Sunday 7th found us braving the very autumnal weather for the second year running on Mull. We were one of 12 national events across the country, all aiming to raise awareness of the ongoing illegal bird of prey persecution – particularly impacting the Hen Harrier. We’re lucky that at the moment, hen harriers do well on Mull.
Craignure Bunkhouse were kind enough to host Hen Harrier Day for the second year running and we were there from 10am in the morning to chat to people, explain the situation and of course offer everyone hot drinks and home baking. We ran a raffle with some amazing nature books as prizes, with many thanks to Langford Press, Alan Stewart, Bloomsbury and Mark Avery among others. We also ran a silent auction, a hen harrier drawing competition and more.
Despite the rain and very strong winds the day was a success. Nature Scotland provided two short trips to search for harriers and both were successful – probably one of the only HH Day events which can say that! We managed to raise around £325 on the day, which will be added to last years money. We hope to use these funds to satellite tag a Mull bred hen harrier. This will highlight how important the islands are for these birds, but also make people aware that they don’t stay here all year round and aren’t fully protected from illegal persecution elsewhere on the mainland. It’ll also be a brilliant chance to educate the local children about hen harriers – a bird that isn’t that well known here in comparison to eagles!
Thanks to anyone who supported us and hen harriers by coming along, donating or even just liking a facebook post – much appreciated. We have plans for next year already, with bigger and even better ideas.
If you haven’t already, please take a look at the petition to “Ban Driven Grouse Shooting” and read a little more about the issues surrounding this. This petition is supported by the likes of Chris Packham, Mark Avery, Bill Oddie and more.
Naturalist and children’s author, John Miles is the creator of Chick Books, a brilliant and growing collection of nature based children’s books. A perfect way to inspire and enthral younger generations.
Horus the Peregrine is currently one of four titles so far, with three more due to be released this year. Horus is brought to life as a peregrine falcon chick growing up fast in the UK’s busy capital city, London. Horus fights for food and space in the nest along with his two sisters and brother whilst his parents provide them with regular feral pigeons. An inspiring aspect is the urban location, both children and adults might be surprised to find the peregrine falcon nesting on the Houses of Parliament! This could be the final bit of encouragement city dwelling families need to find nature on their doorsteps; nature is out there and can be found in the most unexpected places.
The fantastic illustrations bring life to the well known London sights as the story continues; Horus leaves the nest and begins to explore the area, dropping by Buckingham Palace, Trafalgar Square and the London Eye. The text is fun and full of interesting facts, safe to say I learnt a few things too – great for adults as well as the younger generations. The information is diverse; readers will enjoy species facts, learning more about the peregrine falcon, how ancient Egypt felt about falcons all those years ago and even some historic battle details!
The book also touches lightly on an emotive but serious issue peregrine falcons face in the United Kingdom’s countryside; illegal killing and persecution to increase red grouse numbers on shooting estates. Humans can be greedy and cruel so it’s important that our children understand that nature needs help. Readers of Horus the Peregrine may well be our next generation of conservationists, ecologists and wildlife lovers so its great that the author covers the whole story.
Overall, Horus the Peregrine is a perfect book for children, families and adults alike. It’s a great book to enjoy together and encourage a love of wildlife. No matter where you live, everyone should be able to connect with nature and be inspired. Books are a brilliant way to capture an imagination, the added bonus with a nature book is that the imagined can become reality – we can get our children outdoors and they can experience the pages for real. What better way to reverse the modern disconnection from nature and books all at the same time.
Chick Books can all be purchased online, follow the links below or head over to Chick Books to see more reviews and information and be sure to follow on Twitter @Chick_Books for regular updates on new releases, like ‘Fred the Chaffinch’ and ‘Mavis the Song Thrush’ both due out this year.