2nd Hen Harrier Peaceful Protest, Forest of Bowland, Lancashire, 9th August 2015

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Forest of Bowland Hen Harrier Peaceful Protest Day, 9th August Dunsop Bridge,Lancashire

Hen Harrier

Your support will be critical if we are going to have any chance of preventing the extinction of this iconic moorland raptor.

The North West Raptor Protection Group will be hosting their second peaceful Protest from 10.30 at Dunsop Bridge in Lancashire’s Forest of Bowland. Join us on the village green in front of the river opposite the Puddle Ducks cafe. There is a car park near the garage and toilets. 

While the Hen Harrier has featured prominently on the Forest of  Bowland AONB  Logo for many years,  following the Harriers systematic persecution on red grouse moorland this species now faces imminent extinction throughout northern England’s uplands. Last year only two breeding pairs of Harriers were recorded, both in the Forest of Bowland. Sadly 2 of the 8 fledged chicks, both fitted with satellite trackers, disappeared on two adjoining red grouse moorland just 3 miles from their natal nesting territories on the United Utilities estate. Both chicks are now presumed to have been shot and their satellite tags destroyed to hide their disappearance.

This year to add insult to injury 5 additional male hen harriers have vanished from occupied nests on red grouse moorland in northern England, four birds from the Forest of Bowland and one additional bird from the RSPB’s Geltsdale reserve in the Northern Pennines. Let no one be in any doubt, all 7 hen harriers which disappeared into thin air are now dead, presumed shot.

We urge you to make your voice count in support of the Hen Harrier before it’s too late, join us on the 9th August. Your participation is important to help convey our message and anger throughout and beyond our country. Lets try to do our best to stop further killings and return the Hen Harrier back onto England’s moorland uplands where they so rightly belong.

The only way to accomplish this is to shame the shooting community responsible for bringing this iconic moorland raptor to the verge of extinction. We must also make sure the Tory government are shamed into implementing decisive measures to stop the illegal killing of all ‘protected’ birds of prey on red grouse moors once and for all instead of turning a blind eye.

Schedule of the days events.

As you arrive please make your way to our reception desk where you will be handed a ticket for our free raffle. This years prizes are more prestigious than last year. The raffle will be drawn between 12 noon and 12.30pm.

At approximately 10.30 the day’s event will be opened by Daniel Marsden the Chairman of the North West Raptor Protection Group. Terry Pickford will then provide a brief outline detailing the current situation relating to the loss of the male 5 Hen Harriers from Bowland and Geltsdale in the northern Pennines. Terry will then bring everyone up to date with the appalling disappearance Peregrine Falcons throughout Bowland, with only two successful breeding pairs recorded this year, an all time low for the last 35 years.

The Raffle: We are keeping secret the details of two very prestigious prizes which we have been given in support of this years hen harrier event at Dunsop Bridge. So special are the two prizes in our opinion, you will have to come and join us on the 9th August if you want to try and win either one. All we can tell you at this stage, each of the two prizes represents the day in a very unique and special way. The winners of either prize will, we are confident, not be disappointed.

First Prize:       

In Search of Hen Harriers by Donald Watson 

Second Prize:

A signed print of a Tawny Owl by Chris Shields. Chris is regarded as one of the world’s leading natural history illustrators and has produced to date in excess of thirty                                     thousand wildlife  illustrations in over 300 books. Chris has exhibited his paintings widely in the UK and China and has paintings in public and private collections all over                                       the  world.

Third Prize:

A signed print of a European Eagle Owl by Robert Fletcher. One of Lakeland’s most respected wildlife artists. Robert Fletcher has lived in Satterthwaite since the                                          early  1970’s, relocating from Accrington East Lancashire. He moved to work as a forest worker based at the Grizedale Forest Park.

Final Prizes:    

We are giving away two prints of a Hen Harrier depicted on moorland painted by the 19th Century wildlife artist George Lodge.

peregrine flying-1

Static Presentation: Eagle Owl and Peregrine Falcon.

eagle owl web-1

To provide the public with close up views of two special raptor species which are disappearing from Red Grouse moors in England

This year we have invited representatives from ‘Lancashire hawk and Owls’ and a member of the ‘Turbary House Birds of Prey Centre’ to bring along two indigenous raptor species that only 4 years ago we could expect to see in the Forest of Bowland. Sadly, due to persecution the Eagle Owl no longer exists in Bowland as a successful breeding species. The Peregrine Falcon, once a common sight across the Bowland fells, has been reduced from 18 breeding to just 2 pairs in 4 years. There is a real danger that if the illegal killing does not stop in the Forest of Bowland, the Peregrine will also face extinction in this region following in the footsteps of the Hen Harrier.

 Memorial Hen Harrier Walk beginning at approximately 1.30 pm 

At the end of our protest beginning at approximately 1.30 pm, you are invited to take part in our memorial hen harrier walk along the Dunsop Valley where the hen harrier used to breed, but now only memories remain. The walk will last approximately 2.5 hours and we will encompass a visit  to one of the abandoned hen harrier territories so tragically lost this season. You are advised to wear walking boots and bring your binoculars.

LIKE TO JOIN US? Let us know. Can’t make it but want to protest with us (peaceably and legally of course)? Don’t worry, we’ve thought of that too…and all you need is a camera and a willingness to take a ‘selfie’!

Everyone wishing to take part in the support of our hen harriers in the Forest of Bowland on Sunday 9 August at Dunsop Bridge near Clitheroe, please e-mail your name and size of your group to:

Wharfedale Naturalists have reminded us to tell our followers of a new book the group have just published titled Skydancer Takes Flight. To see details please click here.


Please can you re-tweet this very important message, the plight of Hen Harriers needs as much support and publicity as we can generate before the August deadline. In the meantime just remember, if the killing of the hen harrier in England’s is not stopped, then we will certainly lose all hen harrier possibly for ever, we can not afford to allow this to happen .



Some of last years gallery images from the Dunsop Bridge event.

Hen Harrier Logo


NWRPG Members and supporters-1

Raffle first prise winner presented by Jessica-1

Daniel Marsden presentGeorge Lodge Hen Harrier print-1

Daniel Marsden presents signed Marsh Harrier Print-1

Raffle prise winner presented by Mellisa and Jessica-1

Raffle prise winner presented by Mellisa-1

Raffle prise winner presented by jessica 01-1

Mallisa Moore presents Lush cosmetics sellection box-1

Paul Williams NWRPG-1

Jazz and Midge, dad where are the HH, -1


23 comments to 2nd Hen Harrier Peaceful Protest, Forest of Bowland, Lancashire, 9th August 2015

  • Kevin moore

    I look forward to it, but will the RSPB support this years Bowland event as they surely should?

  • Mark Farrar

    I am looking forward to attending and supporting this Hen Harrier Peaceful protest at Dunsop Bridge this year.Bring it on!

  • The breeding season is a stressful period when Hen Harriers need more energy derived from the inhalation of oxygen. The birds are active when out collecting nesting material but become inactive when they start to incubate and protect their eggs. At this point in time, their oxygen intake is reduced and the metabolic rate slows down as they rely upon atmospheric air pressure to inflate their lungs. Reduced metabolic rate at an altitude in excess of 400-meters above sea level on Bowland Forest area is likely to cause a medical impact upon Hen Harriers. This could be an eating disorder, an inability to hunt and catch prey or insufficient energy to fly long distances.
    Bowland Forest cannot be regarded as a place of safety for Hen Harriers due to the unfavourable altitude of the area where abnormally low atmospheric air pressures can cause sleep apnoea and sudden death.

    • Terry Pickford

      David, it’s not the lack of oxygen that kills Hen Harriers, it’s contamination of the flesh by lead.

    • Phil L

      David, please quote the science behind your comments in relation to Hen Harriers, and I don’t mean just a reference to your web site.

  • Ian Whittaker

    Presumably modern hen harriers are a much less hardy breed than their predecessors of more than 30 years ago when up to 40 pairs a year used to nest successfully across the Bowland Forest. Far from a “natural” death trap, it used to be a safe haven and stronghold for hen harriers in England. Most of the hen harrier’s current strongholds in the UK in Scotland and Wales are of similar topography and average altitude to the Bowland Forest (if not higher). Strangely though, the lower altitude moors in south and east Scotland and Northern England are lacking in hen harriers. Human persecution cannot possibly be the consistent factor so the only explanation must be that low rather than high altitudes are bad for hen harriers.

  • hen harriers are not the only bird in trouble look at the turtle dove the montagu’s harrier one went missing in norfolk 20 thousand sign a petition and sent it to the queen saying it must have been shot in spain peregrines take them so why not in england there is only 7 pairs in the uk in the west country there was only 2 turtle dove on 90 farms a study a few years a said one bird was doing the damage the magpie. so why keep having more studys,

  • John Miles

    Across Europe there are plenty of Magpies and real hedges so Turtle Doves can nest. In Britain most hedges are too thin to support even Yellow hammer nesting. British hedgerows used to support several uses like supplying rose hips, crab apples, sloes, brambles, fungi etc not to mention stock proof with out the need of fencing. Pay farmers for real hedges not ‘2 fences with some green rubbish in between. farmers are even paid by stewardship to destroy scrub. Another area where Turtle Doves used to nest.

  • Phil L

    Looking forward to a drier day than last year.

  • Adam L

    I am planning on attending the protest in Bowland and will be bringing others. It’s a good idea, but I also think that protesting on the so called glorious 12th in the form of blocking access to a grouse shoot/s in Bowland on the land where the Harriers went missing would possibly have a bigger impact.Yes block a road, track or driveway etc that would stop or greatly hinder access to a shoot. I used to do such things when saboteuring fox hunts, we would form a mass blockade of people outside the hunt kennels to prevent them going anywhere, and it was none violent. I know this is not about sabotage of a grouse shoot, but it would certainly make the landowners take notice and perhaps make shooters aware of what’s going on with these beautiful Harriers.

    Editor’s Comment Adam, many people would support your idea, however, the organisers of the Hen Harrier protest day are the ones you need to persuade, this would almost certainly be vetoed by the RSPB.

  • Douglas Malpus

    The common factors in all disappearances of Hen Harriers is grouse shooting estates, bloody minded owners and stupid gamekeepers. Oh! and a police force that cannot be bothered or are paid off!

  • Adam L

    Ok, I will contact them, thanks. I just think stronger action such as my suggestion is needed.

  • Tony Disley

    Just like to say I fully agree with Adam L, although I applaud the idea behind this campaign, I also think it’s far too little and will have zero impact sadly. What would be far better is a campaign to change the law to prosecute landowners on whose land Birds of Prey are found killed, otherwise nothing will change, at the moment the lowly gamekeeper is prosecuted while in the background (often in court) the wealthy landowner stands with a bottle of champagne! Gamekeepers are two a penny and are readily sacrificed on behalf of profits and greed every year, while the wealthy landowner gets away yet again, at the most a protest is a not even a mild irritant to the Duke of ****minster – it probably goes entirely unnoticed

  • Trapit

    Sir Ian Botham has a piece in this weeks Shooting Times. Quite reasonable I thought,and Raptor Politics gets a couple of mentions.

  • Steve Webster

    I live in the outer Hebrides, and won’t be at your protest, but may I send my support ~

  • stacey gorman

    I live in Bury, Greater Manchester. I am looking forward to going to the Peak District again to support Hen Harrier day. I love Birds of prey and i am upset that all our birds of prey are missing for the sky. All we see is Crows/Magpies and jacks. People blame our birds of prey for various declines in small bird, but after witnessing a magpie attack a baby Blackbird 2 weeks ago (which i saved), i seriously think the bird balance needs evening out.

  • Skydancer

    Whilst out in bowland last week I heard a terrible rumour if true that the 5th and last male hen harrier may have now also disappeared from bowland? Are you able to confirm this rumour ?

  • nirofo

    It seems to me and no doubt many others that this is blatant bloody minded targeted killing of a protected raptor species, aimed specifically at proving to the RSPB and everyone else for that matter, that they can and will kill these birds as and when they please and there’s not a damned thing anyone can do about it. It’s obvious that someone high up is pulling the strings in the RSPB hierarchy to keep this information low profile, it’s also obvious they have full control over the police, the magistrates, the sheriffs and the judges, all of which have no doubt been told to do as they are told, (nod nod wink wink). As for the people in charge of running the United Utilities Bowland Estate, it seems they’re not really in charge at all !!!

    It’s high time the RSPB got a good kick up the backside to wake them up, they need to tell their members urgently the full unbiased truth about what’s really happening to our so-called protected birds of prey at the hands of the grouse shooting brigade on the estates, they have over one million members they could rally in support if only they would make the effort, unfortunately it seems they are too terrified of the shooting estate owners and would sooner cow-tow to them rather than take them on. Maybe the 2nd Hen Harrier Peaceful Protest at the Forest of Bowland, Lancashire, on the 9th August 2015 is a chance for them to show their mettle if they have any left. Use some of the money, (£30,000+) that was raised as reward for information re the Red Kite poisonings to advertise nation wide the full truth about raptor persecution on the shooting estates, (not that you need it with all the membership / donations money you already have at your disposal) !!!

  • Julie Wright

    I’m coming all the way from Kent to show my support, we can’t lose this iconic bird. The government will do nothing, David Cameron is a shooter. There are farmers and shooting estates that work with wildlife who are being tarred with the same brush. I ask them to come and support Hen Harrier day with us & oust the bad apples that are breaking the law, killing wildlife that is not theirs to kill.

  • Colin

    What nirofo and Adam L wrote is right. The protection needed can’t be provided under the current conditions – the impractability of amassing evidence does nothing in real terms to protect the raptors in such isolated areas. Face facts: hunting with dogs ended because people were prepared to challenge these morons, physically sometimes.

    Without the hunt saboteurs grappling in the mud with them across the land over the course of years, fox-hunting and hare-coursing would still be legal. Our cause needs to be much more vocal and noticed by the media, ie 6’o clock national news, Panorama etc.

    There needs to be a series of robust, obstructive demos starting on the “Glorious Twelfth” to spoil as much as is legally possible the forthcoming shoots in the area. If their sordid business can be dealt a blow at the right moment and be rendered unfeasible it would serve as a lesson and put the wider question of how to manage our uplands properly to a national audience.

    Come on all you hunt saboteurs in retirement, get up to Bowland for the 12th, keep the spirit of the Mass Tresspass alive.

    Alas, petitions and visits to primary schools will not save our birds as the odds are so much stacked in favour of the persecutors.

  • A group from Leigh Ornithological Society will attend to support the North West Raptor Protection Group, I recall from a visit some time ago that the parking for cars is limited, is that still the case.

    Editor’s Comment. David, we look forward to welcoming the Leigh Ornithological Society on Sunday at the Hen Harrier Protest in Dunsop Bridge. There is reasonable parking both in the car park past the garage on the left, and to the left hand side of the Puddle Duck Cafe in. If people are early enough there is also parking on the roadside along the village green.There should be no problem if people arrive for 10 am

  • Vera Marsden

    Family commitments are preventing me from attending this year but my heart will be there with everyone.

  • This is a great initiative to protect such birds which are disappearing or very few are alive.