Another of the 2016 cohort of satellite-tagged hen harriers has been reported as ‘lost’, presumed dead.
This time it’s a bird called ‘Beater’, a young male who hatched on the admirable Glen Feshie Estate in the Cairngorms National Park. According to the most recent blog update from Blanaid Denman (Project Manager, RSPB Hen Harrier Life Project):
“Sadly, no data has been received from Beater since his tag last transmitted on 14th November. His last known location was on an area upland pasture in the central Scottish Borders. We have no information to suggest anything illegal has happened, the transmissions did not stop abruptly as in other recent cases, but we do now think it most likely that he has died” (read the full Skydancer blog here).
Photo of Beater shortly before fledging (photo by Ewan Weston)
The class of 2016 are not doing very well. In addition to Beater, here are some of the others that haven’t survived past November:
Hen harrier Elwood – ‘disappeared’ in the Monadhliaths just a few weeks after fledging.
Hen harrier Brian – ‘disappeared’ in the Cairngorms National Park just a few weeks after fledging.
Hen harrier Donald – missing in northern France, presumed dead.
Hen harrier Hermione – found dead on Mull, believed to have died from natural causes.
Hen harrier Rowan – found dead in Yorkshire Dales National Park. Cumbria Police said ‘likely to have been shot’. There is no ambiguity – this bird was shot (more on this soon).
Hen harrier Tarras – ‘disappeared’ in the Peak District National Park.
At least eight of the 2016 cohort are still alive (Aalin, Bonny, Carroll, DeeCee, Finn, Harriet, Wendy and Sorrel). Thanks to regular updates from Blanaid and her colleagues (thank you – much appreciated), these birds’ movements can be followed on the project website (here) with the exception of Sorrel, whose movements are being monitored on the Hawk & Owl Trust website (here). How many will make it to Xmas?