BBC News

Rare hen harriers fledge in Forest of Bowland

image copyrightJames Bray
image captionThe chicks, from three nests, have been tagged so their progress can be monitored

Thirteen hen harrier chicks have successfully fledged in the Forest of Bowland, the RSPB has said.

It is the first time the bird of prey has bred in the Lancashire beauty spot since 2015 when a single chick left the nest.

There were just three successful hen harrier nests recorded across the whole of England in 2017.

The chicks, from three nests, have been tagged so their progress can be monitored by conservationists.

Since early spring, RSPB staff and volunteers have been working with landowners United Utilities and their tenants to protect the nests on the estate.

They have also seen two pairs of peregrine falcons successfully fledging seven chicks between them and five pairs of merlins fledging 19 chicks, a species for which the Forest of Bowland is nationally important.

James Bray from the RSPB said it was great news to see a new generation of hen harriers take to the skies above Lancashire.

"It has been such a joy to watch these young birds flying around the estate after having to endure two terrible breeding seasons without any nests at all. "

Hen harrier (Circus cyaneus)

image copyrightAndy Hay
  • Hen harriers are almost owl-like in their facial appearance
  • The face shape helps the harriers to detect prey by focusing sound waves
  • During the breeding season, males perform a spectacular "sky-dance" with a series of steep climbs, twists and rolls
  • Hen harriers nest in loose colonies, with males simultaneously raising several broods with as many as seven females
  • Source: BBC Nature

Related Topics

  • RSPB

More on this story

  • Rare male hen harriers 'missing' from Forest of Bowland