RING OUZEL

Bird Watching (UK) - - Conservation Hen Harrier -

The For­est of Bow­land holds good num­bers of breed­ing Ring Ouzels has a com­plex and con­tra­dic­tory his­tory when it comes to Bri­tish con­ser­va­tion. My ar­ti­cles to date have fo­cused on re­build­ing the birds of the wider coun­try­side – re­plac­ing their food and habi­tat on a mas­sive scale. This will take lots of time and money, and sev­eral gen­er­a­tions to ac­com­plish. The mat­ter of the Hen Har­rier is eas­ier to re­solve. Hen Har­ri­ers have am­ple food and habi­tat in con­nected land­scapes for them to thrive. Theirs is the eas­i­est predica­ment to solve. Do noth­ing – and let them breed. The bat­tle to re­store Hen Har­ri­ers is very much alive and well in the con­ser­va­tion world. But it makes lit­tle sense, es­pe­cially to those new to or­nithol­ogy, if we don’t un­der­stand the na­ture of hunt­ing in Bri­tain – its evo­lu­tion, its pros and cons, and what makes it such a strange and unique part of our na­tion’s her­itage. The ear­li­est dag­gers found at Hap­pis­burgh, Norfolk, re­veal that even 800,000 years ago the an­ces­tor of the Ne­an­derthals – Homo an­te­ces­sor – was gear­ing up to take down big game on our shores. Well be­fore 10,000 years ago, we drove Mam­moths and Woolly Rhinoceroses off cliffs as a means of killing them. Two thou­sand years ago, our an­ces­tors hunted Boar and deer with Agas­saei hounds. The Ro­mans, on their ar­rival, brought Cas­to­rian and Fulpine breeds. What­ever the

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