Don’t get too attached to Holly and Chance

Photo: Gordon Yates
Photo: Gordon Yates

Members of the public will be able to follow the movements of two female Hen Harriers tracked via satellite tags as part of the RSPB Hen Harrier LIFE+ Project. A new website will enable us all to follow the movements of Holly and Chance as they travel around the country. For security reasons, in other words so that criminals can’t know where the birds are, the information available online will be displayed with a two-week delay.

Photo: Jude Lane, RSPB
Photo: Jude Lane, RSPB

Previous satellite-tagged female Hen Harriers to have come to a sticky end include Bowland Betty, Sky, Hope and Annie.  Readers of this blog are warned not to get too attached to Holly and Chance as they may not be with us that long. Hen Harriers move around a lot, we are learning, and the travels of Bowland Betty were very enlightening – travelling from Lancashire to Yorkshire and Scotland many times before being shot in the White Rose county.

Chance has made the wise move of going to France for the winter it seems – but who knows? – watch this space.

This blog believes that this sort of project is incredibly valuable: it’s interesting;  we may learn quite a bit about Hen Harrier biology; also the deaths and ‘disappearances’ of Hen Harriers are documented for all to see.

bathWe need lots more of this, which is why you should all go out and buy Lush Skydancer bath bombs (they make very good air fresheners for the car, I find) – sales of these bath bombs have, apparently, already raised over £75k for Hen Harrier satellite tagging studies.

No doubt, when Defra announces its long-awaited, stunningly ingenious, ground-breaking, cunning plan for Hen Harrier conservation it will be committing sizeable resources, let’s hope more than £100k per annum, to satellite tagging birds of prey (not just Hen Harriers, Might the Buzzard save the Hen Harrier?, 31 August) and no doubt those well-known lovers of the Hen Harrier, the Game and Wildlife Conservation Trust, the Moorland Association, the British Association for Shooting and Conservation and the Countryside Alliance will be matching Defra’s generous contribution having passed the hat around at various grouse shoots over the past few weeks where nothing gladdens the heart more than the sight of a hunting harrier. The Hawk and Owl Trust has already offered to fund satellite tagging (good for them) and so we can be sure that their land owner chums will flock to stump up surprisingly large amounts of dosh too.

Photo: Gordon Yates
Photo: Gordon Yates


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3 Replies to “Don’t get too attached to Holly and Chance”

  1. 2 week delay seems an awful long time; I can understand why its not real-time, but I'd anybody with a bit of knowledge of their behaviour could identify a roost site from the data and expect that after 2 weeks there is a good chance they would still be there - so why not 2 days.

    Oh... it might be because 2 weeks is the time it will take, once a tracker has identified a bird has stopped moving, for the police to retrieve the bird, get a PM conducted, collect enough evidence and get the case before the CPS.

  2. Gordon Yates photo absolutely stunning...
    ...and the Lush Skydancer Bath Bombs are a great idea; might even get the rest of the family into hen harrier conservation..!


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