As regular CFZ-watchers will know, for some time Corinna has been doing a column for Animals & Men and a regular segment on On The Track... particularly about out-of-place birds and rare vagrants. There seem to be more and more bird stories from all over the world hitting the news these days so, to make room for them all - and to give them all equal and worthy coverage - she has set up this new blog to cover all things feathery and Fortean.

Saturday, 10 August 2013

No hen harriers hatched in England this year - Is it the end for English hen harriers?

Hen harrier on the brink of ‘extinction' in England - For the first time since the 1960s, hen harriers have failed to nest successfully in England. 
August 2013. Just two pairs of hen harriers attempted to nest in England this year, but both failed. At one of these sites the RSPB was working with the landowner to ensure the nest was protected. Sadly, the eggs never hatched. While, conservationists believe this nest failed naturally, the Government's own wildlife advisors say that the population had been forced into this precarious position by illegal killing. The reason for the failure of the second nest isn't yet known.

On the brink of extinction in England
No new hen harriers this season means that the hen harrier is one the brink of extinction in England. The news of the nest failure follows the publication in May of the State of Nature report which showed that 60 per cent of those wildlife species which are monitored are declining across the UK.

Once widespread
The hen harrier was once widespread across Britain, but it has endured decades of persecution, which first forced this bird of prey out of mainland Britain by 1900. From remnant populations in the Orkneys and the Western Isles, changing land uses and decline of persecution allowed them to spread south once more, reaching England shortly after the Second World War. The future prospects for this bird largely depend on the attitudes of grouse moor owners.

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