Some information on brood meddling

Information recently received through Environmental Information requests – some areas are still to be answered in any detail.

But this does show us the identity of the Scientific Advisory Group and formally discloses some relevant information on the brood meddling process.

Interesting, I feel, that NE don’t know how much time they have spent on this – so I wonder whether that means that staff costs are not being met by the moorland managers. If so, they are being met by us, the taxpayer, at a time when only this morning I heard the chair of Natural England say on Today that NE don’t have the money to carry out their statutory and core duties properly. So why are they spending staff time on this, arguably unlawful (for that is what I am still arguing), expensive activity?

If you are interested in the conservation of Hen Harriers, ecologically sound management of the uplands and/or rewilding then you might be interested in this e-petition:

Please sign this e-petition by Chris Packham calling for a ban of driven grouse shooting.

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6 Replies to “Some information on brood meddling”

  1. Interesting in that it confirms most of what I already knew, although it had been suggested that not all the brood meddled young had been thus tagged. It is well known now that these nests were on Swinton estate in the Nidderdale AONB, I would have argued and indeed suggested they insist on it to the AONB authorities, that birds from the AONB should be released back there, this was quite clearly not the case. The birds were released in the Yorkshire Dales NP, I suspect the estate will soon become widely known but I will respect their privacy as they willingly took the birds by all accounts, something that reportedly Swinton would not do. I know that the accepting estate would accept them nesting and perhaps any winter survivors will, although a number of adjacent and nearby estates have dreadful reputations. Although the whole scheme is an anathema to right minded conservationists the accepting estate at least deserves our commendation IMO.
    The idea that the birds could have been released anywhere in the north Pennines SPA is interesting given that it stretches from near Otley in Yorkshire into Northumberland, at which point would it have become a translocation?

  2. Is it known if the young were released onto an area managed for Grouse shooting, or not?.
    I mistakenly thought the object was to return them to the " donor" moor, where they would be welcomed, and protected,when no longer a threat to this years grouse broods.
    Also, what is the agreement if one of the rogue estates in the area,
    (Nth York Moors ?), disposes of a satellite tagged bird, during the
    course of the trial, does it all go tits up ?.

    1. Trapit - good questions. Watch this space. How long do you think satellite tagged Hen Harriers will survive?

    2. Trapit, they were released on a grouse moor. I also thought the donor estate was supposed to have them back, they allegedly refused. the licence apparently says they have to go back in the same SPA. Swinton are one of many estates in what one might call the greater Yorkshire Dales with a pretty appalling record, indeed the accepting estate is one of only two in that whole area that one with experience of the area might trust. The rest are as bad as anywhere in the York North Moors and anyone of them might do away with one of these tagged youngsters. My understanding is that if these youngsters have the same poor survival rate as previously tagged NE young and currently tagged RSPB young then indeed the scheme goes "tits up." If they have high survival some very interesting questions immediately come to mind, especially as there are still RSPB tagged young out there.
      Swinton hardly entered into the spirit of the thing the other nest was fed, in case they developed a taste for grouse, so Swinton at least have learnt nothing, for them Harriers are still the great beast.
      Nice to see you at HH day.

      1. Paul, very informative as usual. Thanks for the very clear updates.

        Clearly the pressure is on the Moorland Assoc to ensure the safety from traps, poisons and shooting of both the released brood meddled chicks and the adults that raised them in the wild. They are under a spotlight like never before.

        Obviously the pressure of successful nests on grouse moors in Yorkshire has been so great that they have had to resort to brood meddling for the first time. It has been difficult to count the exact number of successful nests in Yorkshire on estates covered by the Moorland Assoc. The use of the index and middle finger on the right hand might just be sufficient!

        1. I think you are right Mike, it is all down to pressure and public scrutiny. With out that I suspect the birds would have "disappeared" as soon as a breeding attempt was started, that after all is what has been happening in that area for at least thirty years. Yes harriers have been trying on and off to breed in that precise location for that long. Harriers have been trying to colonise the East Nidderdale and Mashamshire moors since Bowland was first occupied in 1969.
          As we know Brood meddling cannot be a practical answer imagine if harrier numbers on grouse moors grow even moderately and meddling becomes " necessary" for say 5 or ten broods and release sites found for them. We shall see, despite our rejection of BM we are currently in a very interesting win-win situation.


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