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Hen Harrier Photo by Dennis Jacobsen

Highest number of nesting attempts by hen harriers achieved in 2023

Monday 15 April, 2024, by News Release

The latest Bird of Prey evidence report detailing bird of prey populations in the Yorkshire Dales National Park and Nidderdale National Landscape has been published, and it reveals there were 15 hen harrier nesting attempts across the Yorkshire Dales and Nidderdale in 2023 which represents the highest number of nesting attempts recorded in the area.

In 2022 there were 10 hen harrier nesting attempts across the area with six of those proving successful.

In addition, at least two pairs of Marsh Harriers were observed nest building in Nidderdale in 2022 with at least one brood of young fledged. This represents the first successful breeding in the area for this species.

However, despite the best efforts of partners and many landowners to engage in bird of prey conservation, there were six confirmed persecution incidents recorded in the Yorkshire Dales National Park in 2022, compared to 10 confirmed incidents within both protected landscapes in 2020 and seven in 2021*. Data for 2023 will be released later this year.

Additionally, Natural England report 11 tagged hen harriers as ‘missing fate unknown’ across the area in 2022 and 2023.

David Butterworth Chief Executive of the Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority said: “I applaud the efforts of local landowners who are undertaking bird of prey conversation across the National Park and it’s hugely encouraging to see Natural England reporting the growth in hen harriers at a 200-year high in England. However, persecution still persists and birds are still going missing so we mustn’t kid ourselves that it’s job done. We will continue to work with partners and others to finally see an end to the mindless killing of these incredible birds”.

Killing birds of prey is illegal. Anyone with concerns about a possible wildlife crime should call 101, and anyone witnessing a suspected wildlife crime should call 999 and ask for the Police.



*Persecution indicators are lower but there is a difference in testing rates, due to avian flu, that need to be taken into account – see page 28 of the Evidence Report.

The Bird of Prey Evidence Report 2022/23 for the Yorkshire Dales National Park and Nidderdale National Landscape can be viewed online here.


Picture of News Release

News Release

Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority


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