Following today’s news from Natural England on breeding numbers of Hen Harriers in England this year, the RSPB says:
The news that 60 hen harrier chicks have fledged in England this year is encouraging, and testament to the crucial monitoring from raptor workers. However, while 24 nests monitored is an improvement on the 7 nests in 2017, there is enough habitat and prey to support more than 12 times this year’s total. The science is clear that illegal persecution remains the most serious threat to this species – since 2018, 43 hen harriers are known to have been killed or “gone missing”, after fledging. The sad reality for those who passionately protect these birds is that some of this years’ fledglings risk being killed. If this painfully slow recovery is to gather pace, and these beautiful and enigmatic birds are to become as common across our landscapes as they should be, the illegal persecution must stop.
Hang on! 24 nests monitored? Natural England said 19 nests (not 19 successful nests, but 19 nests) so where did these extra 5 nests come from? Were these renesting attempts or simply failed nests that haven’t been counted by Natural England? I’m confused but not surprised.