Hen Harrier Day 2017 – an update

The Hen Harrier Day website – maintained by Birders Against Wildlife Crime – is the place to keep in touch with Hen Harrier Day events, but here is an update.

Hen Harrier Day celebrates the beauty of this wonderful bird and highlights its threatened status which is almost entirely due to wildlife crime.  Hen Harriers are illegally killed because they eat Red Grouse (among other things) which people want to shoot for fun. There have been Hen Harrier Day rallies since 2014 when four events took place, the largest of which was held in the Peak District in torrential rain and was attended by the ‘Sodden 570’.

2017 Hen Harrier Day events will be held on 5 and 6 August in England, Scotland and Northern Ireland as follows:


Saturday 5 August:

RSPB Rainham Marshes, 11am, with Chris Packham – more details to follow

Glenarriff Forest Park – more details to follow

RSPB Loch Leven, 11am, with Henry Hen Harrier – more details to follow


Sunday 6 August:

RSPB Arne, 11am, with Chris Packham – more details to follow

Dunsop Bridge, Forest of Bowland, 1030am, with Nick Miles (of Emmerdale), Natalie Bennett (Green Party) and raptor expert Brian Etheridge – details

Boat of Garten community hall, 1pm, with myself, Alan Bantinck (Cairngorm Wildlife), Andy Wightman (Green MSP), Harry Huyton (OneKind), Ian Thomson (SOC & RSPB) and Peter Argyle (Cairngorm National Park) – details


Other events: planning is underway for other events too, including Sheffield city centre on Saturday 5 August, Mull (date not confirmed) and RSPB Saltholme on 5 August. I’ll try to provide updates as we get closer to the events but please also check the Hen Harrier Day website.



3 Replies to “Hen Harrier Day 2017 – an update”

  1. When will someone acknowledge the fact that for many ground nesting birds – including Hen Harriers, fox and badger populations are now so high that in many areas it’s virtually impossible for birds to rear young. The RSPB has fenced Minsmere scrape because it knows only too well that wader and tern productivity would be zero otherwise. Lapwings are doing well at their Malltraeth reserve on Anglesey because thousands of pounds of fencing keep their nesting fields free from foxes. The Black Winged Stilts that nested this year at Cliffe Pools were surrounded by – you guessed it – badger and fox-proof fencing and Norfolk’s only pair of Montagu’s Harriers were also fenced off once the nest was found. In Somerset, the un-fenced cranes fledged three chicks from 22 nesting attempts last year – read the GCP annual report for 2016 and the recommendations at the conclusion are all about predator control.
    Hen Harriers are also suffering – observers in Skye record heavy losses to foxes, whilst Don Scott notes in NI that red foxes “heavily depredate the nests of Hen Harriers”. NI and Wales have few grouse keepers but an awful lot of foxes and HHs are declining there as well.
    Are keepers illegally killing HHs on grouse moors? – of course they are – and they should be pursued with the full vigour of the law. But there are other factors at play and they should be acknowledged – ask the staff at The Great Bustard Project which is fast becoming the most expensive vulpine snack bar in England.
    Nothing would please me more than to see an end to persecution on the moors and an up-turn in harrier numbers, but your argument must have integrity if it is to prevail and to fail to acknowledge the influence of other factors that may be impacting on the decline will not help you to succeed.
    Last September we had a male HH over one of our wheat fields – perhaps the best bird we’ve ever had on our farm.

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