Short-eared owl, purple sandpipers, black redstart


Feral pigeons, Scheveningen, 18 october 2014

On 18 October 2014, on the southern jetty of Scheveningen harbour, there were more birds than just ruddy turnstones. Like these two feral pigeons at the end of the jetty.

They had been ‘kissing'; unfortunately just before the photo.

We walked back.

Northern wheatear, Scheveningen, 18 October 2014

This migrating northern wheatear standing on a rock.

Short-eared owl, Scheveningen, 18 October 2014

Then, an even more special migratory bird: a short-eared owl passed the jetty!

Short-eared owl, North Sea, Scheveningen, 18 October 2014

Unusual, to see this uncommon bird, a land bird, flying south over the North Sea waves. Two herring gulls harassed it.

Purple sandpiper, Scheveningen, 18 October 2014

Also, purple sandpipers on the jetty rocks. Some awake.

Purple sandpiper sleeping, Scheveningen, 18 October 2014

And some sleepy.

Black redstart, Scheveningen, 18 October 2014

We were back on the continent. Not far from the beginning of the jetty, this black redstart on concrete near a sand dune.

We went to the ‘Vulkaan‘ (the Volcano), a high sand dune south of The Hague. It is a good vantage point for seeing bird migration. The many birdwatchers present saw, eg, song thrushes and mistle thrushes fly past.

Texas barn owls, video


This video from the USA says about itself:

Texas Barn Owls Highlights 2014

7 October 2014

Over six months viewers followed a family of Barn Owls in Italy, Texas. Five eggs were laid and hatched in May. Unfortunately the two youngest owlets passed away, most likely due to starvation, however the strongly bonded Barn Owl parents raised 3 healthy owlets. All three juveniles left the nest box July 14, but continued to return to roost in the box during the day until the end of August. The parents throughout September and October are roosting in the box over night and continue to bond.

The Cornell Lab of Ornithology would like to thank the many people involved in watching, tweeting to @texasbarnowls and helping to protect these enchanting birds. Without the devotion of a community of dedicated people we would not be able to show these birds to the world.

A special thank you to everyone who donated to keep the cams running, your support means everything to us.

Thanks for watching, see you in 2015.

For more highlights and news check out here.

Owl news update


This is a video from California in the USA about baby western screech owls in a wildlife hospital.

From the Cornell Lab or Ornithology in the USA:

New owl resources!

Have you ever heard something go screech in the night, and wondered what it was? There’s a good chance it was an owl! Not all owls hoot; some shriek, bark, and wail!

For a limited time, you can download free owl sounds from the Cornell Lab’s Macaulay Library. They’re owl yours to do with what you like…use them as your phone’s ringtone, or add them to your Halloween party playlist! Just get them before they disappear into the night.

Can’t get enough owls? Find out which owls in your area you can attract with a nesting box or platform. Enter your region and habitat into our Right Bird, Right House tool, and get free nest box plans and placement tips.

And if you’re wondering why so many Halloween decorations feature owls, consider this: owls are symbols of death in many cultures. Read our Citizen Science Blog post, Myths of the Ghost Bird, to find out how these helpful birds crept into Halloween folklore.

Old owl and falcon pellets, new research


This video is called Dissecting Owl Pellets – Mr. Wizard’s Challenge.

The Dutch Mammal Society reports today about a discovery in Naturalis museum in Leiden.

There, old boxes were found. It turned out that these boxes contained many pellets, leftovers of meals of owls, raptors and other predators. Most were decades old.

Translated from the report:

The pellets were from ten types of predators. Most items were from barn owls (24 items). The long-eared owl was second (11 items). Then were six kestrel items. Pellets from other predators were only sparsely represented. 23 small mammals were identified in the pellets. The most special finds were water shrew, bicoloured white-toothed shrew, root vole, European pine vole and occasional finds of hedgehog, black rat and garden dormouse. In addition, a small number of birds and a small number of insects were found.

The complete report is here.

Save English tawny owls from speeding cars


This video is called An Introduction to the Tawny Owl (Strix aluco).

From Wildlife Extra:

Tawny owls casualties of speeding cars

East Sussex Wildlife Rescue & Ambulance Service (WRAS) is warning drivers in East Sussex to slow down when driving at night following a spate of collisions with tawny owls.

A total of ten tawny owls were hit over a six-week period at Ashdown Forest, Uckfield, Scaynes Hill, Magham Down, Hastings, Lewes, Polegate, and Eastbourne.

“Unfortunately three died out on site before our emergency ambulances arrived,” said WRAS Casualty Centre Manager and Director Kathy Martyn, “three had to be put down due to the severity of their injuries, two have been released and two are still in care.”

The incidents all happened at night or at dusk, when the owls are active, hunting on the roads for rodents in grass verges and roadside embankments. “Many people think it’s safe to drive fast at night as you can see approaching car’s head lights from a distance,” said Trevor Weeks, MBE founder of East Sussex WRAS, “sadly wildlife don’t have lights on them and could easily run out into the road causing potentially fatal injuries to both the animal as well as humans.”

WRAS is seeking to reduce the number of casualties by urging drivers to think about animals that could be crossing roads when driving in the dark.

Tawny owls are common and found throughout the UK, but they remain protected under the Wildlife and Countryside Act. Once mated, males and females often stay together for life, and will seldom leave their territory.

More on this is here.

Good Frisian short-eared owl news


This video is called An Introduction to the Short-eared Owl (Asio flammeus).

Translated from the Dutch SOVON ornithologists:

Friday, September 5th, 2014

It was already known that this spring in some places in the Netherlands, short-eared owls had started to breed. It will surprise many people that in Friesland province there were dozens of couples. The counter now says more than 40 breeding pairs in continental Friesland, significantly more than were recorded all over the Netherlands in recent years. Including the Frisian islands, the provincial number will be about 50. Also elsewhere in the Netherlands, unexpectedly short-eared owls nested.