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History of Forest of Bowland raptors

The Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty was started in 1964 when the Hen Harrier was a common bird nesting in the area. So much so that the Hen Harrier was picked as the logo for the AONB. By 1974 there were 39 nesting females. The Duke of Westminster came into Red Grouse shooting and by 1977 all Hen Harriers had disappeared from the Red Grouse moors. A come back came via the water company's land - North West Water now United Utilities with around 11 pairs in the 1980s. Since then numbers have fallen until the last few years no Hen Harriers have nested in the area especially as United Utilities has started Red Grouse shooting on their land even with the RSPB paid to protect these birds.

Peregrine Falcons first came to Bowland in 1973 with a maximum of 18 pairs in 2010. Since then numbers have fallen fast with 1 pair in 2017. Short eared Owls are another species heavily persecuted on the moors along with Buzzards and Ravens. When asking for numbers of Short eared Owls from United Utilities land in 2017 when a vole eruption was found [RSPB Geltsdale had a record 27 pairs] I was informed that they had been all shot!

Wildlife Tourism is the fastest growing form of tourism in the UK and Bowland could have a great potential if raptors were not continually removed. With other habitats as well as moorland included ancient woodland, reservoirs, river valleys and conifer plantations there could be a wide variety of wildlife for tourists to come and see making new jobs in this growing industry.

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