Henry’s Tour Day 25: Deadly silence

Fri 8 May  - Copy

Today Henry went to visit the Hawk & Owl Trust.

He wanted to hear their view on the ‘disappearance‘ of three adult male hen harriers from active nests in Lancashire’s Forest of Bowland.

What does the Hawk & Owl Trust think might have happened to those three breeding birds?

Does the Hawk & Owl Trust think their ‘disappearance’ has anything to do with the grouse-shooting community in Bowland?

How will the ‘disappearance’ of those three breeding birds affect the Hawk & Owl Trust’s proposed brood-meddling trial?

48 hours after the news broke, the Hawk & Owl Trust has yet to publish a formal statement on their website or even casually mention it on their Twitter account.

Perhaps they’re still in talks with other pro-brood meddlers as to how to play this one, because the GWCT, Moorland Association and National Gamekeepers’ Organisation are all still to make formal statements.

Meanwhile, the RSPB has issued a second statement and has offered a £10,000 reward for any information which leads to a conviction. They clearly think crimes have been committed, as does Lancashire Constabulary (who are investigating) and as does anybody with a passing knowledge of the history of hen harrier persecution on driven grouse moors.

Even Natural England, the Government’s statutory conservation agency tasked with protecting hen harriers has managed to make a statement (here), for what it’s worth. Although they still haven’t managed to release the full results of their hen harrier satellite tagging study which began 8 years ago (see here).


6 Responses to “Henry’s Tour Day 25: Deadly silence”

  1. May 8, 2015 at 9:48 pm

    Missing harriers? I should say so. I was at Sculthorpe all day and never saw Henry – if he’d come down and introduced himself, I could have shown him the two pairs of breeding marsh harriers we have on site. Sculthorpe Moor supports all birds, and many people are proud of what has been created here – a safe haven for raptors. A statement will be forthcoming from the Hawk and Owl Trust once all the facts have been gathered about the Bowland birds.

    • May 9, 2015 at 10:16 am

      Hi Nigel. I’m pleased the Trust has marsh harriers on its reserve – they’re now doing pretty well around the country, on and off reserves.

      Shame HoT can’t also put some effort into helping (rather than hindering) hen harrier nesting efforts and recovery.

      Rather than continuing to secretly promote a scheme to remove pesky hen harrier chicks and shove them into captivity, thereby placating those who would otherwise shoot them, why not try protecting hen harriers where they choose to nest?

      That way your organisation can transform public perception of itself from one engaged in hen harrier disposal and falconry to one engaged in wildlife conservation.

      • May 9, 2015 at 10:22 am

        And here’s one ‘fact’ which might help HOT in its inquiries: it is very easy to kill adult hen harriers without leaving evidence – they vanish without a trace. I venture that this will be the case with the Bowland Three. The ‘fact’ is, therefore, that your hen harrier disposal service will provide no signal at all to those who kill hen harriers. They can continue with impunity, killing hen harriers – and the HoT will continue to say ‘let’s not jumpy to conclusions.’

  2. May 8, 2015 at 11:10 pm

    Note to Hawk and Owl Trust on Facebook:

    HOT have you not heard about the disappearance of three Hen Harriers from their most dangerous location?

    Why so long the silence? Has the shooting industry taken your tongue?

    Is this the brood control programme?

  3. 5 crypticmirror
    May 9, 2015 at 2:51 pm

    I don’t think rewards matter anymore. It is just a matter of weeks until all wildlife crime, in England at least, is removed from the law books. There will be no such thing as legal protections for any wildlife by the end of the year.

    • 6 Jimmy
      May 9, 2015 at 4:41 pm

      The election result certainly heralds a very dangerous time for our Natural Heritage over the next few years. Our only hope may be appealing to the EU – and even that door may soon shut.

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