Adult female hen harrier approaching nest with food

Peak District Bird of Prey Initiative highlights mixed fortunes for birds of prey

Sheffield & Rotherham Wildlife Trust remain extremely concerned about the overall bird of prey population and their ongoing survival in the Sheffield Peak District.

Whilst the release of the latest Peak District Bird of Prey Initiative annual report for 2018 indicates some improvement in breeding success compared to 2017 the figures continue to remain well below the Initiative’s own targets.

And unfortunately there is mixed news for our birds of prey here in Sheffield.

Liz Ballard, Sheffield & Rotherham Wildlife Trust CEO, said:

“Goshawks continue to be generally absent from the Sheffield Peak District, where once they were well-known. And despite the early optimism at Hen Harrier Day, with four young Hen Harriers successfully fledging from our local moors, this has since gone to frustration and dismay when two satellite tagged fledglings subsequently disappeared in suspicious circumstances – one on Broomhead Moor in Sheffield.

“Grouse moors are consistently linked with the illegal persecution of birds of prey, and we hope questions will continue to be asked of the Broomhead Estate about the disappearance of this bird over their land.

“We’re looking forward to welcoming Mike Price of the Peak District Raptor Monitoring Group, who has been closely involved in the Initiative, to our Birds of Prey event next month.”

Hen Harrier Day, by Nicky Rivers
Hen Harrier Day, by Nicky Rivers

Although the report highlights an increase in the number of gamekeepers and estates engaging positively with the Initiative, the sheer number of ‘issues’ creates an overall picture that significant problems continue between intensively farmed grouse moors and the survival of our birds of prey.

Mike Price of the Peak District Raptor Monitoring Group will be talking about the Initiative and more widely about the issues concerning the declines of some of our best-loved birds of prey at a special event hosted by Sheffield & Rotherham Wildlife Trust on 23 January 2019.

The talk will also touch upon the Trust’s work leading the Sheffield Lakeland Landscape Partnership, funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund, which will be carrying out projects with the potential to support a range of species, including birds of prey such as the goshawk.

Booking is essential for the Birds of Prey event on 23 January. To secure your place, visit wildsheffield.com/event/birds-of-prey. The event starts at 6.45pm and is free for members of the Trust and £5 for non-members.

For further information on Sheffield & Rotherham Wildlife Trust’s campaign against the persecution, poisoning and decline of birds of prey, visit wildsheffield.com/campaign/birds-of-prey

Anyone with information to report about wildlife crime should contact the police on 101 or Crimestoppers on 0800 555111.