After leaving her heather nest, Sally was in explorative mood, covering large tracts of her native County Kerry and making the Stack's Mountains her home for some time before returning to her nest site further east to find her parents and siblings had long since departed. She continued into County Cork, travelling through the Duhallow area and then into County Limerick, where she spent less than a week before succumbing to starvation. She lay at the edge of a Cladium fen in West Limerick, unable to go on any further, exhausted and greatly underweight, almost half the weight she was on 13 July.
The first steps in life for any bird of prey are fraught with danger and learning how to find and catch your own food is a most difficult skill to master. However, satellite tracking here is highlighting the disadvantages that Hen Harriers in Ireland are faced with on top of all this. Sally was just 72 days old on the day that she died. Of 10 Hen Harriers that have been satellite tracked in Ireland now, 0 have yet made it to 100 days old. In Britain, 70% of many more sat tagged harriers have made it past 100 days.
There are no other words that can really be said, even a week on since Sally's death. It is hoped that her early fall, along with so many other young harriers in Ireland will highlight the conservation issues facing the species in Ireland.
All hopes and fears now rest with Sally's younger sister Heather.