Wintering hen harrier on the wing

While some birds have very clear winter migration patterns (eg ospreys go to West Africa), hen harriers clearly prefer to be non-conformist! On the whole, many hen harriers migrate from upland to lowland areas in the winter to escape the harsh weather, but in a mild winter, they may be just as likely to stay put. Females generally seem to stay relatively close to their breeding grounds, while males travel much more widely, occasionally turning up in France, Spain or even Scandinavia! But there are exceptions to every rule and as we learned from our Bowland female tagged last year (see April-May 2012 blogs), some hen harriers will travel all over the place!

(c) Andy Davis