A Hen Harrier Day poem

This poem was delivered at the Hen Harrier Day event at the RSPB’s superb Rainham Marshes reserve yesterday and a number of people have suggested it should be posted on this blog.

[Photo by Alan Shearman from his blog about Rainham Hen Harrier Day 2018]


by Ruth Tingay

2014 is when it all began

Amidst Hurricane Bertha at the Derwent Dam

There was a bloke called Avery and a bloke called Packham

And the Sodden 570, united in passion.


We arrived as strangers but left as friends

Determined to bring the killing to end

To protect our skydancer from the guns and the traps

And the murderous intent of the men in tweed caps


There were only four nests in England that year

The grouse shooters toasting success with a sneer

But to underestimate us was their biggest mistake

We are defiant and strong and we’ll do what it takes


These rallies and banners are just the beginning

There’s a long way to go but we know about winning

They can hurl their abuse and call us all liars

We don’t give a damn ‘cos our bellies have fire


We’ve come a long way since that very first rally

Westminster, the papers, all over the telly

We’ve changed the narrative and people are listening

Grouse shooting no longer all shiny and glistening


We’re exposing their fiction, their greed and their crimes

Their friends in high places all wilfully blind

Nine nests this year and we’re supposed to be pleased

Our hen harrier population, brought to its knees


You can keep your fake partnerships and your grouse-shooting peers

Your Gilruths, Amandas and your crocodile tears

Stuff your brood meddling right up your arse

We know what you’re up to and we know it’s a farce


There’s progress in Scotland and the grousers are fearful

That’s reason enough for us to be cheerful

So raise up your banners, keep singing our song

By standing together we won’t go wrong



The event was superbly organised by Lisa Mobley and her team of volunteers. Other speakers included Mark Avery, Natalie Bennett, Martin Harper, Chris Packham and Barry Gardiner MP. The presentations were filmed by PJS Films and can be viewed HERE.

Other Hen Harrier Day events took place on Saturday and there are more being held today, the Inglorious 12th. Find the one closest to you HERE.

[Photo from Hen Harrier Day 2018 at RSPB Rainham Marshes by @RSPBUrban]

12 Responses to “A Hen Harrier Day poem”

  1. 1 Valerie Webber
    August 12, 2018 at 8:37 am

    Will be thinking of you all , events all just too far :( need one south please

  2. August 12, 2018 at 11:46 am

    On the Inglorious 12th we should pause to remember the poor grouse who are also victims here. They are being over bred and poisoned so the rich and pivileged can indulge in their yearly muderous hunting binge. It is indeed a sad day. I thought the poem was spot on.

  3. 7 Hilary MacBean
    August 12, 2018 at 1:22 pm

    Ruth Tingay, you are a marvel. You and your team work with tenacity and unsung effort. The poem sums it up. It was an excellent Hen Harrier Day, with impassioned speeches as always. Raptor persecution is just one aspect of unsustainable and unacceptably poor management of the countryside. The public a realising more and more.

    • 8 Loki
      August 12, 2018 at 10:34 pm

      Well said, Hilary. HH Day Highlands was excellent too. More squirming from the CNPA again – always a joy to behold – if only it would translate into something positive for the hen harriers there!

  4. 9 Chris Davies
    August 12, 2018 at 4:53 pm

    Love the poem. Spot on.

  5. 10 4foxandhare
    August 12, 2018 at 5:21 pm

    Well done everyone who took part in that protest. I wish I had been there.

    It’s a beautiful poem, Ruth Tingay. The times they are a-changing and licensed killing of our wonderful Hen Harriers will be consigned to the scrap heap of history.

  6. 11 Les Wallace
    August 13, 2018 at 9:48 am

    ‘Stuff your brood meddling right up your arse.’ Well said – great poem and a wonderful effort generally as always. Many thanks!

  7. August 13, 2018 at 2:18 pm

    Can we get a band to set it to music?
    The Canary reports on Captain Ska who made a song about our beloved leader which then got banned by the BBC. This isn’t such a stretch. The Canary often reports on raptor persecution stories. We need all the publicity we can get.

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