30/07/2015
Share 

Montagu’s Harrier breeds success

1130718c-a9cd-4d39-b289-098f86a26ac4
The female Montagu's Harrier at Blacktoft Sands RSPB. Two chicks were successfully reared. Photo by Graham Catley (www.rspb-images.com).
The female Montagu's Harrier at Blacktoft Sands RSPB. Two chicks were successfully reared. Photo by Graham Catley (www.rspb-images.com).

Staff and volunteers at Blacktoft Sands RSPB, East Yorkshire, are celebrating after a pair of Montagu’s Harriers successfully fledged two chicks this summer, the charity has announced.

The harrier is Britain’s rarest breeding bird of prey, with an estimated 12-16 pairs. The chicks are among a handful raised this year. The Blacktoft Sands pair is the only one in northern England, with the remaining pairs confined to East Anglia and the South-West. The species is Amber Listed as a Species of Conservation Concern in the UK.

The rarity of Montagu’s Harriers means they are a prime target for egg collectors. As a result, nest sites are kept secret and RSPB staff and local birders at Blacktoft maintained a constant watch over the nest during the summer.

Pete Short, RSPB Humber Sites Manager, said: “We’re delighted that the Montagu’s Harriers have successfully raised chicks for the second year running on the Humber and I feel proud that we’ve played a role in trying to help secure the future of this amazing bird in Britain. Nationally Montagu’s Harriers have not had a great breeding season, so these two young birds are extra special.

“The chicks and their parents can still be seen flying around Blacktoft Sands, but these migratory birds will soon head off to West Africa for the winter. We are keeping our fingers crossed that they will return again next year.”

Written by: Birdwatch news team