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.

Monday, 29 September 2014

Threatened birds of prey 'vanish' - via Mike Playfair

By Claire Marshall
BBC environment correspondent

Two of the rarest birds of prey in England, which had been satellite tagged, have vanished in unexplained circumstances, conservationists say.

The young female hen harriers had left their nest sites in Lancashire only a few weeks ago.

Named Sky and Hope, they were among the first hen harrier chicks to fledge in England since 2012.

Last year, no chicks were born after the only two nesting pairs failed to breed.

As part of an ongoing conservation project, Sky and Hope had been fitted with lightweight solar-powered tags.

Scientists examining the satellite data became worried when their tags stopped transmitting. Sky's signal stopped suddenly on 10 September and Hope's signal died three days later.

Searches of the area have failed to find any trace of them.

The tracking devices are designed to operate for at least three years. The scientists say it's "improbable" that this is due to technical failure. The more likely cause is that the birds were killed by other animal predators, or humans.

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