Tuesday, 5 January 2016

Guest Blog from Ecotricity - Hen Harrier Satellite Tagging

I asked Ecotricity if they would write a guest blog for me about why and how, as a business, they got involved with helping to protect a magnificent bird of prey, the Hen Harrier.  I got involved with raising awareness about Hen Harriers because I just had to help protect them from going extinct as a breeding bird in England.  I have, from that point tried to raise lots of awareness though campaigning and volunteering. We need people to have the desire to want to protect the Hen Harrier and understand the suffering that this species has gone through. 

So I want to say a huge thank you to Ecotricity for being another much needed voice for the Hen Harrier and for taking the extra step forward in protecting it as a species.  I hope more businesses will follow this lead and step up to help our wildlife.


Guest blog by Simon Ashley, Ecotricity Online Manager 
and Helen Taylor, Ecotricity Ambassador

It’s a daunting prospect being asked to write a guest post for Wilde About Birds – it’s full of inspiring content and I’m joining some exalted company.  I work for Ecotricity a green energy company. We have a vision for a Green Britain –– a place where we all live more sustainable lives and we’ve made room for nature by creating and protecting wildlife habitats.
Energy, Transport, and Food are a big part of this story: together they account for a massive 80% of our personal carbon emissions – by making simple choices about how we get around, where we get our energy from, and what food we choose to eat, we can make a huge difference to the world around us.

I look after our online activity - our website and other bits and pieces. I’m also a bit of an amateur naturalist and I’m at my happiest outside looking for something.   It can be anything Slow worms , Glow worms , Birds, Bats, Badgers or other more exotic things when I’m on holiday.

So I was cock-a-hoop when I learnt that we’d got involved with the Hen Harrier project via Finn.

My encounters with Hen Harriers have been pretty limited but all the more special for it. My most memorable was at  RSPB’s Otmoor reserve on 1st March 2009. Otmoor is a wetland meadow with extensive reedbeds and it’s a great wintering ground for wildfowl – where there are huge numbers of birds there are predators and Hen Harriers are right at the top of the foodchain.

My bird list for the day says there was a red kite –and fantastic though they are that’s not what I came to see.  It took an hour or so of watching before I finally got to see the hen harrier, a female, flying low just above the reeds.  Quartering backwards and forwards.  She got really quite close, within just a few meters.  I watched her for about an hour, no sky dance or food-pass for me - just the beauty of a wild space and this graceful apex predator hunting on its territory.

I’m going to let my colleague Helen Taylor take over from here.


Hi, I’m Helen, the organiser of our first ever Ecotricity Young Green Briton Debating Competition which was held at WOMAD this year.

Our competition winners, aged between 11 – 16 years old, took to the stage, supported by their mentors, to speak about their vision for a Green Britain, and what we can all do to help achieve this, across the subjects of Energy, Transport, Food and Nature. Finn was the youngest competition winner and debater, at 13 years old, representing Nature, of course. I can’t tell you how moving it was to hear all our young speakers  - we were hugely proud of Finn and his powerful take on us all needing to take responsibility for the world around us. We’ve kept in touch ever since.

As a result, Ecotricity is supporting the Hen Harrier project - a RSPB- run initiative designed to track the movements and activity of hen harrier chicks. We’re funding a satellite tag to enable the tracking of a chick – to help identify how they can be protected longer-term. Finn tells us that the final count for breeding pairs in England this year was 6 pairs, but would have been so many more if the 5 males hadn't "disappeared" – this is still a long way off the 300 pairs that there should be.

The chicks will be born in April/May time – so we’ll keep everyone posted. If other companies are also interested in joining us to protect the Hen Harrier, that would be amazing.

We clearly should do all we can to support Finn’s hugely inspirational campaigning work to raise awareness of the plight of the Hen Harrier….

We also look forward to all witnessing a Skydance with Finn in 2016!


  1. Very good. I'm glad I'm an Ecotricity customer.

  2. We are also Ecotricity customers and live on the Isle of Mull where we have an abundance of wild life and birds of prey including the beautiful hen harrier we often see on our walks across the moor with our dogs. Good luck with your conservation efforts Findlay.
    John & Jane Noddings @ Seaview, Isle of Mull, Scotland.

  3. I've recently switched to Ecotricity and reading this makes me very glad I did! Keep up the great work Findlay - people like you give me hope that the future of conservation is in good hands

  4. Interesting Findlay - I will have to look into Ecotricity. You all should come and join us for a walk up Moel Famau soon and Loggerheads if you haven't already been

  5. My heart-felt thanks to Ecotricity, and to you, Finn, for this wonderful initiative. Unfortunately, I entered into an energy contract (not Ecotricity) fairly recently, but will be looking to make a switch sometime.

    Keep up the good work - - Richard

  6. Hi Findlay,

    I hope you don't mind me getting in touch with you via your blog. I work for The Media Pioneers, a London based independent television production company, developing factual and factual entertainment programmes.

    I am writing with regards to a documentary idea we're keen to develop for CBBC's BAFTA award-winning series "My Life." The premise would see us tell the story of a passionate young animal activist as they participate in an ambitious and challenging personal or group conservation project: it can either be something which is an incredible undertaking in its own right, or a project which is rendered difficult by the youngster's individual circumstances.

    We are currently on the lookout for potential contributors with just such an amazing story to tell, and having come across your blog I wanted to get in touch to see if you might be interested in chatting to us about any projects you may currently be working on that may fit with what we want to profile in the documentary. If so, it'd be great if you could get in touch with us so we can learn a little more about your story.

    Please let me know if you have any questions I can help with. My contact details are all below if you and your parents would like to get in touch.

    I look forward to hearing from you.

    Many thanks and kind regards,

    Adam Hollingworth

    Development Researcher

    Direct: +44(0)2072670300
    Mobile: +44(0)7969901301

  7. It's really great to see a company Co concerned not only with the environment but also wildlife too. Well done to all at Ecotricity for getting involved in the project it's massively appreciated.

  8. Greats story! And it seems your fame is spreading - more power to you and the wildlife you protect!

    Cheers - Stewart M - Melbourne