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Record year for hen harriers

hen harrier and chicks

Figures show 141 hen harrier hicks fledged successfully this year

Figures released by Natural England show another rise in the population of hen harriers in England, with 141 chicks fledging successfully this year. Last year’s 119 fledging chicks was itself the highest number for a century.

The data marks a decade of population growth for the hen harrier. As recently as 2013, there were no successful hen harrier nests in England. The Government’s hen harrier joint action plan was established in 2016, and the hen harrier brood management trial began in 2018. Since then, 485 chicks have successfully taken to the wing in England.

The trial involves taking eggs and chicks from some nests, raising the chicks in a specialist bird of prey rearing facility for a few weeks and then releasing the juveniles into suitable habitat.

Amanda Anderson, director of the Moorland Association, said: “Land managers and gamekeepers in the North have invested considerable time and money to boost hen harrier numbers.”

Natural England chair Tony Juniper said: “The encouraging numbers we see again this year are testament to the volunteers, landowners and partner organisations who have worked so hard to support and monitor these birds.”