partnership, said:

Hen harriers are one of our most threatened species and will only be helped back from the brink of extinction in England with the help of all of our upland land managers and partners. Bringing together everyone who has an interest in this magnificent bird to ensure good habitat management and to provide protection around the year is now paying off. We all look forward to a day when there are many more harriers flying free in Northumberland”.

Good for him and good for the Northumberland NP! I notice that the Northumberland NP is, so far, the only National Park to join the Hen Harrier day thunderclap – why the reticence of the others, I wonder?  Is the Northumberland NP the only National Park which is missing its hen harriers and wants them back? Surely not? Although it does seem impressively committed to protecting protected wildlife compared with the others.

And Tom Dearnley, Forestry Commission Ecologist, said:

It’s great news and we hope that this will mean many more successful years for breeding hen harriers on land the Forestry Commission manages. The fact that one male has been able to feed seven chicks and his partners highlight our habitat value to the species.”

Well done to the FC for their role in this – as well as growing trees, this is just the type of thing they are good at.  I’m glad that my taxes are being spent on land where Hen Harriers are safe to nest.

Readers of recent blogs will notice that these two successful nests (a third of the English total for 2015) were not on grouse moors, and that the Moorland Association, BASC and G(W)CT are not part of this partnership.


6 Replies to “The two successful Northumberland Hen Harrier nests”

  1. Protection from the police and the MOD! I guess even gamekeepers wouldn’t be too keen to mess with these birds.

  2. Am pretty certain I saw one of the males on a site I was surveying in June this year in Northumberland. I was surveying for spiders associated with the mires and was just packing up my survey equipment when my colleague said, “Hey look, there’s a hen harrier”; and it was! Fantastic. Incredibly, and this is no exaggeration, it was followed by two other raptors, both ospreys (!) One with a fish in its talons.

    An amazing sight and site!


    1. Couldn’t agree more Stewart, for whom is this bad news? Perhaps they should say who they are and why they think it is bad news. Surely all National Parks will now join the thunderclap to show that it isn’t them.

  3. Nice to see it can be done, well done to all for keeping the location quiet, I went to see them just before they fledged. Shame **************** didn’t protect the goshawk at ***************.

  4. Fantastic news – well done FC – and rather one in the eye for the shooters boasting about 6 HH – the shame is that this must be one of the few places there is the scale of friendly landowners needed to protect wandering birds – in contrast to Bowland.

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