Hen harrier sightings sought in Cairngorms

Hen harrier. Image: Andy Hay/RSPB Hen harrier prey on game birds such as grouse

Sightings of a rare bird of prey are being recorded in Cairngorms National Park.

Hen harriers are one of the most persecuted raptors because they prey on game birds, such as grouse, according to the RSPB.

The Cairngorms National Park Authority hopes to follow up sightings from the public by tracking down hen harrier nests and satellite tagging chicks.

The park also plans to tag other birds of prey such as peregrine falcons.

The RSPB lists hen harrier as a red status species, meaning it is threatened and populations have suffered severe declines in numbers.

Karen Couper, ecological advisor at the park authority, said: "If members of the public have seen hen harriers whilst out walking or know of any hen harriers that are nesting near their home or any other location for that matter, I would encourage them to get in touch with me."

Information gathered from the tags could be made available on a public website.

The park authority also hopes schools and community groups could get involved in the tracking project.

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