ONE of the UK’s most persecuted birds of prey, the hen harrier, has successfully bred in the Yorkshire Dales for the first time since 2007.

A pair has produced four chicks. The birds nested in a large area of rush on upland pasture primarily used for livestock grazing, with the local shooting estate having rights over it.

National Park Authority officers have monitored the nest site since early May, working closely with Natural England and the landowner. Police have offered behind the scenes support.

Natural England has attached satellite tags onto two of the birds, meaning that their movements will be tracked.

Park chairman Carl Lis said: “It is a source of joy, and relief, that hen harriers have at last bred again successfully in the National Park. These are magnificent birds, ideally suited to the Dales, and their long absence has shamed us all.”

Two hen harriers attempted to nest in the Yorkshire Dales National Park last year, but both attempts were thought to have failed due to natural predation.