In partnership with the Moorland Association, Swinton Estate has unveiled the first webcam in England to live stream a rare hen harrier nest in real time.
The birds are nesting now, providing an extraordinary insight into the daily life of one of England’s rarest birds of prey.
The Moorland Association has championed efforts to help re-establish a breeding population of Hen Harriers in England since 2016, in partnership with Defra and other conservation partners.
Mark Cunliffe-Lister, Chair of the Moorland Association, said:
“This is the first time we have been able to set up a webcam to allow people to feel close to these beautiful birds and watch their progress, thanks to funding from the Wildlife Habitat Charitable Trust. As ground-nesting birds they remain exceptionally vulnerable and it is only through the concerted efforts of land managers that we have been able to create the right conditions for them to nest here for several years in a row.
“There are chicks in the nest now, so the webcam is absolutely enthralling.”
The Moorland Association is one of the partners in the Hen Harrier brood management scheme trial, which has proved to be a key element in delivering improved fledging rates for this species.
In the five years before the trial began, only 51 chicks fledged in England. Since its introduction in 2018, 224 Hen Harrier chicks have fledged successfully. The fifth year of the trial is now underway.
Swinton has also recorded 44 other species of birds on the estate including Curlew, Fieldfare, Lapwing, Skylark, Song Thrush and Woodcock.