Isle of Man Hen Harriers

Yesterday we learned that the UK Hen Harrier population in 2016 was lower than in the previous two comparable surveys (2004 and 2010) but slightly higher than in 1998 and 1988/89.

In the Isle of Man, a self-governing Crown Dependency (which is not a part of the UK, nor subject to the Common Agricultural Policy by the way), the comparable figures are as follows (number of territorial pairs):

Isle of Man Hen Harriers

Isle of Man4449572930


The Isle of Man is different – a small area with relatively high densities of Hen Harriers (despite recent declines (which themselves followed earlier increases). the prey base and predator complement are very different from most areas of the UK.  There are no Foxes, Badgers, Otters or voles on the Isle of Man, but there are Stoats, Rabbits, Brown Hares and Mountain Hares (see here and here).  We know that some Hen Harriers reared on the Isle of Man visit the UK (see here).

I’d welcome comments on the situation there, or even, if anyone is up for it, a guest blog on the subject.

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7 Replies to “Isle of Man Hen Harriers”

  1. Mark, you need to make contact with Chris Sharpe ( Manx Bird Atlas ) who is a "native" of the IOM and, I'm sure can give you chapter and verse on many aspects. The RSPB had an advisory role with the IOM Govt. prior to 1999 ( when I took early retirement ) much of which was setting in motion suitable policies supporting wildlife. We did support a couple of Hen Harrier surveys too as, even then, there was concern about what might be happening to that population. I believe the large winter roost which used to occur is a thing of the past.

    There was a couple of small groups of shooters who managed areas of moorland for grouse, and had occasional walk up shoots, but there was a high level of liaison and I can't remember over the decade I had a connection with the IOM of any persecution incidents. Again, Chris Sharpe would provide much better information.

    One of the obvious concerns was that IOM birds came to the UK mainland in winter and were open to the vagaries of persecution which has so successfully decimated our own population. Unfortunately I haven't any productivity figures to hand ( but we're talking previous to 17 years ago !! ). Hope this helps.

  2. The other anomaly with IOM Hen Harriers is that there were higher than normal satellite tag losses in the last published records. Perhaps there is someone (or some people) who likes killing Hen Harriers for fun.

  3. Hello Mark, It is very nice of you to aknowledge the Isle of Man. Can I just point out that Anand Prasad's comment is 100% out of order. There are no if's or but's, the Manx HH population fluctuations have nothing to do with HH killing fun on the land that I manage. Anand, if you have any info please do contact the Manx Police or indeed myself.

  4. Whole-heartedly, I agree with Shaun's comments.

    Anand Prassad is wholly misinformed or being deliberately misleading.

    The Isle of Man's excellent density and population of Hen Harriers is a credit to Shaun and his government colleagues including Louise Samson and Richard Selman. While I am still learning what makes things tick on the island, it is clear that the community and landowners have a healthy respect for the Harriers and deserve credit too. While limited shoots do take place here, these are responsibly managed.

    We hope to tag a couple more young Harriers next week in order to learn more about the movements of 'Manx' Harriers. RSPB, IOM DEFA, IOMSPMCE and Tesco have all contributed. Manx BirdLife (the organisation founded by Chris 'Focus' Sharpe, to whom John Armitage rightly refers) is also involved.

    Thank you Mark for highlighting the Isle of Man. It is salutary to note that if the brood management parameters proposed for England were to be enacted on the island, then we would be left with just three pairs (a 90% reduction on the current population)! Which is why brood management is a solution to the wrong question.

  5. How about a guest blog as mark suggested ? I'd love to know more about your HH and what you are doing to help them. Numbers may have gone down, but IOM still looks pretty good compared to England ! (which is a tiny bit bigger)


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