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Hen Harrier sighting


Male Hen Harrier spotted hunting over one of our upland sites

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This striking photo of a male Hen Harrier was taken on one of our upland sites with it’s distinctive blue grey upper parts and jet black wing-tips. Uplands with heather moorlands and young conifer plantations provide ideal breeding habitats for Hen Harriers. Unfortunately, these ‘skydancers’ are now Amber-listed in the Birds of Conservation Concern in Ireland, facing extinction in Ireland due to such factors including afforestation and maturation of forests. However, there is a glimmer of hope for this species as agri-environmental schemes, such as the Green Low-carbon Agri-Environment Scheme (GLAS), which came into effect in 2015, includes measures aiming to promote the maintenance and creation of suitable habitat for Hen Harriers. Hopefully these measures, in conjunction with the adoption of more sustainable farming methods and a reduction in afforestation, will save this magnificent aerial acrobat from the brink of extinction in Ireland.