Hen Harrier Shooting Tragedy

A rare shot of a male Hen Harrier swooping to feed its young

The protection and conservation of raptor species is now very much a global concern, and if you read our last blog entry you will see that we brought news of the dreadful killing of 52 Red-footed falcons as they migrated over Cyprus last month.

Sadly, this type of mindless killing can also be found closer to home - here in the UK.  

Many of the UK's leading newspapers recently ran a story about the killing of two Hen Harriers, which were found shot dead at Dresingham Bog, close to the Sandringham Estate. The story hit the headlines because Prince Harry was believed to have been shooting in the area at the time.

Hen harriers are the country's most persecuted bird of prey and are often shot by gamekeepers because they feed on game birds such as pheasants and grouse being reared for shoots, says the RSPB.

Hen harriers are rare in England where it is estimated that there are only 20 breeding pairs. They are legally protected and the killing of one carries a six-month jail sentence or a £5,000 fine. An RSPB spokesman said: "The population should be ten times higher than it is."  

Norfolk police are continuing their investigation, and we will of course keep you updated with any further developments regarding this story.

For the full story by Andy McSmith, go to