Those two missing Hen Harriers

News has now emerged about both of the missing Hen Harriers from the controversial brood-meddled nest of this year (see these two blog posts by Raptor Persecution UK 2nd brood meddled hen harrier chick vanished from grouse moor in Yorkshire Dales National Park and Brood meddled hen harrier chick vanished from grouse moor on Bowes Estate, County Durham).

So both birds disappeared on grouse moors and both are the subject of police investigations. That’s a long way from the press release by the Moorland Association issued 10 days ago where Amanda Anderson said:

Most of the birds have been content to fly around the uplands and grouse moors which is territory they know and like. The adventures of the bird which travelled further afield are extraordinary

Yes, Amanda, the trouble is that although Hen Harriers ‘like’ grouse moors those who manage grouse moors, mostly your own members or their employees, don’t ‘like’ Hen Harriers and so their exciting adventures often end in misadventure.

And in the same press release Andrew Gilruth of the Game and Wildlife Conservation Trust said;

these young birds appear perfectly content to silently move across vast swathes of the country, without anyone appearing to have the faintest idea.

Yes indeed, Andrew, except on grouse moors they are occasionally noticed and then the birds’ contentment comes to a bloody end.

Remember that this press release was issued without the knowledge or approval of either the police or Natural England. Natural England licensed this brood meddling trial and are allegedly partners in this work but aare being taken for a ride by shooting interests.

These two birds now form two more data points of the sort that led to the publication earlier this year of a scientific analysis of such birds which said;

Using data from 58 satellite tracked hen harriers, we show high rates of unexpected tag failure and low first year survival compared to other harrier populations. The likelihood of harriers dying or disappearing increased as their use of grouse moors increased.


harriers were ten times more likely to die or disappear … in areas dominated by grouse moors

Bowes Moor in Durham where one of these birds disappeared is in the North Pennines AONB and Askrigg Common is in the middle of the Yorkshire Dales National Park. The limp Glover Review published recently ducked the issue of wildlife crime and couldn’t even bring itself to talk about this issue execept by referring to ‘the lack of species which one would expect to see in the upland landscape‘. Wilful blindness is alive and well.

Rampant wildlife crime is just one of the reasons to add your name to over 109,000 others calling for a ban on driven grouse shooting.

Please sign this e-petition calling for driven grouse shooting to be banned.

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7 Replies to “Those two missing Hen Harriers”

  1. Although the appearance of the scene of Supt Nick Lyall bodes well for the future correct attitude of the police to what is undoubtedly wildlife crime behind the vast majority of Hen Harrier disappearances, the two police appeals contain wording which seeks to remove any implication of blame on the estates where the birds have recently visited.
    This clearly should not happen on any open police matter, and indicates, at least to me, that the police forces concerned are not conducting an open minded investigation, and are in thrall to the land owners and their representatives.
    This must change.

  2. 'these young birds appear perfectly content to silently move across vast swathes of the country, without anyone appearing to have the faintest idea'
    The idea that Gilruth thought that that comment had any meaning at all and was also worthy of a press release is astonishing. Does anyone know what he is jabbering about? I haven't the 'faintest idea' and neither does he apparently.
    Are wild birds ever not perfectly content and only he seems to not know that they fly around like - ahem - birds and he thinks that no one else knows this.
    Usually his comments no matter how misleading have a point. This one alludes me.
    If they were flying around untouched i would see his point but FFS 2 of them have probably been shot and he is gambling that this won't happen to the others. All for a MA puff piece which has been torn apart as soon as it was released.

    I used to wonder whether his dimwit arguments were an act as it is impossible to argue with stupidity so it could be clever if you have no real arguments. Now i have no doubts, none.

    I suppose this is a long way of saying what Mark said in 2 lines, sorry.

  3. Can the Hawk and Owl Trust be invited to explain their defence of this scheme now or otherwise?
    I am not sure how involved they are now but their name is still on as a partner.
    Surely they would want to explain their position, why they have moved their goal posts once more, so far that they don't appear to be even on the pitch.
    Where is the ever so nice Mr Merricks?

    1. Mr Merricks is no longer Chairman of HOT and was replaced in Sept by Henry Robinson.
      Henry Robinson was CLA President during 2014/2015 and Phillip Merricks is currently President of the Kent Branch of the CLA, how cosy!

  4. It is about time that there was a FOI request for publication of the names and addresses of all gamekeepers and estate owners implicated in illegal persecution of raptors. They should be named and shamed.

  5. Surprised you haven't mentioned anything about the final report on the Demo Langholm Moor project Mark?

    1. We're still waiting for a coherent and honest response on this report from the organisations that are supposed to represent the shooting community -


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