Bucking hen harrier trend with 10 young

Some of the hen harrier fledlgings.
Some of the hen harrier fledlgings.

The Northumberland Hen Harrier Protection Partnership has announced that five pairs of hen harriers tried to nest in the county, fledging 10 young.

After another very poor season for hen harriers elsewhere in England, with no successful breeding attempts, the Northumberland population is once again bucking the trend.

In 2015, eight young from two nests successfully fledged and, last year, six young fledged from two nests. This year, three of the five nests were ultimately successful and produced the 10 young.

This spring saw an increase in activity with even more birds performing their spectacular courtship displays known as sky dancing and five pairs eventually nesting, four of them once again on land managed by the Forestry Commission.

A dedicated team of raptor conservation volunteers, together with specialists from the partnership, worked together to watch over all of the nests.

The partnership is also delighted to learn that a young hen harrier named Finn that fledged in Northumberland in 2016 is successfully raising her own chick in south-west Scotland.

Andrew Miller, head of programmes and conservation at Northumberland National Park and chairman of the hen harrier partnership, said: “Hen harriers are still facing an uphill battle to re-establish themselves in the uplands of England.

“However, with the positive support of all our partners, including key landowners, 10 young birds have successfully fledged.”