44 Responses to “3 male hen harriers ‘disappear’ from active nests in Bowland”

  1. 1 Pauline Jacobs
    May 6, 2015 at 4:31 pm

    This has seriously brought tears to my eyes. I was lucky enough to see a pair in the Hebrides and can’t understand how some people want to get rid of this beautiful bird. Wildlife crime needs to be taken far more seriously.

  2. 2 steve macsweeney
    May 6, 2015 at 4:54 pm

    I would like to see the National Gamekeepers Organisation raise its head above the parapets and condemn this publicly.

  3. 4 Helen
    May 6, 2015 at 5:03 pm

    Sickening news. This makes me so sad

  4. May 6, 2015 at 6:00 pm

    No doubt the Hawk and Owl Trust will plough on with their Hen Harrier Removal Programme (aka brood management), given that these birds have vanished leaving no proof of who’s responsible.

  5. 6 Chris Roberts
    May 6, 2015 at 7:05 pm

    Maybe Martin Harper wont be so keen to appease the killers in our countryside now. This is indeed sad and disheartening news. There are so many sick people around, gamekeepers being the worst.

    • 7 Kevin moore
      May 6, 2015 at 7:50 pm

      So much for the RSPB,s much promoted Skydancer project last year going to gamekeeper colleges to try and change the way they think, when will the RSPB realise that Gamekeepers will NEVER change their stance on the Hen Harrier.

      • May 6, 2015 at 8:20 pm

        Kevin, the RSPB’s Skydancer project is NOT responsible for the ‘disappearance’ of these birds. A lot of good people have put a lot of time and effort in to that project and deserve recognition, not a slagging off.

      • May 6, 2015 at 10:15 pm

        Kevin – I find comments like yours incredibly tiresome – three hen harriers vanish, who do you criticise? The RSPB! Do you have anything at all to say about those who perpetrate these discussing acts of persecution?

  6. 10 Me
    May 6, 2015 at 8:31 pm

    We’re they “satellite tagged” ? And would it be possible to show,on a map, the “general ” area of where the nests are ? I would like to avoid any contact with the countryside scum that stays there.
    Because of the scum ,decent people can’t get to see our native wild life.Osprey sites are protected 24/7.Anyway the shit would hit the fan if the employees of ,say, Rothiemurchus Fish Farm were to blast lead shot at the Osprey coming in to feed from the “pools”
    Would it also be possible to print the name and photograph ,in “Bird books”,of the scum that are caught and convicted of killing Raptors with the words ” assisted or assisted in the killing of ( name of Raptors etc) resulting in that species becoming endangered or extinct ( god forbid) in the United Kingdom on ( date this occurred)

    • May 6, 2015 at 8:39 pm

      We don’t know where the nests were but even if we did, we wouldn’t be publishing ANY info here that might put the sites/birds at further risk. For ‘general area’, see ‘Forest of Bowland AONB’.

      • 12 Me
        May 7, 2015 at 5:13 pm

        Found it ,thank you.See that forest is surrounded by moorland.I take it there is also an Independent Estate in the area.If the Hen Harriers aren’t found then you can bet the organ grinders are making sure the monkeys get rid of all the evidence.

  7. 13 Grouseman
    May 6, 2015 at 9:10 pm

    Dare somebody suggest that these three nests have been successful many times in recent years and perhaps over-monitoring and frequent visiting could be a cause of them abandoning!?

    • May 6, 2015 at 9:20 pm

      Lame denials just adding more fuel to the fire.

    • 15 Marco McGinty
      May 7, 2015 at 1:17 pm

      Grouseman, did you read Martin Harper’s article, or were you too busy celebrating the deaths?

      It was perfectly clear that the abandonments were as a direct result of the disappearances of the male birds. Don’t you find it odd that the only birds to have disappeared are males? You know, the ones that are out hunting whilst the females are sitting on nests, and watched from a distance.

      As for those that have aimed some criticism at the RSPB and the Skydancer Project for this, I understand the comments may have been knee-jerk reactions, but the RSPB cannot be blamed in any way for this atrocity. The Skydancer Project was designed to raise awareness of the Hen Harrier and its plight. It was designed to educate, and attempt to re-educate, but it is quite clear that a certain industry is not prepared to change in any way. Another reason for the removal of shooting industry representation from PAW.

      Today, we all have a chance to change things in a small way, so I would urge people to use their vote today, and vote for anyone other than Conservative or LibDem (they would form another coalition with the Tories), or any far right parties, of course.

  8. 16 paul irving
    May 6, 2015 at 9:32 pm

    I didn’t think it would be long before some numbwit and I use the word advisedly from the “game industry” raised the idea of monitoring causing desertion. 1 there is a very strict protocol in force for nest visiting which makes this as likely as the males were abducted by aliens. 2 the chances of these nests being previously successful but not found on UU is laughable. Please note Grouseman this is quite common on grouse moors in fact previous work has shown it to happen to over 60% of grouse moor nests but only 1-2% of nests in other habitats and then usually as a result of Eagle predation. There is one eagle in England and he is not in Bowland.

    Paul V Irving

  9. 17 Jimmy
    May 6, 2015 at 11:39 pm

    How many crimes are we going to tolerate against our Natural heritage before the government is shamed into putting manners on these criminals??

  10. May 7, 2015 at 12:01 am

    If ever there should be a reason to rid this country of the sick shooting industry this is it.
    It makes me furious that our raptor heritage is being systematically destroyed by the grouse shooting industry.
    Blood boiling!!!!!!

  11. 19 nirofo
    May 7, 2015 at 3:04 am

    The RSPB are so naïve or so thick-skulled, what did they expect, it’s in the middle of a Red Grouse shooting area, these areas have gamekeepers, gamekeepers are employed kill birds of prey, so that’s exactly what they do full stop. There’s only one answer, remove the gamekeepers and the birds of prey will return and thrive, probably too late for this breeding season though !!!

    • May 7, 2015 at 8:40 am

      Why are you having a go at the RSPB? Why not point the finger of blame at those who are responsible for this endless carnage – the driven grouse shooting industry?

      • 21 Chris Roberts
        May 7, 2015 at 9:26 am

        With respect RPS, nirofo was blaming the gamekeepers the way I read it. However it is time that the RSPB came off the fence with regard to killing birds for fun. I would argue that they may have, in favour of pheasant shoots, via Martin Harpers recent interview.

        • May 7, 2015 at 9:50 am

          “The RSPB are so naive or so thick-skulled…” is a pretty clear attack on them.

          The RSPB is not perfect, and yes, we also wish they would take a stronger line against the grouse-shooting industry instead of the constant talk of compromise – but attacks on the RSPB in the immediate aftermath of last night’s shameful news is utterly counter-productive.

          We’re all angry, but that anger needs to be used wisely and directed purposefully at the industry responsible, not at our allies.

          • 23 nirofo
            May 7, 2015 at 4:36 pm

            This was not an attack on the RSPB per-se, I was pointing out that the RSPB seem unable or unwilling to look beyond the rose bowl and point the finger at what everyone knows is the main problem regarding the loss of our so-called protected Raptors. For some reason they seem to want to protect the keepers on the Bowland estate from any blame regardless! Bowland as you know has a long history with Raptor breeding success, and until quite recently was one of the most prolific areas in the country. This state of affairs went downhill rapidly when a certain group of very experienced ornithologists were restricted from working in this area for shall we say political reasons, and the RSPB took over the responsibility. I won’t go into details here but you know the story, however since the RSPB were involved the breeding success of Raptors, not just Hen Harriers, has gone downhill rapidly to such a serious extent as to be inexcusable !!!

  12. 24 Les Wallace
    May 7, 2015 at 9:48 am

    Been thinking for a while that the next step has to be some kind of lawful, direct action that at the very least means that when shooters turn up for a day of bagging grouse they are confronted with images/info re raptor persecution in that general area. Would help take the sparkle from a ‘wonderful day’ on the moor and make the estates a tad more uncomfortable. Even legislation and increasing media attention has not made one bit of bloody difference in the Angus Glens, Dark Peak, Forest of Bowland, Norh Yorkshire moors etc, etc. Difficult to avoid the feeling they are going out of their way to persecute raptors to piss off their opponents as much as anything else, don’t even want a couple of token pairs on ‘their’ land to deflect criticism.

    Any ideas how protestors can have presence on a grouse moor, but stay firmly within the law and most especially doesn’t compromise anyone’s safety as shooting is involved? I can’t say hand on heart that I fully believe the tide is turning against the grouse moors (I hope so though), and even if it is their end will be a long, long time coming at this rate. How much more degradation of the land and persecution of birds of prey is going to take place between now and then? Rather drastic suggestion, but dire and drastic situation.

    • 25 Mike
      May 7, 2015 at 10:09 am

      Fully agree, we’re all angry and have a head of steam waiting to explode! We hear more and more and yet feel powerless to confront this travesty. Yes Mark Avery has ‘occupy the butts’, we have Hen Harrier Day 2015 but we need some other outlets for our energies – to let off steam!

    • 26 Jimmy
      May 7, 2015 at 10:33 am

      I think a few protests during the grouse season at the gates of these places wouldn’t be a bad idea

  13. May 7, 2015 at 12:06 pm

    The arguments against driven game shooting:
    Raptor persecution,
    Indiscriminate use of banned poisons and traps.
    Polluting the country with tonnes of lead.
    Destroying habitat.
    Destroying mountain hare populations.
    Cruelty and suffering of birds used as gun fodder.
    Hand rearing 34 million pheasants for gun fodder.
    Wasted meat.
    Law breaking.

    There must be much more too.

    If any of you wonder what the fuss is about, make a point of watching a shoot. It is horrifying, cruel, barbaric, cold blooded business and for those that do it FUN. They are really sick people!!!!

    • 29 keen birder
      May 7, 2015 at 7:45 pm

      Douglas, you forgot about 100s of foxes hanging in snares on a cold winters night wrapped up tangled around a fence or a sapling, oh and badgers accidenatly caught in the same way, and around here men with terriers looking for fox cubs to dig out and kill ,, ,, its a cruel world,

  14. 30 Jack Snipe
    May 7, 2015 at 12:29 pm

    I am not “attacking” the RSPB, but I would defend the right of anyone to offer criticism. Their staff do their best under often difficult circumstances, but the organisation’s liberal diplomatic approach to this problem isn’t working. It’s time to take the gloves off. Some of the suggestions here regarding direct action are fine, but we should be aware that the shooting fraternity regards itself as being at war with nature conservationists, and might even relish the prospect of a fight.

  15. 32 keen birder
    May 7, 2015 at 8:15 pm

    Rspb have done their best, its a very sad situation, very selfish of the harrier killers, denying very many people the happiness of seeing them. I dont see this ever being resolved, everthing has been tried we have a difficult task of changing the outlook and mindset of the harrier killers. I think posters put up as Les Wallace suggests would be a good idea, a lot of grouse guns will not realise what has being going on, a lot of them will and many will just accept it and not be bothered about harriers, but theres millions of people that are bothered, and I think the answer is with public opinion, .I hope the nearby college of gamekeeping are teaching the students to alter their ways and ideas towards harriers, theres an annual turnover of many smart looking young trainee gamekeepers, the future depends largely on their actions.

  16. 33 paul irving
    May 7, 2015 at 9:40 pm

    In reply to Nirofo’s attack on RSPB— RSPB have been involved in Bowland since 1981 and are I’m sure fully aware of both short and long term problems. Far from there being “a Bowland Estate”, Bowland is a large geographical area comprising a number of estates, one of the largest being United Utilities where RSPB has had for some considerable time the complete co-operation of both owner and tenants. The sudden serious decline in productivity of Hen Harriers and Peregrines coincided with a complete change of management regime on one of the larger private estates (xxxxxxxxxx). The justified withdrawal of schedule one licences for the area from one particular group who sadly reportedly remain both an irresponsible nuisance and an irrelevance to proper monitoring and reporting. We should remain both utterly outraged by this tragedy, determined to continue to seek the end of such appalling crimes and point the finger at the REAL culprits whilst ignoring the petty point scoring and self aggrandisement of some.

  17. 36 Rob Photographer
    May 8, 2015 at 9:50 am

    Stop with the infighting it helps no one but the perpetrators of wildlife crime !
    Irresponsible land owners anyone mentioned them ?
    After all it could be others and not just the gamekeepers ….hmmm
    if any other business is shown to profit from crime then they are penalised are the owners doing enough to discourage these crimes is security up to the task. they have a responsibility to protect as well.
    Maybe it is time to take the land where these crimes occur away from the land owners !

  18. 37 Merlin
    May 8, 2015 at 6:32 pm

    United Utilities could make a stance here, they allow Grouse shooting on their land, the nesting Harriers were situated on their land, they could make a massive gesture by banning all shooting and keepering on their land for one season. the loss of income would be insignificant to this large organisation, those effected by being banned would finally start having to excert pressure on the neighbouring estates instead of chuckling to themselves

  19. 38 calm summer
    May 9, 2015 at 9:44 am

    Why not set up a fund to donate to for the purchase of Sat. Tags. I am sure RSPB will facilitate them being fitted and be able to use the data as part of ongoing studies.

    Lets help try and present evidence of this organised and widespread criminality on industrial proportions.

    Ten pounds a head will go a long way…….

  20. 39 paul irving
    May 9, 2015 at 12:58 pm

    Why should UU tenants loose their shooting or UU the revenue though, relatively small. those tenants pay in order to exert pressure on the neighbours? Rest assured that pressure is already there from both parties and quite simply ignored. If shooting was withdrawn all that would happen is the culprits would laugh at others misfortune.We may not all like or agreed with driven grouse shooting but UU and its tenants are the one English example of the fact that harriers and grouse can and does work. The tenant where the nests were located will I know personally be devastated by their loss. As to satellite tagging it is I beleive the intention of RSPB to tag all birds reared already as part of the their “Harrier Life Project”. It has happened before in both Bowland and more recently here in the Yorkshire Dales nests are protected and the foraging males are killed elsewhere, illegal yes, possibly predicable may be, tragic and infuriating absolutely.

    • 40 Merlin
      May 9, 2015 at 8:36 pm

      I disagree with you on this Paul, your assuming everyone connected with the U.U. shoots are whiter than white, I’ll bet some of the beaters and pickers up work on both U.U. shoots and neighbouring shoots, these people will know or have a very good idea who commits these crimes. U.U. bans shooting for a season these are the ones who start to lose an income, these are the people who can apply pressure, not your police or your shooting organisations, these organisations have no interest at all other than giving lip service every now and then in controlling this situation. If we had vicarious liability you can bet that U.U. would have kicked them off long before now. it will also send a message to other large land owning organisations such as the national trust and forestry commission that you can control these hooligans in the countryside, you can improve your environmental image, U.U. especially are one company that drastically needs to improve theirs. http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2013/aug/03/water-companies-polluting-rivers-beaches

  21. 41 calm summer
    May 10, 2015 at 7:51 pm

    Concerted effort goes into controlling a population, hence the ‘few bad apples’ theory is complete nonsense. Hen harriers and other raptors (inc.goshawk) are being killed throughout the entire UK.

    If we want to change things we need to support robust prosecutions and more realistic sentencing. This is how other crimes are treated and stands to reason if there was very little chance of being caught drink driving and even if caught the sentence was low, how many people would drink and drive.

    Add to this the commercial interests of killing raptors to increase surpluses of game birds and suddenly we can understand the level of raptor persecution.

    Birds will continue to ‘disappear’ and will be blamed on natural phenomenons, ie predation, lack of food, flying into fences etc etc !!!!!

    Let’s get these as many birds sat tagged as possible and watch where they mysteriously disappear. Maybe then we can get better enforcement action…………….and that cant fall solely to the police

    • 42 Merlin
      May 10, 2015 at 11:22 pm

      ” Concerted effort goes into controlling a population, hence the ‘few bad apples’ theory is complete nonsense. Hen harriers and other raptors (inc.goshawk) are being killed throughout the entire UK.”

      you couldn’t have put it better calm summer, a concerted effort indeed has been taken in killing these male harriers, there would have been look outs on the roads and major paths and people ln strategic places watching for the bird and contacting people on the moor as to the were a bouts of the bird. this kind of persecution of harriers was witnessed last year in Scotland I believe and reported on this very website. this isn’t the work of one man this is the work of a team. these people aren’t satisfied to have the privilege of owning a firearm for which they have asked someone of good standing to sign as a referee for them that they are of sound character to own such a weapon. they aren’t satisfied that they have the privilege to be allowed into a national park with said weapon. they are not even satisfied they are allowed to kill game in this beautiful countryside on land they don’t even own. greed and obsession dictate they have to kill anything that has the remotest chance of diminishing their bag . kick the greedy selfish bastards off the land, its the only way

  22. 43 Torpedo
    January 17, 2016 at 6:37 pm

    If someone were to capture a Gamekeeper, or whoever on film, shooting at a BOP and bringing it down, would the film footage be acceptable as evidence in Court and what would you think the likely outcome be?

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