Male Hen Harriers suddenly disappear in Peak District


Fears of foul play are circulating after two male Hen Harriers suddenly disappeared in the Peak District National Park.

Derbyshire Wildlife Trust said in a statement released on 12 May that the birds had seemingly vanished overnight, with their respective disappearances leading to two active Hen Harrier nests being abandoned. Each nest contained five eggs, representing a huge blow to the species' survival in the area.

Hen Harrier is struggling to maintain a population in the Peak District. In 2021, just a single pair nested, fledging four young. However, breeding remains sporadic in the National Park overall, with just seven successful nesting attempts in the past 24 years.

Two male Hen Harriers have suddenly disappeared in the Peak District National Park (Al Henderson).

Dave Savage, of Derbyshire Wildlife Trust, said: "This is devastating. Hen Harriers are rare and the loss of up to 12 [two adults and 10 eggs] is huge. While we don't yet know the reason these birds have disappeared, the extensive history of wildlife crime in the Peak District means we're extremely concerned about what happened.

It's a huge loss for us all. Hen Harriers should be seen frequently here, but instead they are struggling due to persecution and the way that the land is managed."