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Skydancer the plight of the magnificent Hen Harrier is a new children’s educational book aimed to engage the younger generation in wildlife and conservation.

The “hook” of this book is to highlight the balancing act a British bird of prey has with its future existence on our shores, stimulate questions from the young reader and link the outcomes to wildlife conservation.

Female Hen Harrier (Circus cyaneus) with young at nest on moorland,
Lochaber, Scotland, June 1989
Female Hen Harrier (Circus cyaneus) with young at nest on moorland, Lochaber, Scotland, June 1989

Hen harriers are England’s most threatened breeding bird of prey, it’s in real trouble and it shouldn’t be, so they need help.

They were once a common and widespread bird of prey in the UK, It is a protected species but despite its status it continues to suffer from loss of habitat and persecution from humans.

Their plight has triggered fierce debates and spats between conservationists and the shooting fraternity; there is huge conflict between hen harriers and some gamekeepers.

Harriers will sometimes prey on red grouse which are raised for the sport of game shooting; gamekeepers are employed on wealthy estates to ensure there are plenty of grouse to be targeted during the shooting season, here lays the conflict.

Iolo Williams
Iolo Williams

I’ve purposely made my poem honest, deep and searching. Rhythmically easy to read and hopefully it will ask questions of the reader.

Their plight is now, but we cannot lose sight of their future where we will be asking this next generation to keep a vigil on our natural wildlife heritage. Iolo’s foreword is from the heart and on point.

“This wonderful book with its excellent illustrations will play an important role in educating future generations about this magnificent bird and its plight on our moorlands. It is vital that we take action now to ensure that sky dancing hen harriers can be enjoyed by our children and grandchildren”.

extract from Iolo Williams foreword

I have strong views on this current situation, and have chosen to concentrate on trying to bring the hen harriers story to everyday people who might not have heard of them before and to our future wildlife enthusiasts.

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This I hope will build on momentum already started to save this beautiful, agile hunter, who’s aerobatic sky dances are among the most awesome spectacles in nature.

Hen harriers should be free to skydance for all to see and be revered and protected as other birds of prey we have managed to bring back from the brink.


“People are harming this beautiful bird,

the way we can help is for its voice to be heard”.

“If we take action, we still have the time,

by making these villains pay for their crimes”.

“If we do nothing, and these people don’t listen,

Hen Harriers will vanish like the passenger pigeon”.

extract from Skydancer