The hen harrier is thought by many people to be the most beautiful and graceful of all our birds of prey. There are only a handful of birds scattered around the country and hundreds of thousands of people every year try to catch a glimpse of their stunning acrobatic manoeuvres so why are they so mistreated and victimized?
The answer is that the birds eat, amongst other things, grouse. The fact that they take a few grouse in order to sustain themselves and their chicks in some of the most inhospitable areas of Britain means that they have made some extremely powerful enemies because many rich people like to shoot grouse for sport.
The law forbids that anyone harm or kill a hen harrier but when it comes to enforcement the law seems to be a very blunt instrument. You can find evidence of that on the Raptor Persecution UK website.
Earlier this year a man who was found setting three illegal pole traps in the Yorkshire Dales (almost certainly meant to catch hen harriers) escaped with a police caution. Had the man been successful in his attempt to catch hen harriers he would have inflicted insufferable pain on the poor creatures and denied countless thousands of people the opportunity to see them.
Only last week a young harrier that was fitted with a tracking device suddenly disappeared from the radar and it is widely suspected that it was shot and its tracking device destroyed.
Here at Education Quizzes we ask just one question of landowners who allow the persecution of any of our magnificent birds of prey – “Do you think it is fair that to cater for the wishes of a miniscule proportion of our population you deny the rest of us the opportunity to enjoy the birds that we hold in trust for the next generation?”
If you are interested in birds of prey by the way, you might like to take a peek at our 60+, free-to-play nature quizzes. We have loads about birds, including one devoted to falcons, owls and swifts. Go on, give it a go!