Page last updated at 13:10 GMT, Saturday, 3 May 2008 14:10 UK

Mate sought for lonely lovebird

Male hen harrier
RSPB wardens are hoping "Harry" will meet a "Sally"

A rare bird of prey is pulling out all the stops in a bid to find a mate.

The lone male hen harrier, nicknamed "Harry" by wardens, has been spotted building a nest at the RSPB's Geltsdale nature reserve in Cumbria.

He has also been performing aerial displays of "skydancing" in the hope of impressing any passing female.

However, there are fears he may be destined to a bachelor lifestyle, as illegal persecution has substantially reduced the hen harrier population.

Last year there were only 15 successful nests in the whole of the country.

Staff at the nature reserve are hoping that even with few birds to go round, he will manage to be lucky in love.

If so, the RSPB will mount a round-the-clock operation to protect the nesting birds.

Dave O'Hara, a warden at Geltsdale, said: "We are keeping our fingers crossed that a female harrier comes looking for love in the North Pennines and is wowed by the way the male is tripping the flight fantastic.

"It would be brilliant if 'Harry' could meet up with a 'Sally'."

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08 Feb 05 |  Cumbria

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