Calluna the Hen Harrier

Introducing 'our' Calluna

Calluna is a juvenile Hen Harrier, a very rare bird of prey that lives in Sheffield and likes to go on adventures further afield. Sightings of her have been confirmed around the Woodhead Pass and down at the RSPB's Old Moor Nature Reserve. Based on recent activity it is believed that she'll be showing at Sheffield Hen Harrier Day, possibly moving on to other events the following week.

Hen Harrier Day in 2017 saw the first urban event taking place in Sheffield City Centre where more than 300 supporters gathered, listening to speakers from; Sheffield and Rotherham Wildlife Trust, the University of Sheffield, Sheffield Bird Study Group, the RSPB, the Green Party and TV's Iolo Williams. Many people passing the event stopped but didn't stay because they didn't know what was going on. This year we're creating a bigger event aimed at capturing the attention of passers by, informing them of the issues faced by our Hen Harriers.

Calluna is one of those hooks, a special commission, based on a young bird that successfully fledged last year.

The Real Calluna

The original Calluna hatched in a nest on the National Trust for Scotland's Mar Lodge Estate, Aberdeenshire in the Cairngorm's National Park. She was one of five young birds that were ringed before they all successfully fledged a little while later.

Calluna was special, she had been fitted with a satellite-tag to track her movements as part of the RSPB's Hen Harrier Life+ Project. Her name had been chosen in a poll where 158 Titter users cast their vote helping NTS, the RSPB and the public claim ownership of this beautiful bird. However her life was cut short when she suddenly disappeared over a Deeside Grouse Moor, just one week after the first Sheffield Hen Harrier Day.

At first the signs were good, her tracker was working well, she was moving in an Easterly direction. She was feeding herself and beginning to explore the countryside as many birds of prey, especially Hen Harriers are known for. However this was cut short on 'the Glorious 12th of August' the first day of the shooting season. Her transmitter suddenly stopped working, suspiciously above a grouse moor...
The RSPB's Press release states;
" ‘Calluna‘, a female harrier, was tagged this summer at a nest on the National Trust for Scotland’s Mar Lodge estate, near Braemar. Her transmitter’s data was being monitored by RSPB Scotland and showed that the bird fledged from the nest in July. She left the area in early August, with the data showing her gradually heading east over the Deeside moors. However, while the tag data showed it to be working perfectly, transmissions abruptly ended on 12th August, with no further data transmitted. Calluna’s last recorded position was on a grouse moor a few miles north of Ballater, in the Cairngorms National Park."

Raptor Persecution UK released a comprehensive analysis of the situation following the RSPB's announcement on their website.

It seems obvious that she was killed illegally.
These birds and their trackers don't just vanish on grouse moors.
The technology is too reliable, the question remains, was she shot, trapped or poisoned?

Meeting Calluna

Calluna made her first official  public appearence on Saturday 4th August at Sheffield Hen Harrier Day and she has subsequently been seen at RSPB Parkgate for Cheshire Hen Harrier Day. She's been known to pop up at other locations like RSPB Old Moor, the Woodhead Pass, Derwent Dam among other locations. She likes to meet people and has been known to perch on a few people's hands

Going forward it looks as though she's going to settle down in the Hallamshire Forest around the Sheffield Lakeland, but Hen Harriers are known to wander. Keep your eye out on our Hal of Hallamshire Facebook and Twitter pages for updates on Calluna and all of our characters.