There are lots of ways
gamekeepers sorry, mysterious visiting fairies, can, and obviously do, get rid of pesky hen harriers from the grouse moors of upland England and Scotland.
Options available might include disturbing them with booming gas guns (here), or lying in wait with a decoy hen harrier (here), or setting illegal pole traps to catch them (here), or burning out their nests (here), or poisoning them (here), or catching them with baited spring traps on the ground (here), or stamping on their chicks (here), or shooting them (here), or removing their eggs/chicks as part of a government-sanctioned plan designed to appease grouse moor owners (here).
Here’s another method that can be included in the Mysterious Visiting Fairies’ Guide to Getting Rid of Hen Harriers on Grouse Moors. The following two photographs were taken on a grouse moor in the Angus Glens last week (thanks to the contributor who sent these):
This is a bird-scaring banger rope, draped around a gatepost. These banger ropes are designed to mimic the intermittent sound of a shotgun and are used for scaring birds from agricultural crops. You set fire to one end of the rope and as it burns, it’ll cause loud explosions as the flame reaches the banger units. Some ropes are designed to burn for six hours, setting fire to the explosives at 15 or 30 minute intervals. Other ropes are designed to burn through the night for up to 12 hours.
Obviously, it’s a really good idea to deploy these explosive banger ropes in areas where the public are likely to access (say, like on a gatepost), on land that is susceptible to wild fire (say, like a heather moor), and in areas where nesting birds (including gamebirds, waders and ground-nesting raptors) are trying to breed (say, like a driven grouse moor).
It seems like the mysterious visiting fairies think June is an ace time to deploy them on grouse moors because here are some more photographs taken on a North Yorkshire grouse moor just four days ago. This time the banger rope had been deployed inside a (wooden!) grouse butt and the remains were quite evident on the ground. The smell of burning still hung in the air.
Here’s a close up of the back and front of one of the tags found inside the butt, photographed when we got home. These were Portek banger ropes: