Sickened by decades of unprosecuted Hen Harrier persecution by the driven grouse shooting industry, birders are finally taking matters into their own hands this weekend. Officially, the 10th will be the first Hen Harrier Day – a day of collective peaceful action to highlight the issues surrounding the parlous status of Hen Harrier as a British breeding bird. Rumours abound of more direct action being taken.
“We’re planning to engage with the grouse shooting industry in ways they’ll understand,” said Tom Logan, a spokesman for Supporting Harriers Against Gamekeepers (SHAG). “We’ll be leaving carbofuran-laced organic smoked salmon sandwiches out on the moors as bait for the rich banker shooting guests. They’re such plump, inviting targets, it’s really not worth trying to hunt them for sport – it’d be like shooting fish in a barrel. Or pheasants. Better to just condemn the bloodthirsty twats to a lingering, painful death on the overnight sleeper back to London.
“The gamekeepers on the other hand are a more cunning lot, a more worthy opponent. To deal with them we’re going to place Pole traps in places gamekeepers traditionally congregate – rural pubs, for instance. Gamekeepers are known for their wild, irrational prejudice against what they see to be invasive, competitive species – so we think that they’ll be unable to resist the lure of the chance to verbally abuse some Polish plumbers and decorators in their local. Once they’ve been flushed out of cover our Polish friends will ‘re-wild’ the gamekeepers – we’re not sure what ‘re-wilding’ will actually involve, but imagine it might be something along the lines of dropping them off the back of a tramp steamer somewhere in the Baltic.”
Meanwhile, donations continue to flood into SHAG to go towards the cost of putting harriers back on British uplands.
“We looked into the cost, time and effort involved in reintroducing Hen Harriers into the habitat where they should rightly be,” said Tom Logan, “but we quickly realised that it would be much cheaper, and more fun, to buy a few decommissioned Harrier GR-9 jumpjets and use them to target particularly troublesome shooting estates. We’re planning on celebrating Hen Harrier Day with a patrol over some of Norfolk’s more notorious estates. We’ve got some really big speakers mounted alongside the shotguns on the weapon platforms, so we should be able to drown out the squealing sound of outraged viscounts by blasting ‘The Ride of the Valkyries’ as we go. And it’ll be interesting to see if anyone near Sandringham fancies a pop at this particular harrier...”
He added, “I love the smell of restorative justice in the morning”.