I worry about them…

Photo: Jenny Weston

This is Brian – Brian is another Hen Harrier who has gone missing in his first few months of life when travelling around the driven grouse moors of one of our National Parks.  You can read about it here and here.

I’m a bit worried about some other Hen Harriers. First we have Finn…


…no, not that Finn…

This Finn!


Now Finn the Hen Harrier and Finn the young man are pretty easy to tell apart: one writes a blog, rings birds and is an environmental campaigner whilst the other flies over bogs, is ringed and satellite-tagged and needs us to campaign for it. Oh yes, and the ginger one is male (obvs) whereas the feathery one is female (maybe not so obvs yet).

Ginger Finn is a friend of mine and I wish him well, but I’ve never met feathery Finn but I wish her well too. I don’t want to come across headlines saying ‘Finn shot on grouse moor’ – not for either of them.

Now I know that Finn is happy for Finn to be called Finn (you work it out) but with all these short-lived Hen Harriers (Annie, Lad, Bowland Betty, Elwood, etc) I can imagine that there is a certain amount of sensitivity about naming Hen Harriers after people.  Maybe we need some erudite body such as the BOU to do the same job that the British Horseracing Authority do for horse names (see here – it’s quite interesting).

Maybe, just maybe, Chris Packham had someone in mind when he named  the ‘LUSH’ Hen Harrier Bonnie – it’s quite a nice name, and quite close to the name of Chris’s great supporter the gun-toting, Woodcock and Snipe shooting boss of the Countryside Alliance Tim Bonner.


I’ll be calling ‘Bonnie’ Bonner from now on – and I wish the bird well. I hope he can dodge the guns. Will he be gunned down by one of his supporters at a winter roost? Will he simply disappear when all appeared well in some area of grouse moors?  He may well live for ever – let’s hope so.




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10 Replies to “I worry about them…”

    1. Get the 'sporting [grouse industry] fraternity' to sponsor the tags, then if anything happens to their birds ....

  1. And let's call the next females Roseanna & Nicola after the Scottish ministers who are allowing the persecution to continue unabated.

  2. Sorry, but I don't hold out much hope for Finn (the harrier), as there is nothing to stop her wandering. Some thugs think nothing of a life, and will blow her out of the sky given the chance.
    As for Bonner & Beefy they'll go the same way unless they have the sense to go north or west.....

  3. Yes name hen harrier chicks after our 'opponents' and also present Amanda, Tim, Alex (chairman of the Scottish Gamekeepers Association) with a framed photograph of the relevant chick - could make a bit of a pressw occasion out of it. I'm sure they would be touched by this gesture.

  4. I entered the competition and suggested the name of 'driven grouse shooting' - would have been interesting to see if the grouse shooting industry would have shot itself!
    It's all rather sad really, but I guess we have to joke sometimes otherwise we may be reduced to a feeling of desperation

    1. Not only sad Rob but tragic and increasingly predictable and as such, as you say, shooting themselves in the proverbial.

      This displays continuing arrogance or is it confidence that the illegal acts they engage in will in all likelihood continue to go unpunished (for various reasons)?

      If there were regular reports of Beefy / Bonner et. al. can you imagine reporting on the demise or 'disappearance' of a namesake ....

      Wonder what name the H&OT would 'sponsor' or SLE?

  5. I think we should name one Georgie and present a toy hen harrier to Prince George. Just imagine the Daily Mail trying to write a story that supports grouse shooting when a little prince's namesake is shot.


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