The hen harrier - England’s most threatened bird of prey, which lives on moorland in Lancashire - needs young people to help raise awareness of its plight, the RSPB said today.
This year, hen harriers suffered their worst breeding season in England for five decades, failing to raise a single chick.
The conservation charity has launched the Hen Harrier Hero Awards, a new scheme where children are encouraged to carry out a range of fun activities relating to hen harriers and their moorland home.
Hen harriers should be a fairly common sight on the Lancashire moors and, until 2011, the Forest of Bowland was regarded as their last English stronghold, but there have not been any successful nests there for the past two breeding seasons. Many are killed by estates because hey tend to eat red grouse.
Blanaid Denman, who set up the scheme, explains: “Hen harriers are in desperate need of heroes. They’ve been an integral part of British wildlife since records began, yet most people have never even heard of them.
“By helping to raise awareness about our most threatened bird of prey, the award scheme won’t just help hen harriers, it will also help reconnect children with nature, teaching them about the birds, the upland landscape and the importance of looking after wildlife.”
To be a Hen Harrier Hero, children need to complete six of 15 activities in a special booklet. Log on to: www.rspb.org.uk/henharrierhero.