Living in Cuckoo Land!!

The RSPB’s Hen Harrier ‘Skydancer scheme’ funded by a lottery grant worth £370,000 has now reached the milestone of two years. Blanaid Denman the project leader, has talked to 994 school children and parents and given community talks to 1069 people which is wonderful but where have all the Hen Harriers gone in that time?
The Red Grouse: The reason why so many raptors in the UK are being persecuted
The next two years could be exciting says  Blanaid  with comments like “I believe now that with the right attitudes and the right methods, hen harriers and gamekeeping can coexist.”  But does she know how most if not all Red Grouse moors are managedin the real world?
GameKeepers need their tax free ‘back handers’ after each shooting day and do not want a Hen Harrier disturbing the Red Grouse as they are flushed towards the guns to be shot, or they could loose their thousands in tax free backhanders at the end of the season. Not long ago when police raided the home of a gamekeeper suspected of wildlife crimes, officers discovered the man had stashed £4000 in a tin!! The money he explained had been given to him as a back hander by members of the shoot for services during shooting days. The owners of moorland where red grouse are shot do not want any distractions, large numbers of Red Grouse is the main objective, and if they protect Hen Harriers will they then Protect Peregrines and Goshawks! We really think this will simply never happen as things stand today; in fact grouse moors are unregulated and because of this estate owners have carte blanche to run the moorlands they own as they see fit.
‘We also run workshops at gamekeeping colleges across the North of England’ explanes Blanaid. But what happens to those young keepers once they have entered the moor for real. They are presently told to kill what kills Red Grouse!!
So now here comes ‘heroes for harriers’.  

Under the RSPB Skydancer scheme, to become a Hen Harrier Hero, children need to complete six activities from a choice of 15, which are outlined in a special booklet. These include visiting a moor, designing a hen harrier poster and hosting a fun day. Rewards include personalised certificates and stickers, and participants who go on to become Hen Harrier Superheroes by completing ten or more activities will also receive a limited edition hen harrier pin badge.


Shortly before this image of a Bowland gamekeeper was captured, the man was observed standing below an occupied peregrine nest holding up a loaded shot gun. Even though the keeper had been committing armed trespass, no action was taken by either the land owner or the police

The award scheme is designed to complement the national curriculum and is completely free of charge, open to anyone including individuals, families, youth groups and schools.

It would be nice to come back after another 2 years and say ‘well done’ but until they tackle the main problems facing ‘protect’ raptors on England’s moorlands, 98% of the estates will continue killing birds of prey to protect game stocks – we do not give them much hope.

8 comments to Living in Cuckoo Land!!

  • nirofo


    “where have all the Hen Harriers gone”

    As the song goes, gone to graveyards every one – when will they ever learn, when will they ever learn !!!

  • paul williams

    One flew over the Cuckoo’s nest and landed in a circus.

  • skydancer

    “Hen Harriers and Gamekeepers can co-exist”, has this Blanaid Denman ever lived in the real world? Gamekeepers never have “co-existed” and never will do, their employers will see to that. It will certainly take a hell of a lot more than this hen harrier hero poppycock which will change nothing.
    I also feel strongly that the RSPB should hand back the £320,000 funding they received from the Lottery now that there are no harriers left.

  • This was an RSPB deception trying to show their membership & the wider public that they were addressing the issue of harrier persecution. It didn’t matter how many children or adults they engaged with, that wouldn’t have made a jot of difference to the attitude of the criminal grouse moor gamekeepers & the RSPB new that. The scheme was nothing more than a sham & a scam. Those in the RSPB responsible for that utter waste of time & money are a disgrace & should resign. They blatantly played politics with the birds survival. HH RIP.

  • paul williams

    Why do RSPB Employee’s not know why Raptors are disappearing at an alarming rate from our Moorlands, Yet their ex employee’s do.

  • paul williams

    Question….Who pays the RSPB Warden ( directly and/or indirectly )to monitor on the Forest of Bowland Estates?

    Editor’s Comment. We can tell you the RSPB warden is only permitted to monitor raptors that previously existed, on the United Utilities estate. He is paid by the RSPB, this is why he is unable to enter upon any of the region’s private estates. What he will do in the future is debatable as there is only one pair of peregrines remaining.

    • kevin moore

      I can tell you what he will do he will watch members of the NWRPG just like he did this year, if the RSPB want to pay someone to do that then they must have money to waste,maybe that is what they are spending the £370,000 lottery grant money on.

  • paul williams

    The RSPB do not need to pay a warden to do that….we can tell them what we are doing and were we will be…(Monitoring Raptor persecution on the Moorlands in the Forest of Bowland) The North West Raptor Group can save your charitable money on ineptness . PS, As a charitable Organisation, allegedly, you only need to spend 10% of membership donations on protecting birds…..hence no Raptors protected.