Skip to main content
Birds of Prey Hen Harrier - Photo Credit: Dave Dimmock

C5 – Illegal persecution of raptors

Work with moorland managers and other key stakeholders to devise and implement a local approach to end illegal persecution of raptors, including independent and scientifically robust monitoring, and co-ordinated Hen Harrier nest and winter roost site protection.

How the local partners are doing on this objective


The local group is continuing to agree co-ordination of nest and roost monitoring led by Natural England. The group’s second evidence report was published in March 2023 and can be viewed here. The report showed that in 2021, 9 chicks fledged (following 26 the year before) – figures cover both YDNP & Nidderdale AONB. This compares with no chicks being fledged at all between 2007 and 2017.

However, the group is aware of a recent persecution incident involving a satellite tagged bird in the National Park. The local group intends to publish a third evidence report in December 2023, which will cover the most recent data on breeding results and persecution incidents from 2022 & 2023.

Press Releases & related articles:

15 April 2024 – 2022/23 Bird of Prey Evidence Report Published by Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority

1 December 2023 – Reaction to the RSPB Birdcrime Report

5 May 2023 – Response to the death of ‘Free’, a Natural England tagged hen harrier

4 May 2023 – Second Bird of Prey Evidence Report Published by Yorkshire Dales Bird of Prey Partnership

15 December 2022 – The Yorkshire Dales Bird of Prey Partnership Reaction to the Whernside Raptor Persecution Incident

23 March 2022 – First Bird of Prey Evidence Report Published by Yorkshire Dales Bird of Prey Partnership

27 October 2021 – Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority Reaction To RSPB Birdcrime Report 2020

16 August 2021 – Kicking to see what’s alive: wildlife surveys carried out

11 March 2021 – Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority Strongly Condemn Recent Shootings of Birds of Prey

9 September 2020 – More Hen Harriers Being Bred While Raptor Persecution Continues

Rationale: There were no successful breeding pairs of Hen Harrier in the National Park between 2007 and 2017.  Populations of other important raptor species (e.g. Peregrine and Goshawk) remain much lower than might be expected.  There have been regular instances of raptor persecution in the National Park.  Illegal persecution of raptors was one of the most commonly raised issues in the public consultation.

Lead partner:  Natural England

Supporting partners:  Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority; North Yorkshire Police; Cumbria Police; Lancashire Police; Moorland Association; British Association for Shooting and Conservation; Northern England Raptor Forum

Further information:  YDNPA – Wildlife Crime; YDNPA Bird of Prey evidence report

Cost over 5 years:    £400,000

Funding shortfall:  None

Related objectives:  C1; C2

Ecosystem services:  Biodiversity; Sense of place and inspiration

Trade-offs:    There is evidence that a prevalence of birds of prey can have impacts on the productivity of grouse moors. e.g. Such impacts will be managed in accordance with the Defra policy on brood management.

Baseline: 1 pair of nesting hen harriers in 2017/18.