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A painting of a harrier by London street artist ATM has appeared at Shellness nature reserve as part of a campaign by Birders Against Wildlife Crime

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A street artist who has painted a huge picture of a bird on a Sheppey building has revealed his reasons behind the image.

The painter, who goes by the name ATM, has created a hen harrier on the wall of the blockhouse wall at the nature reserve in Shellness.

He is part of a campaign being run by a group called Birders Against Wildlife Crime (BAWC) which aims to raise awareness of the plight suffered by many of the UK’s birds and animals.

This painting of a hen harrier has appeared at the Shellness nature reserve
This painting of a hen harrier has appeared at the Shellness nature reserve

It wants to protect and strengthen legislation which protects wildlife from crime and pushes for stricter sentencing of those convicted.

The 50-year-old artist, who is from the North West but now lives in London, has already painted about 15 murals of different birds on walls and railway arches in the capital and brought his work to the Island to raise awareness.

Last year, for the first time since records began, no hen harriers fledged young in England.

This Sunday is Hen Harrier Day, which is a national drive to try and highlight the current situation and end illegal persecution of one of the most iconic birds of prey, which has seen a dramatic decline over the years because of this.

ATM created the drawing, which is around 3m high, using acrylic paints and brushes and it took him two days.

He says he did get permission before starting his artwork.

“I did a lot of drawings of it beforehand – I always do so I know what I’m working with,” he said.

“I’m very proud of it and feel it really does work.

“I have had a lot of feedback – a lot of people really like it because of the unusual setting.

“[Harriers] migrate over Sheppey, it’s one of the places they go, and it was great to paint it there on the shoreline with all the wild birds around and hearing the calls – often it’s hard to find a spot that’s appropriate but this really was.

“A lot of birds that were once common are in serious decline and I want to raise awareness – I’m planning to do more in different locations around the UK.”

For more information about the campaign, go to www.birdersagainst.org

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