The 2015 National Survey of Breeding Hen Harrier in Ireland

Irish Wildlife Manuals No. 93

Ruddock, M., Mee, A., Lusby, J., Nagle, T., O’Neill, S. & O’Toole, L

The hen harrier (Circus cyaneus) is a protected raptor, listed in Annex I of the EU Birds Directive and as such, Member States are obligated to protect and conserve the species.

These obligations involves key actions to designate Natura 2000 sites, also known as Special Protection Areas (SPAs) and also to undertake monitoring of hen harriers nationally, regionally and within the designated areas.

The fourth national survey of hen harriers in Ireland was undertaken in 2015 and was preceded by surveys in 2010; 2005 and 1998-2000.

Similar to previous surveys the aims were to quantify the size and distribution of the breeding population and examine changes since the previous national surveys.

The survey effort and participation increased since 2010 with more than 7000 hours observational effort undertaken by 259 fieldworkers, largely via volunteer networks.

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