Hen harrier success on grouse moors
A record number of hen harrier chicks were raised on grouse moors this year, helped by a new management licence for the endangered bird. Defra’s figures show 21 of the 34 chicks raised this year fledged from land managed for grouse shooting. Last year there were no nests on grouse moors and only three successful nests in England, which produced 10 chicks.
Under Defra’s hen harrier brood management scheme, if a landowner has two nests within 10km of each other, one lot of eggs can be taken for captive hatching. The harrier chicks are returned to the moors when ready to fledge.
Andrew Sells, chairman of Natural England, described the increase in hen harrier chicks this year as “truly remarkable” and said the figures show that “responsible management of grouse moors must be part of the solution”.
An increase in voles and good weather also helped in the year’s breeding success.