Now even the greatest Hen Harrier fan would be hard pushed to describe this bird of prey as beautiful, or cute - amazing, enigmatic, breath taking definitely, but cute ....... umm perhaps not - However cute is exactly the word I used this morning when I had the pleasure of seeing all the chicks for the first time on screen.
We are now blessed with 3 bundles of joy, all white, fluffy and typical of any new born their heads seemingly too big for their bodies; as they stumble around all bleary eyed with nothing more than sleep and food on their mind.
We do still have another egg in the nest, Pete Wilson (our RSPB expert and man in the field) tells me that this egg will now not hatch and mum will probably remove it from the nest soon.
Approximately 50% of all Bowland Hen Harriers are tagged, enabling the experts to track and learn more about them, as well as help in the protection of the birds. Interestingly this year neither of the stars of our show - male or female (mum and dad to me) are winged tagged, the odds of both birds being a Bowland bird and not being tagged would be slim to say the least (although of course not impossible) and may suggest that one or both of the birds do not originate from Bowland. Whilst it is a lovely thought that Hen Harriers who were not born in Bowland are choosing to come and nest here, as they recognise it as a viable and safe nesting area, it is pure speculation and it could quite well be that both do originate from Bowland. I will leave that one for the Hen Harrier aficionados Pete and Stephen to discuss and make educated determinations - good luck lads :)
Whilst coming up to the visitor centre to see the footage of these magnificent birds of prey on the big screen is a fabulous experience; it really is a privilege to be able to see these birds of prey up close. I would also recommend attending one of the Hen Harrier Safaris that our RSPB colleague Pete has been running. These have proved really popular and regrettably there are just 2 more in the series this year. So why not join Pete and take the chance of seeing a Hen Harrier and other birds (merlins and ouzels) in the wild, as well (of course) enjoy the expert commentary and knowledge of Pete (he didn't even have to pay me for that one :) ). There are only a couple of places left so if you want to book a place please click on the following link Hen Harrier Safari