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Hen harrier chicks fledge in the Forest of Bowland

Posted on - 2nd August, 2019 - 12:00pm | Author - | Posted in - Preston News, Wildlife and Conservation
A hen harrier in flight Pic: rado_vaclav
A hen harrier in flight Pic: rado_vaclav

Populations of a bird of prey near Preston have been given a boost.

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The RSPB has announced 22 hen harrier chicks have fledged their nests.

Five nests in the Forest of Bowland have been monitored by the charity in the United Utilities estate.

It is the second year in a row of chicks fledging the nests in Bowland after 13 chicks fledged in 2018.

The Forest of Bowland, an area of outstanding natural beauty, used to be a stronghold for the hen harrier and it is hoped the area can now be restored as one.

The hen harrier chicks
The hen harrier chicks

RSPB Bowland project officer James Bray said: “I feel really proud to have been involved in helping these chicks to fledge. The RSPB team of staff and volunteers, United Utilities and their tenants have all worked incredibly hard to make this season a success and we all want to see them thrive. It has been such a joy to see this small local population grow from three to five pairs over two increasingly successful years, having endured two terrible years before that, without any nests at all.

“The increase this year is likely to be a combination of many factors but sensitive management of the estate, ensuring plenty of good nesting habitat, and the fact that hen harriers nested successfully last year, will both have helped. I live in hope that one day soon we’ll see a return to the 20-30 hen harrier nests that were a common sight in Bowland in the 1980’s.

“As a partnership, we’re doing everything we can here and are all excited to see where these birds travel to once they leave the estate, however, we can’t help but remain anxious about their future.”

Since early Spring the RSPB, United Utlities, the Forest of Bowland Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and famers have been working together to help the birds of prey.

Read more: Bee centre near Preston given hive donation boost

Catchment manager for the Bowland Estate, Matt Upton, said: “I would like to thank everyone involved for their continued conservation efforts. All the hard work and dedication has paid off again this year and it’s a real joy to see these magnificent birds of prey are one again choosing to make Bowland their home.”

Forest of Bowland AONB manager, Elliott Lorimer, said: “This year has seen such a great partnership effort and this latest success is testament to all those involved. It has been a pleasure to see these very special birds back and raising chicks in the Forest of Bowland.”

Read more: Fish deaths due to wild changes in temperature in Preston

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