Highlander lives – probably.

The disappearance of Hen Harrier ‘Highlander’ off the airwaves may be due to tag failure, though this isn’t yet certain, but a tagged adult female answering to the description of Highlander (brown with a white rump but with an aerial that kinks left) has been spotted in some of her earlier haunts.

Good news!

I was interested to read this on the RSPB Skydancer blog:

Satellite tags of this type are designed to last for up to 5 years (though sadly, hen harriers rarely seem to live that long). Highlander’s tag was two years old and is the only confirmed failure out of 23 RSPB-monitored hen harrier satellite tags deployed in the last 3 years (ie a 4% failure rate). Researchers at the Dutch Montagu’s Harrier Foundation have previously recorded a 6% technical failure rate (out of 67 birds tagged) using exactly the same make and model of satellite tag, with all failures occurring on tags older than at least one year. This puts the failure of this bird’s tag well within the realms of expected normality, so I suppose we shouldn’t be surprised that something like this would happen sooner or later.




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11 Replies to “Highlander lives – probably.”

        1. A Fox - now why on earth would I need to do that just because a Hen Harrier thought to be lost may, perhaps, have been found. You must have better things to do than post such nonsense.

        2. If there was ever any actual need to issue an apology to the whole grouse industry (my that sounds very natural).... we would need to know who they are....
          .....whenever we try and find out, they seem to be a very shadowy group who hide behind tax loop holes and hire loud mouthed apologists to act for them at arms length.

          Where do you fit in?

  1. Well, it was pointed out to you when you first made these allegations. That, there is a strong possibility that the tags on these birds could just be failing?

    Which to me seems like the case. You were far to quick to jump to conclusions and blame the entire grouse shooting industry. Before actually acquiring hard evidence.

    So yes. An apology would be fitting.

    1. A Fox - so you don't have anything better to do? What 'allegations'? Are you telling the world that Hen Harriers don't die on grouse moors? And by 'die' yes I do mean 'are deliberately killed'?

    2. An apology would not be fitting at all, based on other species carrying the same tag they have an over 94% reliability, so we can expect the same tag on Hen harriers to have that sort of reliability. When you consider the extraordinarily high disappearance rate of young, tagged hen harriers (78.7% as of 2014) and the absence of breeding hen harriers on almost every driven grouse moor in the country, their preferred habitat in England that strongly suggests that almost all of those disappearances are unnatural, persecution is the ONLY logical explanation all other causes of death would leave some evidence. Oh and remember Bowland Betty or are you one of those delusional folk who argue she wasn't shot and several others have also since been found shot.
      Driven grouse shooting if it is to survive at all in the long or medium term is not helped by apologists for criminals, one of which you appear to be. The best policy would be for the honest few in the industry to stand up against the criminals and get them either " shopped" or to clean up their act. Otherwise talking with you is a waste of energy and time.

  2. On an FB page, owned by a very well known Scottish Gamekeeper, there are complaints about 'bird botherers' killing birds by sat' tagging them. The fact that the GWCT, who are spoken of very highly on the same page, are looking for public donations (scrounging cash, as they'd put it, if it were the RSPB) to sat' tag woodcock has been conveniently ignored.

    1. al99 - and haven't GWCT been involved in the Langholm project involving satellite tegging hen Harriers? Surely can't have any worries then.

  3. A Fox. Perhaps if the perpetrators of such crimes were caught, an apology from them might be in order?

    ....and nobody has accused 'the entire grouse shooting industry' of such a thing, either. You often demand 'facts' so perhaps you could get your own facts in order first?


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