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Last Updated: Wednesday June 27 2007 10:47 GMT

Chicks hope for endangered bird

The chicks

A round-the-clock watch at a nest built by one of Britain's rarest birds has paid off - with five chicks making an appearance.

The hen harrier chicks hatched at a secret location in the Northumberland in the north of England.

The creatures are under threat from hunters and a team of bird-lovers have been watching the nest 24 hours a day.

There as few as 15 pairs of breeding hen harriers in the country, so the chicks are very important.

One of the team said: "This is better than we could ever have hoped for.

"It is more important than ever that we maintain the 24-hour guard on the nest over the coming weeks."

Hen harriers eat red grouse chicks and, because grouse shooting is popular, some land-owners don't like the birds being on their land.

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