Thursday, 14 June 2007

Volunteers rally to safeguard breeding Hen Harriers

A task force of volunteers has rallied round to help with a 24-hour security operation to watch over a pair of rare birds of prey that are nesting at a secret location in Northumberland.

The pair of Hen Harriers has settled in north Northumberland, and the RSPB, Forestry Commission, National Wildlife Crime Unit and Northumbria Police are working together to safeguard the nest, with funding support from SITA Trust.

There are only 15 active harrier nests known in the whole of England this year. All but three are in one area of Lancashire, where most of the land is owned by United Utilities, and the nests are monitored by the RSPB and others.

More than 25 volunteers are helping to watch over the Northumberland birds and they are working day and night alongside RSPB officers, Forestry Commission rangers, members of the Northumberland & Tyneside Bird Club and the Police. The harrier ‘task force’ is equipped with high-powered optics, cameras, specialist night vision equipment and other security measures are in place in the area where the birds are nesting.

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