Another Hen Harrier ‘Marc’ goes missing

Durham Constabulary and the RSPB are appealing for information following the disappearance of a satellite-tagged hen harrier near Middleton-in-Teesdale. The harrier, named Marc, was one of a nest of two chicks tagged as part of the EU-funded Hen Harrier LIFE+ project in July this year from a nest in the Scottish Borders.

Marc’s tag had been transmitting regularly, showing no signs of any problems, until it suddenly stopped on the afternoon of 5 February. Data from Marc’s tag indicated he had been in the same area of upland farmland since late November before moving 10km North West on 27 January to an area of driven grouse moor, from here he posted several positions on the 5 February until 2.04pm, after which the tag inexplicably failed to send any further data.


Last year there were only three successful hen harrier nests recorded in England. There have been a number of other hen harriers that have gone missing in similar circumstances both in England and Scotland since the tagging project began in 2015. This includes Marc’s brother, a bird called Manu who was tagged in the same nest but went missing in October 2017 with his last known location being close to a grouse moor in Northumberland.

Mark Thomas, RSPB Principal Specialist said: “Hen harriers are facing an uncertain future: these spectacular birds should be flourishing in our uplands but studies show that we are down to just a handful of pairs in England with illegal persecution identified as a prime factor. So it’s depressing when yet another hen harrier goes off the radar like this, especially when the supporting tag data is so precise.”

A Durham Constabulary spokeswoman said: “We are very concerned at the disappearance of one of these iconic birds of prey. Hen harriers are fully protected by law and raptor persecution is a national wildlife crime priority. We urge you to come forward if you have any information about the disappearance of this bird.”

If you have any information relating to this incident (ref 163 2022018), call Durham Constabulary on 101 or the confidential Raptor Crime Hotline on 0300 999 0101. All calls are anonymous.


2 comments to Another Hen Harrier ‘Marc’ goes missing

  • I take it that a thorough search has been carried out around this birds last known GPS transmission location as it’s almost one month since this harriers extremely unfortunate disappearance?

  • paul williams

    Just a dark thought, If brood meddling in respect of the Hen Harrier goes ahead by the non ministerial Government agency’s ( Defra & Natural England) Will this be a new way of making it impossible to blame gamekeepers for nest persecution.

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