Pair of Hen Harriers confirmed resident in Derbyshire, updated info from today’s Times.

It has been reported that a pair of Hen Harriers have settled on moorland owned by the National Trust in Derbyshire where red grouse are shot. This is indeed great news but will the pair be allowed to breed successfully and rear their chicks at this location, or will they simply disappear?

hen harrier terry-

Hen Harrier-England’s most persecuted birds of prey

The National Trust have now advised their shooting tenant that a pair of Hen Harriers are now present on the moorland he leases from the Trust. This is by no means a guarantee the pair of harriers will still be safe if past experience has anything to go by. On the other hand this could be a golden opportunity for this particular shooting tenant to prove that he does not employ any rogue gamekeepers.

Country Diary : Howden Reservoir

Howden Reservoir with the grouse moor behind

We must not forget that it was on Howden Moor, a National Trust property in Derbyshire, where gamekeeper Glenn Brown worked and was successfully prosecuted in 2011 for attempting to trap goshawks.

Perhaps in view of all the negative publicity caused by Brown’s successful conviction and the £17,000 costs Magistrates ordered Brown to pay, any shooting syndicate working the same moorland region in Derbyshire today will have learned a valuable lesson. However this is by no means a forgone conclusion. Each year we are reminded the resident pair of Peregrines in the same region regularly attempt to breed but are rarely successful, this may be down to just coincidence of course.

howden moor

Howden Moor, Derbyshire


The above article by Simon Barnes was published by the Times 12 April.

The situation Simon is describing in Derbyshire also relates to the current situation on moorland in Lancashire’s Forest of Bowland. The only difference in Bowland, the RSPB and Natural England curiously are saying and doing nothing to highlight or correct the problem for some strange reason.

11 comments to Pair of Hen Harriers confirmed resident in Derbyshire, updated info from today’s Times.

  • John Miles

    There has been incidents were neighboring keepers have been asked to come in and kill the birds. When questioned by the police the resident keeper claims he did not have anything to do with the killings!!

  • Skydancer

    It’s over to you National Trust what you gonna do about this,I bet it’s a bit of a problem you wish you did not have to face,do you please the landowners or the public?

  • Terry Pickford, North West Raptor Protection Group

    After 47 years working hard to protect raptors in the Forest of Bowland, I am appalled at a total lack of action by any conservation agency to bring about an end to the wide scale persecution taking place there.

    On the other hand where the illegal killing of birds of prey on grouse moors takes place anywhere else in either Scotland or England, the RSPB are rightly up in arms promoting publicity about such illegal activity. For some very strange reason when the illegal killing takes place in the Forest of Bowland there is a complete silence.

    Not only that, when the North West Raptor Protection Group were involved in publicising such illegal activity taking place, group licenses were removed in a further attempt to censor this detail.

    Why I ask is the persecution of protected raptors in the Forest of Bowland being treated differently, by simply choosing to ignore what is going on????

    • skydancer

      The reason why the RSPB are silent about the illegal persecution in the Forest of Bowland is because they have a presence there funded for the last 20 years partly by United Utilities. Recently the RSPB passed on the protection of Bowland’s eagle owls to a third party as they could not cope, stepping away to avoiding further embarrassment following the failure of many nests. They are also unwilling to offend estate owners by highlighting the persecution that is taking place, this is why the RSPB recently claimed the collapse of Bowland’s peregrine population was the result of a lack of food and poor weather. What total nonsense, spoken by an individual who doesn’t really understand peregrines or is trying to cover up the Society’s failures.

  • nirofo

    It makes you think there is some sort of collusion taking place between the RSPB and certain shooting estates, maybe someone high up in the RSPB is having to toe the line or else !!!

    It would be interesting to know what affiliations if any do members of the board of directors of the RSPB have with the grouse shooting estates and how many of them are directly involved ???

    Editor’s Comment. Nirofo, you may be closer to the truth than you think/ After all the RSPB, despite strong opposition, continue to cooperate with the owners of Hopeton House in Scotland where they host the annual bird fair. It is a well know fact the owner of Hopeton House also has estates in the Leadhills area where many protected raptors are known to have been killed, but this detail is being ignored by the RSPB.

  • bubo bubo

    Maybe the Bowland Hen Harrier Heroes should go to the Peak District and protect them there, this time they should be reminded to make sure the nests are fully guarded at night as well as during the day???

  • paul williams

    They cannot admit to what is going on in Bowland, If they did, we at the NWRPG would be an embarrassment to them.

  • Gary Broxholme

    Totally agree with bubo bubos comments as 24 hour protection is needed or they are certain to be doomed and also even if they raise young how long will the protection continue as the Harriers could stay in the area and then they would not last very long at all.Why cant the land owner suffer a massive fine and i dont mean under 10 grand i mean more like 25 grand plus one that would hurt them in the pocket if any of these birds go missing during breeding season.

  • paul williams

    Peaceful protest organised in north England…Advert in the magazine…BIRDWATCH

  • Ghost Bird

    In my opinion, the conservation charities involved need to grow some balls and make their dealings more transparent. Unfortunately, most of the larger organisations have been infiltrated by the enemy, and then you have those explicitly set up to serve the enemy. I only trust the smaller groups now, as they don’t act as puppets for the bully organisations.

  • NickM

    Simon Barnes = the Hen Harrier of Journalism?

    Two months after writing his piece in The Times about Hen Harrier persecution, Simon Barnes was suddenly and mysteriously sacked from his newspaper after 32 years employment. Speculation is rife on Mark Avery’s blog that monied interests put pressure to bear on the newspapers’ owner to get rid of him. Sound familiar?