First published 05:00 Friday 8 May 2015 in News
Last updated 08:34 Friday 8 May 2015by Lisa Woodhouse, Assistant picture editor
A WILDLIFE charity fears three very rare hen harriers have disappeared from the Trough of Bowland and may have been killed.
There were only four pairs of breeding hen harriers in England and two were on the United Utilities Bowland estate.
The Royal Society of the Protection of Birds (RSPB) reports three male birds have disappeared over the last three weeks on the Ribble Valley estate and have failed to return to their partners who are relying on their prey to feed whilst protecting their unhatched eggs.
Hen harriers are birds of prey and are protected by law.
Chris Collett, communications manager for the RSPB, said: “Hen harriers are at a critically low number in England. The disappearance of these three birds and the failure of two nests is such bad news.”
He said as well as small mammals like voles, hen harriers also eat red grouse chicks.
“A report by Natural England states that the largest cause for breeding failure is illegal killing.”
There is no evidence of the reasons for the hen harrier’ disappearance.