Fledgling success as hen harrier continues to recover in England

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The endangered hen harrier is continuing its recovery from near extinction in England with this summer set to have the highest number of chicks fledging since 2002 . Of 24 successful nests producing at least 77 fledged chicks this summer, 19 were on moors managed for red grouse, according to the Moorland Association . The grouse shooting industry hailed the success as a vindication for controversial brood management, in which some chicks are removed from nests and reared in captivity if multiple nests are made on grouse moors. Hen harriers like to nest in proximity to each other, but grouse moor managers complain that concentrations of the bird predate too many red grouse, which provide a lucrative driven grouse shooting season. The brood management trial began in 2018 but was disavowed by conservation groups such as the RSPB, who argue that chicks should not be removed while the illegal persecution of hen harriers continues. “This is another excellent year for hen harrier breeding,” said Amanda Anderson, the director of the Moorland Association. “Three good years in a row shows that we have the right strategy to help the population to recover to a sustainable level, occupying a much greater […]

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