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Hen harrier chicks take flight in Angus Glens

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It has been four years since the species last successfully reared young in the area.

Hen harrier chick

Four hen harrier chicks have successfully fledged from a nest in the Angus Glens.

The nest was monitored for the last few years, but the adult birds had until now failed to rear chicks. It has been four years since harriers last successfully reared young in the area.

The success was recorded by licensed monitor Mike Groves, who observed the youngsters with minimal disturbance.

Mr Groves, who has been monitoring the area for decades, called it a historic moment, adding: “When I spoke to the estate, they were aware the harriers were there and understandably wanted to keep it low profile, which I had sympathy with.

“I believe in minimum disturbance to give the birds the best chance. When you visit nests, it places immense stress on the adults and they don’t settle for a while afterwards.

“Thankfully, as of yesterday, all the young were flying. It is wonderful to see. It is a stepping stone for harriers in this area.

Protected birds report
Hen harriers have not successfully reared young in the area for four years (RSPB Scotland/PA)

“Some people make comments online saying that the Angus Glens are desolate. The estates are proud of the wildlife they produce. All around, I see attitudes changing. This is an example of that.”

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Scottish Gamekeepers Association chairman Alex Hogg said: “We know from the gamekeepers in the area that sightings of hen harriers are now much more frequent in Angus.

“Even though the other pair have not bred successfully recently, they have been coming back safely to the glens for years, flying around many of the local estates.

“The news of this successful nest is hugely welcome.”

Lianne MacLennan, of the Angus Glens Moorland Group, said: “The estate and the gamekeeper deserve huge credit. It is that work which has provided the habitat and food source for this nest to be successful.”

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