Welcome to the Hen Harrier LIFE Project

An exciting five year programme of hen harrier conservation.

Working cross-border to secure a future for one of the UK's most beautiful and threatened birds of prey.

Running until 2019, the LIFE project combines satellite tagging, on-the-ground monitoring, nest protection, investigations work, awareness-raising; and working with volunteer raptor field workers, landowners and local communities to protect hen harriers across northern England and southern and eastern Scotland.

About the Project

Hen harriers travel widely so to protect them in one area, we need to protect them wherever they go. Building on existing projects and working with volunteers, landowners, other organisations, and statutory bodies, we aim to create an effective conservation network for hen harriers across the project area.

Satellite tagging

A key part of the project is the satellite tagging of as many chicks as possible to better understand where they go and identify where they're most at risk. You'll be able to follow online as we track the activities of these fascinating birds.

Conservation & monitoring

Working closely with experienced licensed volunteers to monitor hen harriers on the ground, the project is also funding two new full-time Assistant Investigations Officers and providing access to new state-of-the-art technology for remote monitoring and protection.

Working together

As well as ensuring good habitat for hen harriers on our reserves, the project seeks to work with and add to existing initiatives and partnerships, such as the Langholm Moor Demonstration Project and PAW Scotland Heads Up for Hen Harriers scheme.

Raising awareness

The project will work with local communities, schools, gamekeeping colleges and landowners across the project area, building on the success of the award-winning Skydancer Project.

Hen Harriers are in trouble

Special Protection Areas

The project covers seven Special Protection Areas (SPAs) designated for breeding hen harriers designated under the European Birds Directive, two in England and five in Scotland, shown here on our map. However, hen harriers travel widely outside the breeding season, so to protect them inside the SPAs, we will also be working outside these protected areas and across northern England, southern and eastern Scotland.

See the map
Map of Special Protection Areas

Why do hen harriers Skydance?

Watch one of nature's most awe-inspiring spectacles — the hen harrier's skydance — and learn more about their behaviours 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.

Skydancer film

Watch the award-winning HLF-funded Skydancer Project film to learn more about hen harriers and the issues surrounding their protection.

Become a Hen Harrier Hero. Activities for Kids!

By learning about hen harriers and persuading others to care about them too, you will be helping us to save these amazing birds of prey!

With 15 fun activities to choose from, will you be a hero or a superhero?

Visit the Hen Harrier Hero website to download your free activity book.

Download pack

Have you seen a hen harrier?

If you think you've seen a hen harrier let us know. Information on the date, time, and location of sighting (grid reference if possible), and a description of the bird will help us to track these elusive birds and inform our conservation work.

*calls charged at local rates

See how to identify hen harrier with our bird identifier

Look at the bird identifier
Hen harrier

Stay in touch

Want to keep up to date with the latest news on hen harriers?

Read our blog Follow @rspb_skydancer

Hen harriers need your help

Donate to our hen harrier appeal to support this project
and other vital conservation work for hen harriers.

Donate now

Funding the project

This project is 50% funded by the RSPB and 50% through the EU LIFE scheme, which funds conservation and other environmental projects right across Europe.

The SPAs targeted by the project form part of Natura 2000, a network of important sites for wildlife covering the whole of the EU. This network is made up of SPAs for birds and Special Areas of Conservation (SACs) for other species and habitats. These sites are the 'jewels in the crown' of European nature conservation and are protected under both national and EU law.

Wildlife Success of the Year

The hen harrier was awarded Countryfile's Conservation Success of the Year in February 2016 due to the fact that public awareness of the plight of this bird of prey has increased and its welfare is now in the spotlight.