Hen Harrier Sorrel is on the move
While Sorrel was overwintering in south west Scotland, within the Team we were debating whether or not she would exhibit natal homing [philopatry] behaviour, the innate process by which some adult animals return to their birthplace to reproduce. However, all the signs from the satellite data were that she was not ranging too widely, had possibly established a “breeding home range” in south west Scotland and was going to be a first year breeding Hen Harrier. In early May something happened that changed what had become her routine, and over the space of two days she decamped and flew approximately 60km before returning. We have no idea what caused her to break with her well established routine, but soon after returning to her overwintering area she headed out again, and the most recent satellite data show she is now in the Scottish Highlands. The most likely scenario is that she had paired up and nested, but experienced some form of mammal predation; life’s not without its hazards for ground nesting birds. The upside of recent events is that we are now able to provide a graphical representation of Sorrel’s peregrinations, zoomed out in what the military would call a, “big hand small map” representation.
The Hen Harrier Monitoring Team.