Breeding Hen Harriers in England in 2021 by Bob Jones

The following is a summary taken from a Natural England Blog.
In 2021 there were 31 breeding attempts with 24 successful, fledging 84 chicks. The highest number in modern times from a low in 2016.
The results are from the hen harrier action plan published by DEFRA
Illegal persecution on land managed for grouse shooting remains the main threat to the recovery of hen harriers and Natural England are committed to tackling illegal wildlife persecution .

Twelve of the birds that bred this year bore satellite tags used to track the fortunes of individual birds; analysis of data from satellite tagged birds continues.

In 2021 additional food was provided at 4 sites on grouse moors to reduce predation of grouse but more work as to best practice with such feeding is ongoing.


Brood management trials continue where by eggs are taken from nests and reared in captivity; all 8 chicks raised in this way in 2021 were released successfully. Of 8 birds raised in 2020 in this way 6 survived the winter, 5 attempted to breed with 4 doing so successfully.
There are plans to look at reintroducing the bird into the south of England .
All those involved will need to work together to tackle the barriers to success, particularly in turning the tide on illegal persecution which continues to stifle widespread recovery.
(Whilst this was not mentioned in the NE report I believe that some conservation bodies, including RSPB, take the view that funds would be better used in the fight against illegal persecution.