Yorkshire estate recognized for conservation efforts to protect Britain’s most persecuted bird, the hen harrier Yorkshire News

Once a common sight on the uplands and heather moors, the hen harrier is now one of the rarest bird species in the UK with fewer than 700 breeding pairs.

North Yorkshire’s Swinton Estate has been a partner in the government’s hen harrier action plan since 2016, with some 23 chicks successfully fledging there since 2013.

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Rangers carefully monitor nests to prevent chicks from being persecuted and provide additional food to breeding adults to help ensure the survival of their young.

A hen harrier on the Swinton Estate.

Now, as recognized within the top one per cent of estates in the UK for its breeding population of hen harriers, the head of the family estate, Mark Cunliffe-Lister, has spoken of the importance of such actions in boosting biodiversity. .

Mr Cunliffe-Lister, who is also President of the Moorland Association, said: “Our commitment to helping the hen harrier population return to ‘favourable conservation status’ is working, as more and more of these charismatic birds are now seen on land to manage, along with the remarkable increase in reproductive success.

“Herrier Harriers, Curlews and other ground-nesting birds are thriving on our carefully managed moors, bucking the trend of severe decline elsewhere.

He added: “Practical upland conservation action is a key element in boosting England’s biodiversity.”

An adult Curlew on the Swinton Estate

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The hen harrier, on the RSPB red list as one of the most endangered birds of prey, nearly became extinct in 1900 as a breeding bird on mainland Britain.

Under conservation efforts on the Swinton Estate, winter roosts are monitored to protect them from persecution or disturbance, with some Natural England-tagged satellites keeping an eye on behaviors and migration patterns.

Rangers provide supplemental food to adult hen harriers to boost the success of their young, while also helping to protect chicks of other rare species from predation.

The farm is also involved in test brood management schemes, testing the feasibility of raising chicks in captivity before releasing them to develop into healthy adults in the wild.

Last year some 84 hen harrier chicks fledged in northern England, the highest number in 35 years.

There were 24 successful nests, 19 of which are on moorland actively managed for red grouse, in Northumberland, North Yorkshire, County Durham, Cumbria, South Yorkshire and Lancashire.

The Swinton Estate will receive a Red List Revival ‘Life on Land’ award for its conservation work benefiting rare birds.

As well as hen harriers, the North Yorkshire estate has species such as curlew, golden plover, skylark, pipit and red grouse.

Curlews and skylarks are also on the red list, requiring urgent conservation action, and Swinton is also recognized within the top 10 percent of properties for its conservation efforts with curlews.

Redlist Revival is a charity aimed at promoting successful management of priority species and factors affecting success, with an initial focus on birds of conservation concern, recording data to gauge habitat and species performance.


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This notice was published: 2022-04-16 15:45:36

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