All eyes out for the rare Montagu's harrier
Farmers and birdwatchers are being urged to keep a lookout for Montagu’s harriers – the rarest breeding bird of prey in the UK, which nests almost entirely on arable farmland.
Just six pairs of Montagu’s harriers bred in 2013 and the RSPB says it is essential that the small number of breeding attempts made this year are identified and protected from accidental damage or disturbance.
Montagu’s harriers spend the winter in Africa and return to Europe in the spring to nest. On their journey, they face extreme weather, an increasing area of desert and the threat of illegal hunting. Those fortunate enough to complete their journey nest in lowland crops, particularly winter cereals, oilseed rape and grass silage, usually in the south-west and east of England.