‘Save our hen harriers’ protest meeting in Forest of Bowland

One of the two Hen Harriers, 'Sky', which has disappeared from a nesting site in the Forest of Bowland.
One of the two Hen Harriers, 'Sky', which has disappeared from a nesting site in the Forest of Bowland.
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A second protest meeting in support of the county’s hen harrier population will be staged in the Forest of Bowland in less than a month.

Prior to the grouse shooting season beginning on the “Glorious Twelfth”, Terry Pickford, of the North West Raptor Protection Group, along with members and supporters, will gather at Dunsop Green Village Green on Sunday, August 9, at 10am to protest against cruelty to the birds of prey.

At the moment there are three nesting pairs of hen harriers in the whole of England, when really, there should be around 300

RSPB spokesman

Last year around 100 supporters gathered at the Hodder Valley village to show their support for the hen harrier.

Terry said at the time: “Hen harriers are the most threatened bird of prey in the country.

“If we don’t protect the hen harriers now, our grandchildren will never see them in the wild.”

Birds of prey are targeted because they prey on red grouse.

Terry said: “Ordinary shooters, who have a nine-to-five job, are appalled at what is happening.

“I have no problem with legal shooting, but what I do have a problem with is the illegal activity that is happening to up the numbers of grouse on the moors.”

Last year only two breeding pairs of Harriers were recorded, both in the Forest of Bowland.

Sadly two of the eight fledged chicks, both fitted with satellite trackers, disappeared on two adjoining red grouse moorland just three miles from their natal nesting territories on the United Utilities estate.

This year, five additional male hen harriers have vanished from occupied nests on red grouse moorland in northern England, four birds from the Forest of Bowland and one additional bird from the RSPB’s Geltsdale reserve in the Northern Pennines.

A spokesman from the RSPB said: “At the moment there are three nesting pairs of hen harriers in the whole of England, when really, there should be around 300.

“Two of the nests on the Forest of Bowland site were under 24-hour protection by staff and volunteers at one point.”