Saving hen harriers in Britain


This video from Britain is called Hen Harrier Facing Extinction; BBC Inside Out.

From Wildlife Extra:

RSPB take action to protect Hen Harriers

Hen Harriers continue to be under threat in the UK

In a European Union-supported project, the RSPB are working toward creating a safe and sustainable future for the endangered Hen Harrier in the UK.

The organisation’s five-year programme, named the Hen Harrier Life+ Project, will focus on direct conservation action as well as community engagement and raising awareness among the public about the plight of the bird of prey.

The project will focus on seven sites in northern England, and southern and eastern Scotland that have been designated as Hen Harrier nesting sites under the European Union Birds Directive.

These are areas where the birds frequently come into conflict with humans. In northern England, and in southern, central and eastern Scotland where land is managed for Red Grouse hunting, Hen Harriers are frequently shot in spite of being legally protected.

Their persecution by humans is a long-running story, and in 1900 the birds became extinct on the British mainland. Although they have been making a comeback in the British Isles, their population still has a long road to recovery.

Between 2004 and 2010, the National Hen Harrier Survey recorded an 18 per cent decline in the UK Hen Harrier population. By 2013 the birds had experienced their worst breeding season in England for decades, failing to rear chicks anywhere in the country. But in 2014 things began to look up for the birds in Britain; at the Langholm Moor Demonstration Project, 46 young fledged from 12 nests. However the birds fared less well in England where there were four Hen Harrier nests, but due to natural deaths and unexplained disappearances of three birds that were satellite-tagged, only nine of the 16 chicks that fledged are thought to still be alive.

Hen Harrier LIFE+ Project will be working with landowners and the shooting community to raise awareness about the birds in order to ensure their future. It will also link up with and support the work of PAWS Raptor Group ‘Heads Up for Hen Harriers’ project, which includes the Scottish Government, Scottish Natural Heritage, and conservation and landowning interests.

Blánaid Denman, Hen Harrier LIFE+ Project manager, explains: “The project is not about RSPB fixing things on our own but about bringing together a whole conservation community, from organisations to individuals, working together to secure a future for hen harriers in our uplands.”

As well as working with volunteers and other organisations in order to actively monitor the birds in the wild, the project is also working with gamekeeping students, professional gamekeepers, and landowners.

Defra, the RSPB and other stakeholders are currently working on drafting an emergency recovery plan for Hen Harriers in England. Although the final plan is still to be agreed, the initial draft received widespread support from the shooting community.

Cornell red-tailed hawks’ nest in 2014


This video from the USA says about itself:

17 September 2014

For over 100 days viewers watched the lives of a very special Red-tailed Hawk family nesting 80ft above an athletics field on a light pole at the Cornell University Campus in Ithaca, New York. For the third year we experienced what it takes for two devoted parents to raise three healthy young hawks in the wild.

Goshawk and buzzard quarrel about food, video


This video is about a goshawk and a buzzard quarreling about food.

The buzzard is unusually light-coloured.

Nicoline from the Netherlands made this video.

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.

Peregrine falcon’s off-season nest visit


This video, posted today on YouTube, is about an off-breeding season visit to a nestbox in Britain by female peregrine falcon ‘Charlie’.

This video is about the 2014 nesting season of Charlie and her partner Tom.