Cumbria’s only nesting pair of Hen Harriers fail this year

[singlepic id=133 w=540 h=355 float=left]Apart from everything  which has been taking place, more mad news to report. The only breeding pair of hen harriers in Cumbria have this year failed due to natural causes when the nest was found washed out. This is a great pity as the pair of harriers in this remote location have been successful rearing large broods of young for most of the three years they have been breeding in this location.

It seems also other ground nesting raptors like merlin are also struggling this year, with birds in some regions of Scotland not even breeding at all due to heavy rain and unseasonable cold winds; hen harriers in Scotland are also struggling to cope.

If anyone involved with raptors in other parts of the country have been experiencing similar problems we would like to hear from you? Looks like all round 2011 is going to be one of the worst breeding seasons for raptors for may years.

2 comments to Cumbria’s only nesting pair of Hen Harriers fail this year

  • nirofo

    One of the biggest problems they’re facing, in the far north of Scotland at any rate, is the lack of available prey. There’s hardly any Pipits, very few Skylarks, extremely few Stonechats and next to no small waders. Couple that to the fact that there have never been many Red Grouse in the area and it all points to a disastrous breeding season. However there seems to be plenty of voles about, judging by the number of runs you see in the vegetation, but unfortunately there are no Short-eared Owls. As most of you know many Hen Harriers, Merlins and SEO’s favour similar nesting areas in the long Heather on the banks and braes, in the far north of Scotland the majority of this long Heather has been burnt off by crofters and wind farm hopefulls for so long now that there’s hardly any left.

    Many of the Hen Harriers up here are taking to nesting in the forestry brashings which are left to rot after the timber is removed, it’s possible that apart from the excellent nesting cover it provides there are more prey species in these areas. Anyway whatever the reason most of the nests we’ve had in the last few seasons have been in this type of habitat, unfortunately it doesn’t seem to be to the liking of the Merlins or SEO’s.


  • paul williams

    If you take away the habitat, you take away the resident…clever land management by grouse moor land owners.