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Rare hen harrier chicks hatch in the Forest of Bowland

Posted on - 17th June, 2019 - 7:00pm | Author - | Posted in - Preston News, Wildlife and Conservation
A hen harrier chick Pic: RSPB
A hen harrier chick Pic: RSPB

Hen harrier chicks are found to have hatched in the Forest of Bowland.

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RSPB staff and volunteers discovered the four nests in the United Utilities Bowland Estate in early Spring.

Only nine successful nests were found in the whole of the UK last year, a third of which were on the Boland Estate.

The area is the last remaining stronghold for breeding hen harriers.

The nests have been under observation and recent changes in behaviour of the female hen harriers indicate chicks have now hatched.

A female hen harrier in flight Pic: RSPB/Andy Hay
A female hen harrier in flight Pic: RSPB/Andy Hay

RSPB’s Bowland project officer James Bray said: “It’s great news that hen harriers are breeding on the Bowland Estate for the second consecutive year. We were delighted last season when birds successfully nested after two disappointing years but we were fearful it might have been a one-off as the population remains perilously low.

“This gives us some hope for the future. Last year, we saw 13 chicks fledge at Bowland; perhaps this year we might have even more.”

Read more: Why the RSPCA in Preston closed and what the future now holds

Hen harriers are renowned for the male’s aerial courtship display known as skydancing.

Forest of Bowland’s Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty Partnership’s Elliot Lorimer said: “We are absolutely delighted that there are hen harrier nests again this year on the UU Bowland Estate and have our fingers crossed for the newly hatched chicks”

Anyone visiting the Forest of Bowland this summer is asked to keep to tracks and footpaths to avoid disturbing ground nesting birds.

Read more: See more wildlife and conservation news in Preston

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