Missing hen harrier Rosie reported to be alive and well

Following last Thursday’s news that a fourth satellite tagged hen harrier had ‘disappeared’ this autumn  – one called Rosie who vanished in Northumberland on an unknown date (here), news emerged last night on Supt Nick Lyall’s twitter feed that apparently she is alive and well.

There is no further detail at the moment.

[Hen harrier Rosie, photograph from Natural England]

We’d be very interested to find out from Natural England when, exactly, they called this bird as ‘missing’ (the original appeal for information from Northumbria Police strangely excluded this detail) and for how long the tag was actually offline.

If it was a genuine technical tag malfunction then nobody should be the least bit surprised. Assuming Rosie’s tag is the same type of tag as used in previous years, it’s known to have a 94% reliability rate. We’re aware of only one other hen harrier tag that was listed as a ‘stop no malfunction’ (i.e. a suspicious disappearance) but the bird was identified alive and well several months later (‘Highlander‘, a HH tagged by the RSPB) so if Rosie’s tag has temporarily malfunctioned that’s well within the expected 6% failure rate.

And of course even if this was a genuine tag malfunction it doesn’t change the fact that three of the five brood meddled hen harriers are still missing in suspicious circumstances and that 72% of all hen harriers sat tagged by Natural England have either been illegally killed or have disappeared presumed illegally killed on grouse moors. We’re expecting to see a similar figure from RSPB -tagged harriers when their tag analyses have been completed.

UPDATE 27 October 2019: Re-discovery of hen harrier Rosie not quite as it’s being portrayed (here)

10 Responses to “Missing hen harrier Rosie reported to be alive and well”

  1. 1 Iain gibson
    October 21, 2019 at 1:37 pm

    Can we expect the grouse shooting fraternity to start claiming that every hen harrier which ‘disappears’ is actually “one of the 6%.”

    • October 22, 2019 at 1:14 pm

      The 6% is total failures. The number that appear to stop transmitting suddenly and then re-appear must be much much lower even though it could presumably happen throughout the working-span of each transmitter. But i am sure the grousers are having a field day.

      • October 22, 2019 at 1:23 pm

        Sorry think i got the wrong end of the stick.
        Just read the RSPB blog on Highlander. She never started transmitting again and we don’t yet know if Rosie started transmitting again or not.

  2. 4 John Keith
    October 21, 2019 at 4:44 pm

    That does seem to fit with their understanding of numbers.
    (Nanny was a bit vague in this lesson).

  3. 5 alancranston
    October 21, 2019 at 7:50 pm

    I wonder why there has been no further news since Nick Lyall’s tweet last evening. Perhaps his solar recharger has failed.

  4. 6 William Fenn
    October 22, 2019 at 1:41 pm

    Yet more bollocks from the have nots! Perhaps if you got your heads out your arses and ventured out into the countryside you might discover reality!

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