Skydancer Day - 9 May 2021

Skydancer Day

This year for the first time we are organising an event to celebrate spring in the uplands. Leading with some glorious footage of skydancing hen harriers, there will be much else besides. The online event will start at 10.15am on Sunday 9 May, finishing before noon. We’re delighted that, following the huge success of Hen Harrier Day Online last August, Chris Packham and Megan McCubbin will again be hosting this event.

The programme will last up to 90 minutes, it's a bit hard to predict with a live stream, especially when Chris and Megan throw themselves into it with such passion and knowledge of the subject. The programme, which may be subject to last minute change, is below. Click the thumbnail image on the right for a pdf to download.)

Many thanks to Keith Offord for permission to use the photographs here (except that of the fledgeling hen harrier, which is copyright RSPB). All are copyright, whether marked or otherwise and permission must be sought for their further use. Find out  more about Keith's work here:

The programme

Skydancer Day 2021



Chris and Megan get us started.

Hen harriers return to the moors

A new animation by Lauren Cook, winner of last year’s young presenter challenge, on the hen harrier’s cycle of life.

Spring in the uplands

 Jenny Shelton tells us about some of the other birds that breed in the uplands, some resident, others returning from our coasts and beyond.

Our hen harrier nest camera

Andrea Goddard on the story so far: the trials and tribulations and our hopes.

Rewilding Langholm Moor

We hear from the people involved with the successful community buyout and their plans for the future and a new Tarras Valley Nature reserve.

A rewilding vision

An inspiring animation from the Scottish Rewilding Alliance showing what a rewilded landscape could look like.

Sunnyside School, Glasgow

Missing Thistle. The children who named this hen harrier reflect on her ‘disappearance’.

And still it goes on

Indy Greene talks to Mark Thomas about raptor persecution.

“A crime is a crime”

Nicky and Simon Johnson from Hartoft in North Yorkshire reflect on raptor persecution and show their brillliant response.

Championing the hen harrier

Olivia Blake MP talks about becoming Hen Harrier Champion in a short video followed by a live interview with Chris asking her more about her passion for restoring the moors.

The hen harrier observed

Great film of skydancing, with Tom Kane's music and narration, the words by James Macdonald Lockhart from his prize-winning book 'Raptor'.

Get involved

Gill Lewis, children’s author, talks to Megan about Hen Harrier Action’s plans for summer activities, with opportunities for everyone to join in to help our wildlife recover from the destruction of nature in our uplands. Three main elements of our programme are set out below, but we have ideas for more and we'd love your ideas too.


The event will be on our YouTube channel, and you can also keep up to date by following us on Twitter or Facebook.


Community Programme

Hen Harrier Days are all about building public awareness and engagement, and we have some great community activities planned for 2021. We'll be launching some of these during Skydancer Day on 9 May. Others will follow, so make sure you keep in touch by following us on Twitter or Facebook. Below are some competitions and challenges that we'll launch on 9 May.

Young Wild Writer Competition

A writing competition for children in three age groups with a prize for the winner in each category and an overall winner. Our hugely popular competition returns, and we're hoping that even more children and young people will enter this year. Entrants are invited to say in 500 words what rewilding means for them. Entries can be in any form, a story or poem, a diary entry or a narrative report. Rewilding can mean many things to many people, we want to hear what it means for you. More details of the competition, including how to enter, here.

Young Film-maker Challenge 

Young people aged under 30 are invited to make a short video about nature in the UK with an upland rewilding theme. The best gets a £250 prize, and there are prizes for second and third place too. Entrants are invited to make a video lasting up to four minute with content as varied as you like: animation, graphic art, narrative or interview. We're not looking for great technical skill based on expensive equipment but rather the ability to present a story in an interesting and informative way. More details of the challenge, including how to enter, here.

Draw their attention!

We are in a climate and nature emergency. Yet too often our politicians seem to think business as usual will get us through. Sometimes vivid images can strike home when careful arguments do not. So we invite you to draw a hen harrier and send it to your local MP with a firm but polite call to action. Before sending it, take a photo, send it to us and we'll use it with all the others, to support the campaign. Click here for more detail.