As I'm sure you may know, there is a large scale vote currently in action to select Britain's new National bird. The first round of judging has already taken place and I am delighted that in the top ten species is the Hen Harrier. In this blog I hope to explain why I feel it is so important to vote for the Hen Harrier and make it our National bird.
As you know our Hen Harrier numbers aren't doing that well in England, which is mainly down to us, yes all of us. We have between us either killed them, allowed people to kill them, turned a blind eye to people killing them or done nothing for far too long. I'm sure sooner rather than later, if we don't act, when you head out up to the moors and hope to see the slatey grey of a male Skydancer, you won't. But imagine if the Hen Harrier became our National bird, imagine if everyone knew what a Hen Harrier was and how they dance, and how they silently cruise in and around the moors in Summer and migrate to the lowlands in Winter. Imagine if all these people wanted to catch a glimpse of one of these ghosts of the moors. Imagine if all these people knew only 4 pairs bred in England last year.
How many people care when a Hen Harrier is illegally shot? How many people would care if our National bird was shot? How much publicity is there when a Hen Harrier gets poisoned? How much publicity would there be if our National bird got poisoned? I think it could make a difference. Do we want to see our National bird go extinct?
And my mind is racing away with me now. If people see our National bird on the edge of being extinct, will they start to think about what we are doing to our other native species; our badgers maybe.
If the Hen Harrier did become the National bird, there is a likelihood, of it becoming more popular and visible in so many ways, for example having pictures and photos on Christmas cards (like Harry did), badges, posters, T Shirts. Maybe the Hen harrier could become as well known as our much loved Robins. Our Hen Harriers need positive publicity and they need it now.
Linking with the paragraph above, by having the Hen Harrier as the national bird, it will make alot of people want to see it, maybe the habitat they love will benefit from birding tourism and make money for the land owners in a more positive way. And not just people from England, but overseas visitors too, it is the National bird, they would be curious to see it.
If the Hen Harrier goes extinct in England in the next few years (which could happen) some of us would mourn it. If our national bird went extinct, a whole country should be made to hang it's head in shame. And that is the difference this vote could make to our Hen Harriers.
I know many people have a great fondness for their garden birds, and I do too, but Hen Harriers really need us, and they need us now, so please, I beg you, vote Hen Harrier as our National bird and make a difference.
A very special person sent me a card with this quote on a while ago and it always makes me think about doing the right thing:
"The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good people to do nothing."