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Last Updated: Tuesday, 27 June 2006, 10:19 GMT 11:19 UK
'Spy' in nest protects rare birds
Hen Harriers at the Geltsdale Reserve
The 'chick cam' is monitoring the family of hen harriers
A camera has been installed in the nest of two rare birds of prey to help them protect their two chicks.

The 'chick cam' has been installed in the hen harriers' nest at the RSPB's Geltsdale nature reserve in Cumbria.

Hen harriers are among the most endangered bird of prey in England with just a few nesting pairs left and they need to be closely monitored.

Pictures of the family are being beamed to a television screen so wardens can watch the birds round-the-clock.

The surveillance equipment has been loaned to the nature reserve by English Nature.

5,000 fine

RSPB Geltsdale warden, Dave O'Hara, said: "The 'chick cam' is a fantastic new, hi-tech tool in our efforts to help safeguard these brilliant birds.

"We are already receiving some stunning pictures and the images are giving us an unprecedented and intimate insight into the behaviour of these rare birds.

"It will be fascinating to watch the development of the chicks as they grow over the coming weeks."

There are currently only two places in England where harriers breed regularly - Bowland Fells in Lancashire and at Geltsdale.

Richard Saunders of English Nature said: "It requires patience and some luck to catch even a fleeting glimpse of a hen harrier amidst the remote moorland areas they inhabit."

Hen harriers, along with all other birds of prey, are fully protected by law and anyone who disturbs, kills, injures or takes the birds, their nests or eggs, can face a fine of up to 5,000 and six months in prison.

Chick joy for rare hen harriers
13 Jun 06 |  Cumbria
Baby boom for rare birds of prey
10 Aug 05 |  England
New haven for threatened species
08 Feb 05 |  Cumbria

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