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Hen Harrier Day 2018 (1 Viewer)

James Thomas

Well-known member
Hen Harrier Day seems to be an elephant in the room for birders, I posted the following in a couple of Yorkshire Birding groups. With ten days to go before the Sheffield event and seventeen or eighteen for the rest of the country I thought I'd post it here as the sentiment still applies throughout the country. I'm seeing lots of comments on social media about how the latest killings are dreadful but very few will get out there and protest. So have a read and a think please, here are the events don't leave this for someone else to do http://henharrierday.org/2018-events.html.

Hen Harrier Day 2018 events have been announced and our local event in Sheffield is on 4th August.

That’s less than two months away, plenty of time to clear the diary, make car share arrangements. We can all do that kind of stuff within minutes when it really matters, when a new tick is the result. So I am asking how much raptor persecution actually matters to birders and where it sits in our priorities? Does it matter as much as another tick? Does it matter as much as much as walking round that patch that we walk around every weekend?

I’ve attended half a dozen events like Hen Harrier Day over the last few years and find myself protesting with environmentalists, animal rights campaigners and hunt saboteurs. But very few birders, so my conclusion is that for the vast majority of birders the persecution of our wildlife, and in particular raptors, doesn’t matter enough to be worth giving up half a day, we are happy toallow other interest groups to do it for us.

It doesn’t appear to matter enough to individuals as many went out birding instead at a time of year when there is virtually nothing to see. It doesn’t appear to matter enough to groups, I don’t recall any of the birding groups in Yorkshire being represented in an official capacity at any of the events I've been to.

Every time we have another crime there is an avalanche of criticism on social media but when we have the opportunity to show a united front against those who actively destroy wildlife we aren’t prepared to make the effort to attend.

Politicians won’t be reading the fury on some obscure birding forum and they probably have no more than a passing interest in these matters, so how can they be expected to know? But they are interested in votes and a large turnout will get coverage in the media and will raise their interest.

So are we attending on the 4th of August?

I would put money on a larger crowd turning up the following day if a Mottled Spinetail turned up and flew around that square for a morning. Those attending would have done so at a moment’s notice, yet for some reason the same people can’t turn up to these events despite being given months of notice.

I’d also wager that there are hundreds reading this who are thinking ‘there is no point in me attending because not enough people would attend to make a difference’. How daft is that?

Obviously many have arrangements that make attendance impossible but for those who are available, is it a conscious decision not to attend these events or just apathy? Either way I can’t understand why so few birders attend.

Yorkshire has the worst record in England for wildlife crime, let’s make it the biggest response against it.

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