How marsh harrier William lives

This is a marsh harrier video.

Translated from the Werkgroep Grauwe Kiekendief in the Netherlands:

Thursday, April 23, 2015

From 2009 on, the Werkgroep Grauwe Kiekendief [Montagu’s Harrier Workgroup] uses state-of-the-art UvA BiTS GPS loggers to map the movements of individual Montagu’s harriers in detail. In the vast East Groningen fields, however, besides Montagu’s harriers also hen and marsh harriers live. To compare how these three harrier species use the countryside precisely, the GPS logger investigation was expanded in 2012 to hen and marsh harriers.

A cold drizzly spring day in 2012 turned out to be a historic day in the marsh harrier research. This day was when near Delfzijl the first marsh harrier was caught for the GPS logger research. The male, called ‘William’ turned out to wear an aluminum ring of the bird migration research station. The ring data showed that William at the time was two years old, and had hatched in exactly the same reed bed where he nested now.

Different hunting pattern

It was exciting to follow the movements of William during the breeding season. William flew remarkably often along ditches, making a map of its track show the East Groningen allotment pattern. This contrasts with Montagu’s marriers, which also hunt in the central parts of fields and meadows. That William prefered to hunt along ditch banks was also evident from the prey remains found at his favourite place to sit, a striking number of ducklings and water voles.

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