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The advisors and Hen Harrier Project staff assess the 19,222 fields farmed by the 1,578 farmers in the programme each summer to determine the habitat quality. This produced a contemporary geospatially digitised habitat … This is a typical harrier, which hunts on long wings held in a shallow V in its low flight during which the bird closely hugs the contours of the land below it. This produced a contemporary geospatially digitised habitat … Statistical analysis was performed to reveal predictors for classifying plots (i) with a Montagu's Harrier nest, (ii) with a Hen Harrier nest and (iii) without a nest. Hen Harrier Special Protection Area (SPA) Habitat Map. Furthermore, research shows that although pre-thicket coniferous forests are becoming increasingly important landscapes for hen harrier the habitat is sub-optimal for the species and may negatively impact breeding success. It can be found in the northern parts of North America, Europe and Asia. The eggs measure approximately 47 mm × 36 mm (1.9 in × 1.4 in). It is therefore classified as "least concern". Northern or hen harriers hunt primarily small mammals, as do most harriers. The stock carrying capacity of these grasslands is typically lower than for improved agricultural grassland on deep or shallow brown earth soils. Unlike many raptors, hen harriers have historically been favorably regarded by farmers because they eat predators of quail eggs and mice that damage crops. These fields have an area of 45,782 ha (about half the size of Co. Louth so this is a mammoth task. The Hen Harrier is a ground nesting bird adapted to open moorland and marginal grassland habitats. The traditional nesting habitat of Hen Harrier across Britain and Ireland has been predominantly Heather. Hen harrier inhabits grasslands, marshes, pastures, woodlands, coastal areas, river valleys and semi-deserts. wet grassland is the main grassland found in the SPAs. In winter, the hen harrier is a bird of open country, and will then roost communally, often with merlins and marsh harriers. Harried to the edge of extinction in England, hen harriers need your help, before it's too late. This is particularly obvious in landscapes with very small fields such as the lowlands of most of the SPAs. Woo-Shin Lee, Tae-Hoe Koo, Jin-Young Park (2005). In some parts of Europe people believed that seeing a harrier perched on a house was a sign that three people would die. [12] Larger prey, such as rabbits and adult ducks are taken sometimes and harriers have been known to subdue these by drowning them in water. There are small patches of native woodland throughout the SPAs too. Over parts of its wider range it is in decline because of loss of habitat. Peatland habitats are also very common throughout the SPAs. This medium-sized raptor breeds on moorland, bogs, prairies, farmland coastal prairies, marshes, grasslands, swamps and other assorted open areas. This type of grassland occurs particularly in the higher elevations where peatland habitats occur, often in a mosaic among them. The hen harrier is one of our most charismatic birds, but is becoming increasingly rare. Supplementing the diet occasionally are amphibians (especially frogs), reptiles and insects (especially orthopterans). Blanket bog has a low stock carrying capacity but, like heathland, it is important for summer grazing for cattle and sheep or year-round sheep grazing. However, adults rarely live more than 8 years. Where forests replace habitats that were used by hen harriers they will therefore tend to reduce overall habitat availability. However, much of its range, particularly in Ireland and parts of western Britain, has been (and continues to be) afforested, predominantly with non-native conifers such as Sitka spruce (Picea sitchensis) from North America. Given a crude estimate of the area of suitable habitat, a sustainable number could be 82 pairs of hen harriers in England. When incubating eggs, the female sits on the nest while the male hunts and brings food to her and the chicks. Registered Office: Unit 2, Oran Point, Main Street, Oranmore, Co. Galway. These fields have an area of 45,782 ha (about half the size of Co. Louth so this is a mammoth task. [7] Harriers hunt by surprising prey while flying low to the ground in open areas, as they drift low over fields and moors. Hen harrier distribution. Wet grasslands are most often grazed but may be cut for hay if the summer season is dry. The chicks fledge at around 36 days old, though breeding maturity is not reached until 2 years in females and 3 years in males. Hen harrier inhabits grasslands, marshes, pastures, woodlands, coastal areas, river valleys and semi-deserts. These, are the one of the few raptorial birds known to practice polygyny – one male mates with several females. 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