Southern reintroduction of hen harriers takes flight

A hen harrier

The southern reintroduction of hen harriers has taken a giant step forward as ten adults have arrived in the UK to begin the conservation breeding programme.

The hen harriers have arrived from the continent and have completed their 30 days in statutory quarantine.

It is hoped the birds will rear young up to the point they can be released into the wild, with the objective to re-establish a self-sustaining breeding population of hen harriers in southern England.

You can read more about the plan and the latest updates in the Natural England blog and in The Guardian.

The southern reintroduction has been part-funded by BASC’s contribution of £75,000 through its Legacy Fund. It is one of six actions set out in the hen harrier action plan which aims to support hen harriers in the northern uplands and tackle persecution.

John Holmes, Natural England Strategy director, said in his blog: “We are working closely with farmers, land managers and game shoots to encourage further landscape-scale improvements to farmland habitats and systems in this area.

“These improvements will support hen harriers and bring broader benefits to farmland birds and other wildlife.”

BASC’s head of uplands, Gareth Dockerty, added: “Last year, BASC staff were invited by Natural England to see the reintroduction site before the arrival of the new birds.

“The attention to detail and passion demonstrated to see hen harriers return to Southern England was so pleasing to see.

“Fingers crossed the birds settle into their new home and this is another conservation milestone in the population recovery of our English hen harriers.”