Today, Chris Packham urges you to vote for the Hen Harrier as our National Bird as part of David Lindo's Vote National Bird Campaign.  Please read what Chris has to say.  At the end of this post, my colleague Julie Crisp has provided an update from our Skydancer programme - designed to raise awareness and promote the conservation of our most threatened bird of prey.

I would like to implore you to vote for the hen harrier to be our National bird and here’s why . . .

Firstly, and fundamentally, because a great many of you would need to vote for a bird you have never seen or only rarely glimpsed. Yet it is a species which you could see, enjoy and be in awe of nearly every day where ever you live. You are being robbed of this natural treasure by one simple thing . . . illegal persecution and at the current rate, your children or grandchildren will not have this bird on their British list. Vote hen harrier.

Secondly, as much as we love our robins and wrens and blackbirds, these species will not directly benefit from winning. But if the hen harrier was our National Bird it would be a relentless and significant embarrassment to allow this persecution to continue and there would need to be real action taken to stem its demise. Vote hen harrier.

Lastly, I’m therefore asking you to make a strategic vote, perhaps not to vote for your favourite species, one that you love to see or hear or one which has some genuine and heartfelt attachment for you. Ask yourself, in these times of conservation crisis . . . can you honestly afford that luxury? Or would you rather actively contribute to some actual positive protection with a few simple prods of your fingers? Which would the future young bird lovers of the UK thank you for? Please think and then please vote hen harrier.

Skydancer update from Julie Crisp

We have been working with Haltwhistle Film Project to create a 10 minute film about hen harriers, which you can now watch at

Part of the National Lottery award-winning Skydancer project, this film outlines some of the issues surrounding hen harriers, England’s most threatened bird of prey. Filmed in Yorkshire, Lancashire, Cumbria and Derbyshire, it deals with the often challenging relationship between the grouse shooting and the nature conservation communities. Featuring interviews from all sides of the argument, as well as beautiful animations, it is both an informative and thought-provoking film about a spectacular bird.

Its early in the season, but we’re all hopeful. At this time of the year, everything is up in the air and we can never be sure if it will be a good or bad year, but one thing we can be sure of is that RSPB will be working with our partners to give England’s hen harriers the best possible chance of nesting successfully. We’ll keep you updated, hopefully with good news.