5269444_300Part of our strategy for Hen Harrier Day is to record conversations with experts and release them in the form of podcasts.

If you’re not sure what a podcast is, or what to do with one, think of them as the equivalent of a radio programme that you can listen to at your convenience. All you need to do is follow a link (our podcasts are stored on our Soundcloud stream – so just go to https://soundcloud.com/bawc), choose the podcast you’d like to listen to first, and press play. Nothing get’s downloaded to your computer and you can stop listening any time.

We’re trying to get a range of views so we’re talking with a range of people.

As it’s not BAWC that is being interviewed – and our guests have plenty of great things to say anyway – we tend to ask just a few questions and let the guest do the talking without interruption.

We’ve compiled a list for any journalists/writers who may be interested in some of the key quotes from these podcasts.
Mark Avery, conservationist, former RSPB Conservation Director:

  • ‘Things have got worse – they haven’t got better’

    ‘We haven’t lost because we’re still in the game. This is going to be a fantastic summer – the Summer of the Hen Harrier. The first of many summers of the Hen Harrier’

    ‘They’ve [Hen Harriers] had 60 years of protection and we’ve got far fewer of them’

    ‘The science says there ought to be 340 pairs of Hen Harriers nesting in the north of England and this year there are three’

    ‘The enemy of the Hen Harrier is the grouse shooting industry’

    ‘Going back a few years, people involved with game shooting were far more honest and admitted that the lack of Hen Harriers is because, yes, crime happens up in the hills’

Terry Pickford, conservationist, veteran activist and a founder member of North West Raptor Protection Group

  • ‘In 1974 [the Forest of Bowland] had 39 breeding females…every single estate had Hen Harriers…but many of them were interfered with’

    ‘Derek Ratcliffe [former Chief Scientist for the Nature Conservancy Council] was asked the reason why there had been such a calamitous collapse in Hen Harriers in the Forest of Bowland and he said ‘I can’t think of anything else other than persecution’

    ‘These things are disappearing from grouse moors and the only reason is that the ‘keepers are killing them. There’s no doubt about that. I’ve seen it.’

    ‘The keeper had his hand around the neck of a Hen Harrier’

    ‘We will never, ever accept Hen Harriers on Red Grouse moors in Bowland [the words of a land agent]‘

    ‘We’ve had the Natural England Hen Harrier initiative for years now, hundreds of thousands of pounds, and they’re stalling for time. When it started there were more Hen Harriers than there are now. ‘

    ‘It’s worse now, Charlie, than it’s ever been before’

    ‘As soon as they put the satellite tags on, within a year or 18 months they’ve disappeared. I understand they’ve all gone down on grouse moors – they’ve not gone down anywhere else’


Andre Farrar, RSPB Campaigns Manager

  • ‘It was quite a shock…the visceral loathing that gamekeepers had for Hen Harriers’

    ‘Little’s changed over the intervening 30 years – except it’s got harder and harder for Hen Harriers’

    ‘Wherever birds nest, we do know there are risks and threats to these birds [Hen Harriers]‘

    ‘We are looking for change in the shooting industry – particularly in the uplands’

    ‘We see an industry which is intensifying year by year’

    ‘There has to be a recognition that the impact on our uplands is now getting very extreme’

    ‘The fact that there is a couple of hen harrier nests this year is great news, but it’s a minor advance in what is a long term degradation of our hills brought about by the intensification of the grouse industry’

    ‘What’s happening to Hen Harriers is driven by illegal activity’

    ‘Until the foot of the industry is taken off the throat of nesting Hen Harriers it’s going to be very hard to sign up to a recovery plan that doesn’t contain any recovery’

Bob Elliot, RSPB Head of Investigations

  • ‘Without doubt there is widespread persecution of Hen Harriers’

    ‘[The intensive grouse grouse system is] where we have the most trouble with the illegal killing of birds of prey in particular’

    ‘The Hen Harrier is actually just one species in a suite that the police, the Partnership against Wildlife Crime, and others are very concerned about’

    ‘The RSPB bases it’s work on conservation science…The science tells us that these birds [Hen Harriers] are being killed by human beings’

    ‘What will save Hen Harriers is society turning against the people killing them’


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