Diversionary feeding means providing alternative food, such as carrion, to hen harriers during the two to three months when they are breeding so that they kill fewer red grouse chicks. A short video showing diversionary feeding can be seen here (with thanks to Making the Most of Moorlands).

Preliminary trials carried out at Langholm during 1998 and 1999 showed that the number of grouse chicks taken back to harrier nests could be reduced by up to 86%.However, there was no measurable increase in grouse stock during these years.

Numbers of grouse chicks killed and brought back to hen harrier nest per 100 hours. Based 15 hen harrier nests in 1998 & nine nests in 1999.The carrion provided to fed nest was dead day-old poultry chicks and dead white rats.


During the project we are providing harrier pairs with carrion while they are breeding.  

A practical guide to the diversionary feeding of hen harriers on grouse moors has been produced by SNH. A PDF of the document can be viewed here

Photo - Peter Moore