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Heads up for Harriers - Have you seen hen harriers?

Have you seen hen harriers?
  • We want a clearer picture of where hen harriers are being seen in early spring and then evidently disappearing later on. There may be several reasons for this: They may simply have moved on for natural reasons, or been harassed and forced to move (which is illegal); or

  • Birds may have been killed naturally by large predators such as golden eagles and foxes, or illegally by people; or

  • Harriers may have settled to nest and then been overlooked (they can be inconspicuous).

We are fortunate in having a well-established, formal monitoring scheme for hen harriers and other birds of prey. The Scottish Raptor Monitoring Scheme has several hundred skilled volunteers and professionals recording and reporting details of attempted nesting and subsequent success of hen harriers and other birds of prey.  Alternatively, many birdwatchers report sightings to the British trust for Ornithology's Bird Track website. We  tap into this information to build up a better picture of the whereabouts of the birds.

How can you help?

We are looking to members of the public to report any sightings of hen harriers.

People are urged not to disturb the birds near their nests or roosts. It is an offence to intentionally or recklessly disturb a hen harrier (or its dependant young), whilst it is in or building a nest, or near a nest containing eggs or young or to harass it at any time.

Instead, we are simply looking for sightings of hen harriers made whilst people are walking, birdwatching, driving, looking out of the window in a train or bus, or even whilst at work!