Hawk and Owl Trust – don’t mention the Hen Harrier!

Rather bizarrely, the Hawk and Owl Trust does not mention the Hen Harrier in its Annual Report covering the period April 2016 – March 2017.

Surely one of the H&OT’s project was, and still is, one of satellite-tagging Hen Harriers – didn’t they satellite tag two Hen Harriers at Langholm in the summer of 2016?  Ah, yes, they did.

And wasn’t one of the H&OT’s satellite tagged Hen Harriers, by name of Rowan, recovered dead during this period and post-mortemed (Ah, yes it was – although the project website is amazingly reticent about this – how strange!)? And wasn’t Rowan shot? Ah – yes he was, although the best place, by far, to read about this story is on Raptor Persecution UK (Shot Hen Harrier Rowan – a Natural England/Hawk and Owl Trust cover up? 1, Shot Hen Harrier Rowan – a Natural England/Hawk and Owl Trust cover up? 2, Shot Hen Harrier Rowan – here’s that x-ray, Hawk and Owl Trust dig themselves into a deeper hole re shot Hen Harrier Rowan, Hen Harrier Rowan’s injuries ‘entirely consistent with being shot‘, Shot Hen Harrier Rowan; no further metallurgical tests, Hawk and Owl Trust still refusing to admit Hen Harrier Rowan was shot).

So as one of their flagship projects one might have expected the H&OT to mention all this stuff really, wouldn’t you?

The second, surviving, H&OT Hen Harrier, named Sorrel, is still, it seems, flying around – but not mentioned by H&OT  in their annual report either.

Natural England, perhaps for the first time ever, did admit the fact that Rowan was shot in their recent partial release of Hen Harrier data.

Shhhhh! – don’t mention the Hen Harriers.


If you’d like to protect the Hen Harrier than please look at this website and then sign this e-petition to ban driven grouse shooting which is gathering thousands of signatures every day.

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8 Replies to “Hawk and Owl Trust – don’t mention the Hen Harrier!”

  1. Rest assured they mention the reintroduction project when it gets off the ground - that's their tactic, bury bad news.

  2. Extraordinary. Or not, obviously, if you're a dodgy ducking and weaving charity under pressure from the actuality. You can see something about money on their accounts for the year to April 2016: http://bit.ly/2yZizeD. You have to scroll down to section 21. Given the amount shown, I'd guess they funded one tag themselves and kept the other one (improperly or otherwise) off the books.

  3. For any who haven't seen it already, there's an interview with David Cobham, recent ex-vice president of the HOT, and author of the book Bowland Beth on the NHBS website:
    He says lots of good things, although his opening line raised my eyebrows a bit, "The problem lies in some organisations wanting an outright ban on driven grouse shooting." He goes on to support a licensing scheme, and says, "If a case of illegal killing was proven in court the license for driven grouse shooting would be revoked for 3 years."
    But surely, the problem is that it is very difficult to get cases of illegal killing proven in court?
    However, he's very clear in his views on brood management, "Brood management is just one of six measures in DEFRA’s save the hen harrier project. It is a concession to the grouse moor owners... I’m quite cynical about this..."
    It's worth taking a few minutes to read the whole thing.

    1. Having just read Bowland Beth I was quite surprised at the 'criticism' of some elements of the reform campaign. I like many I'm sure would accept that all people have the right (within the legal framework) to legitimately 'protest' about an issue.

      OK, there is generally a spectrum and that should not say that the 'poles' therein have no legitimate claim. Is this not freedom of speech?

      The two 'poles' will have impact and may cause more focus, more media attention, more debate etc. bring it to a wider public audience etc. Is this not a good thing?

      I was fascinated too that Cobham's book provided more detail about the proposed Defra 'Brood Management' project than they themselves will divulge.

      So, thanks Alan Two for sharing the link.

      First they ignore, Then they laugh, Then they fight and Then #wewillwin #spreadtheword

  4. The Natural England tracking data 2002-2017 drives a coach and horses through the idea that illegal killing is the main threat to the Hen Harrier population of this country.

    The main threats evidenced by the survey are predation by foxes and other raptors.

    That is consistent with evidence from other research using CCTV footage.

    The conspiracy theory that all hen harriers listed as 'Missing. Fate unknown' must have been illegally killed is exposed as arrant nonsense in the footnotes.

    Dead hen harriers are seldom recovered because their last known location is most often many kilometres from where the bird actually dies as a consequence of the transmitter on/off duty cycle.

    Any illegal killing of any wildlife deserves the full force of the law.

    But the hysterical campaign to ban driven grouse shooting threatens the very wildlife that it purports to be trying to protect:

    'Several species of groundnesting birds including waders, red grouse and hen harriers declined following the cessation of game keepering.'



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