On 28th October 2021, the corpses of two brood meddled hen harriers (hatched 2021) were found by Natural England staff, collected and submitted for post-mortems.
These are the two individuals:
Brood meddled male Hen Harrier R2-M2-21, tagged on 20th July 2021 from nest site ‘BM R2 Cumbria’. The date of last contact is given in NE’s data table as 27th October 2021 and the location is given as ‘Cumbria, site confidential, hen harrier roost site’. The notes section says, ‘Recovered dead 28th October 2021, awaiting PM results’.
Brood meddled male Hen Harrier R2-M3-21, tagged on 20th July 2021 from nest site ‘BM R2 Cumbria’. The date of last contact is given as 27th October 2021 and the location is given as ‘County Durham’. The notes section says, ‘Recovered dead 28th October 2021, awaiting PM results’.
We know about these two harriers because Natural England included a small paragraph about their deaths in a blog published on 15th December 2021. At the time, I commented how strange it was that the post-mortem results apparently weren’t available, even though the corpses had been collected some seven weeks earlier (see here).
So I submitted an FoI request to Natural England on 27 January 2022 and asked for the post-mortem results of those two young harriers.
[A young hen harrier. Photographer unknown]
The response was due tomorrow. However, today Natural England has sent me this:
It wasn’t a complex request at all. It was a simple, straightforward request. According to the pathologist’s report, how did these two young hen harriers die?
Now, why would Natural England want to delay the publication of these results?
And while we’re at it, Natural England, are you going to say anything about the dead hen harrier whose wings were undoubtedly pulled off, perhaps when the bird was still alive (see here and here)? Two months ago you said you couldn’t comment further as a police investigation was underway. How’s that going? It seems to have been underway for almost a year – it’s going nowhere, isn’t it? Nobody will be brought to justice, will they? Just like nobody has been brought to justice for the other 59 hen harriers that have been killed since 2018 (here).
UPDATE 7th March 2022: Natural England publishes post-mortem summaries of two brood meddled hen harriers (here)