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Skydancer
Get the latest news on our hen harrier conservation work, including the five-year Hen Harrier Life+ project.
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  • Blog Post: Second 2016 hen harrier goes missing

    I’m sorry to have to report that we have lost another of this year’s satellite tagged hen harrier chicks. Brian, named after the very experienced raptor worker Brian Etheridge, was one of our non-public-facing birds. With the permission of the landowner and help of local Scottish Raptor...
  • Blog Post: Guest blog: Finn the hen harrier takes flight

    Findlay Wilde is the young conservationist and blogger behind Wilde About Birds . Finn is a young female hen harrier who, together with her three brothers, fledged from one of two nests on Forestry Commission land in Northumberland this month. Finn was satellite tagged as part of the Hen Harrier LIFE...
  • Blog Post: Introducing a Bonny wee hen harrier

    With the notable exception of Henry , few living hen harriers manage to achieve national celebrity status. But at barely six weeks old, our young male, Bonny, is already well used to the public eye, after the fitting of his satellite tag by trained and licensed RSPB staff was filmed and featured on the...
  • Blog Post: Elwood Blues: First tagged hen harrier of 2016 goes missing

    Ian Thomson is RSPB Scotland's Head of Investigations, whose team help to monitor the data from our satellite tagged hen harriers. Here he shares some upsetting news. We knew it would happen sooner or later, I just hoped that for once it might be later... It’s very disappointing to have...
  • Blog Post: Guest Blog: Researchers develop forensic DNA kit for hen harriers

    Dr. Arati Iyengar is from the School of Forensic & Applied Sciences at the University of Central Lancashire (UCLan), who have recently developed a forensic DNA kit, SkydancerPlex, which allows individual hen harriers to be identified from tiny samples of blood or feathers. To celebrate this research...
  • Blog Post: The hen harrier rollercoaster continues...

    It's a turbulent and uncertain time for nature conservation (and everything else) in the wake of last week's EU referendum result. The hen harrier is just one of the schedule 1 species currently afforded protection under the European Birds Directive. What will replace this and other vital pieces...
  • Blog Post: Another missing hen harrier

    Just over a week ago, I shared with you the incredible story of Chance, a young female hen harrier who surprised us all with her continental winter migrations. Today however, I have another story to share – another female hen harrier, fledged in 2014, the same year as Chance, this time from the...
  • Blog Post: The decline of the hen harrier in NE Scotland

    By Ian Thomson, Head of Investigations, RSPB Scotland There is no denying that the hen harrier is one of our most spectacular and enigmatic birds of prey. It breeds in remote, out-of-the-way locations, often in the uplands, miles away from the biggest centres of human population. For me, it’s...
  • Blog Post: An update on Holly the hen harrier

    If you have been following the movements of our satellite tagged birds on our website, you will have noticed that we lost Holly in mid-October 2015, quite soon after she was featured. Needless to say, the project team were gutted as we were looking forward to following her travels and sharing them with...
  • Blog Post: Why do hen harriers skydance?

    Watch one of nature's most awe-inspiring spectacles — the hen harrier's skydance — and learn more about their breeding behaviour in this short video. Keep your eyes peeled when visiting the British uplands in the spring and you could be lucky enough to see this for yourself!
  • Blog Post: We want to dance in the Peak District – Hen Harrier Day 2015

    Guest blog by Helen Byron, Area Conservation Manager I’m just back from a weekend of hen harrier events in the Peak District, which the RSPB was delighted to support. On Saturday night, we were at the Palace Hotel in Buxton for Hen Harrier Eve: celebrating the hen harrier , an event organised...
  • Blog Post: First hen harriers tagged as part of the LIFE+ project

    Bea Ayling (Hen Harrier LIFE+ Project Manager) In June and July, a number of hen harrier chicks across England and Scotland were satellite tagged as part of the RSPB’s new Hen Harrier LIFE+ Project. The project seeks to better understand the movements of these magnificent birds to help identify...
  • Blog Post: Wanted: Your thoughts on our new Skydancer film

    If you haven’t already seen our new Skydancer film, please a spare 10 minutes and watch it here . Made by Northumberland-based Haltwhistle Film Project , we hope it offers an engaging and inspiring introduction to hen harriers and the challenges they face. Filmed in Yorkshire, Lancashire...
  • Blog Post: Introducing James Bray

    This week we hear from the newest member of the Skydancer team who tells us a bit about himself and his new role, as well as giving us an update on our sat-tagged birds, Burt and Highlander. Hello. My name is James Bray and I have just started as the RSPB’s Bowland Project Officer, and my role...
  • Blog Post: LIFE support for hen harriers - 2015 and beyond

    Suddenly it’s March (where did February go??), which means that any moment now the breeding season will begin in earnest. And of course the big question is hanging in the air is what will this year hold for hen harriers? I both love and hate this time of year – so much hope, so much possibility...
  • Blog Post: Ghosts of the Moors

    This week we welcome guest blogger Findlay Wilde. A passionate young conservationist, Findlay has spent the past year campaigning for hen harriers. Here, he explains how he first got interested in the bird of prey and what he has been doing to help the species. Hen harriers. Aren’t they just...
  • Blog Post: Happy New Year from Bowland

    With little movement from Burt and Highlander since my last update (still residing in North Cumbria and the South Pennines respectively), this blog is simply an excuse to share some photographs (all my own unless stated otherwise) and experiences with you of a place that is really special to me. I’m...
  • Blog Post: Hen harrier-inspired music

    This week we’ve got a guest blog from Laurence Rose, former RSPB Northern England Director and a composer, who talks about his hen harrier-inspired composition, Skydancer. I first saw hen harriers skydancing in the late seventies. It was in the Forest of Bowland and the memory of the birds,...
  • Blog Post: Sky and Hope: A plea for information

    Regular readers of this blog will be aware that we have been trying to find out what happened to Sky and Hope, two young hen harriers that fledged from nests in Bowland this year. We were tracking the movements of these birds by satellite but their tags suddenly stopped transmitting last month, within...
  • Blog Post: Missing: Sky and Hope

    � Last week we were in high spirits, celebrating our National Lottery Award for Best Education project. This week though, we received some news that has left us devastated. It has emerged that two of the hen harrier chicks that fledged this year on the United Utilities Bowland Estate have vanished...
  • Blog Post: Skydancer Glams It Up

    Skydancer has won Best Education Project in the National Lottery Awards 2014. We were shortlisted from over 750 projects across the UK. Last Friday representatives of the Skydancer team, including past project officer Blánaid Denman, and a gamekeeping student Ryan Mort, and lecturer Brian Sweeney...
  • Blog Post: The private life of hen harriers

    Now is the time of year when hen harrier chicks have fledged the nest. Adults and juveniles may stay close by for the winter, while others can move to communal winter roosts in coastal areas, wetland or reed beds. Some have been known to go as far as France or Spain. This video “ The private...
  • Blog Post: Tracking harriers - introducing Bowland's Burt, Hope, Highlander and Sky

    So we’ve had a few technical IT issues here but we are now up and running and I’m extremely pleased to be able to bring you the first update from some of the young harriers satellite tagged this year on the United Utilities Bowland estate. So far so good for the two young from the first...
  • Blog Post: Hen Harrier Day in Pictures

    In case you weren't able to make it along to one of the three incredibly inspiring Hen Harrier Day events on Sunday (or even if you were!), I thought I'd share with you an overview of the Peak district event in pictures. For a fuller account of the day, see our Investigations blog here . All...
  • Blog Post: Working with hen harriers - the highs and the lows

    I am pleased to present a guest blog from Mick Demain, the RSPB's seasonal assistant warden in Bowland for the last few years, reflecting on his last few years monitoring harriers Being the seasonal warden for the RSPB in Bowland means I am privileged to be working with raptors every day and undoubtedly...