To provide you with the best experience on this website, cookies are used. By using the site it's assumed that you're happy with our use of cookies. However, you can change your cookie settings at any time. More info on cookies.
Allow cookies

RSPB project needs Lancashire’s vote

Wednesday, 25th June 2014

An RSPB initiative focussed on protecting England’s most threatened bird of prey has reached the final of this year’s National Lottery Awards in the Best Education Project category.

A four-year project, Skydancer aims to raise awareness and promote the conservation of hen harriers across the North of England including Lancashire. Skydancer is funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund (with a grant of £317,700) and United Utilities, with additional support from the Forestry Commission. 

Selected from more than 750 applications, the project is one of seven finalists, which are going head-to-head in a public vote. The winner will receive £2,000 at a BBC-televised award ceremony in September. 

Nicknamed Skydancer on account of the male’s stunning aerobatic courtship ritual, the hen harrier is currently on the brink of extinction as a breeding bird in England.

Blánaid Denman, Skydancer Project Officer at the RSPB, says: “There is room for at least 300 pairs of hen harriers breeding in the English uplands but this year, there are only three confirmed nests in the whole country, two of which are on the United Utilities Estate in Bowland, Lancashire.

“The problem is that hen harriers occasionally eat red grouse, a popular gamebird for which most of the harriers’ moorland nesting habitat in England is managed. Though grouse forms only a small part of their diet, hen harriers can in some circumstances reduce the number of grouse available to shoot, leading some moorland managers to illegally kill or disturb the harriers to protect their stock.

“Hen harriers are amazing birds, yet very few people have heard of them or their plight. Skydancer is helping to change that. If we want to save this integral part of Lancashire’s wildlife, we need to show everyone why these birds are important and inspire people to care about them.”

Since Skydancer began in 2011, Blánaid has been in Lancashire delivering hen harrier-themed school assemblies, workshops, and field trips, as well as community talks to groups ranging from the WI to local bird clubs.

She has also been engaging directly with members of the grouse shooting community, attending game fairs and local shows, and running workshops with game keeping students.

Blánaid continues: “We need to get to a place where hen harriers are allowed to exist alongside grouse moor management, otherwise they will never recover.

“This is a massive challenge but I’ve been really encouraged by the responses I’ve had from many of the gamekeeping students I’ve spoken to. It does give me some hope for the future.”

Public voting for the National Lottery Awards opens today and runs until 23 July. Votes for Skydancer can be cast via the website or by telephone.  The project with the most votes in each category will be declared the winner.

To vote for Skydancer, visit:


For further information and to arrange an interview, please contact:

Chris Collett, RSPB Communications Manager, 0191 233 4317, 07885 834889

Images: Attached image shows pupils and parents from Hornby St Margaret’s Primary School, Lancashire at Hen harrier of peace Skydancer event in November 2012. More images available.

Editor’s notes:

  1. The RSPB is the UK’s largest nature conservation charity, inspiring everyone to give nature a home. Together with our partners, we protect threatened birds and wildlife so our towns, coast and countryside will teem with life once again. We play a leading role in BirdLife International, a worldwide partnership of nature conservation organizations.
  2. Using money raised through the National Lottery, the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) aims to make a lasting difference for heritage, people and communities across the UK and help build a resilient heritage economy. From museums, parks and historic places to archaeology, natural environment and cultural traditions, we invest in every part of our diverse heritage. HLF has supported over 36,000 projects with more than £6bn across the UK.

RSS feeds


March 2018

February 2018

January 2018

December 2017

November 2017

October 2017

September 2017

August 2017

July 2017

June 2017

May 2017

April 2017

March 2017

February 2017

January 2017

December 2016

November 2016

October 2016

September 2016

August 2016

July 2016

June 2016

May 2016

April 2016

March 2016

February 2016

January 2016

December 2015

November 2015

October 2015

September 2015

August 2015

July 2015

June 2015

May 2015

April 2015

March 2015

February 2015

January 2015

December 2014

November 2014

October 2014

September 2014

August 2014

July 2014

June 2014

May 2014

April 2014

March 2014

February 2014

January 2014

December 2013

November 2013

October 2013

September 2013

August 2013

July 2013

June 2013

May 2013

April 2013

March 2013

February 2013

January 2013

December 2012

November 2012

October 2012

September 2012

August 2012

July 2012

June 2012

May 2012

April 2012

March 2012

February 2012

January 2012

December 2011

November 2011

October 2011

September 2011

August 2011

July 2011

June 2011

May 2011

April 2011

March 2011

February 2011

January 2011

December 2010

November 2010

October 2010

September 2010

August 2010

July 2010

June 2010

May 2010

April 2010

March 2010

February 2010

January 2010

December 2009

November 2009

October 2009

September 2009

August 2009

July 2009

June 2009

May 2009

April 2009

March 2009

February 2009

December 2008

June 2008

May 2008

Contact Us

For more information, practical advice and support, call Marketing Lancashire on:

01772 426450.