AN RSPB project focused on protecting hen harriers, England’s most threatened bird of prey, is in need of East Lancashire’s votes.

Skydancer, a four-year scheme to save the hen harrier, has reached the final of this year’s National Lottery Awards in the Best Education Project category.

It aims to raise awareness and promote the conservation of the birds of prey across the North of England including Lancashire.

Selected from more than 750 applications, the project is one of seven finalists, which are battling for the public’s vote, with the winner receiving £2,000 at a BBC-televised award ceremony in September.

The hen harrier is on the brink of extinction as a breeding bird in England but the RSPB has recently said that this year is shaping up to be ‘marginally better’ with a pair raising chicks on the United Utilities Bowland Estate.

There is also a second nest on the estate with the female sitting on eggs.

Blánaid Denman, Skydancer project officer at the RSPB, said: “There is room for at least 300 pairs of hen harriers breeding in the English uplands. But this year there are only three confirmed nests in the whole country, two of which are on the United Utilities Estate in Bowland, Lancashire.

“The problem is that hen harriers occasionally eat red grouse, a popular gamebird. Though grouse forms only a small part of their diet, hen harriers can in some circumstances reduce the number of grouse available to shoot, leading some moorland managers to illegally kill or disturb the harriers to protect their stock.

“If we want to save this integral part of Lancashire’s wildlife, we need to show everyone why these birds are important and inspire people to care about them.”

Public voting for the National Lottery Awards runs until July 23.

The project with the most votes in each category will be declared the winner.

To vote for Skydancer, visit: