Back from the brink as Orkney hen harriers produce 100 chicks

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ONE of Scotland’s most endangered birds of prey is at the centre of a remarkable population recovery in the Northern Isles.

The hen harrier is a red-listed species of high conservation concern in Britain, with only four pairs recorded in the whole of England last year.

But the population has reached a 20-year high in Orkney, where 100 breeding females have produced more than 100 chicks.

The breeding success of the Orkney hen harriers has been linked to changes in sheep farming on the islands.

A spokesman for RSPB Scotland said the breeding success was a “remarkable recovery” for the species which has been hit by food shortages in other parts of the UK.