A BIRD group believes East Lancashire’s iconic bird of prey may become extinct after heading into a fourth year without confirmed breeding pairs.
The East Lancashire Ornithologists Club has highlighted there have not been successful breeding pairs of hen harriers since 2014, following failed attempts in 2012 and 2013.
The bird of prey has struggled in recent years with only one active nest in the Forest of Bowland in 2015. Last year’s hen harrier survey showed the number of breeding pairs of the bird in England fell from 12 in 2010 to just four in 2016.
In 2017 in England only three pairs of hen harriers successfully bred out of a total of seven attempts.
David Chew, secretary of the ornithologists club, said: “The Forest of Bowland has traditionally been recognised as the English stronghold for breeding hen harriers.
“Overall, the present situation with regard to the hen harrier and other birds of prey is unsustainable if they are to continue as breeding birds in their traditional environment in the UK.
“If the present situation continues they will eventually become extinct as a breeding bird in these locations.”
Hen harriers eat mainly small birds and mammals, the males are pale grey in colour and females are brown with a white rump.