New bird reserve in Scotland

This video from Britain says about itself:

22 December 2011

As difficult species go, the Long and Short-eared Owl pairing are amongst the most challenging to identify, especially in flight. The latest identification video from the BTO offers tips on how to separate both, in flight, perched and by calls.

From Wildlife Extra:

New RSPB reserve for Scotland

A tranquil area of wetland and grassland on the south-eastern edge of Alloa has become RSPB Scotland’s newest nature reserve, and the charity’s first in Clackmannanshire.

Black Devon Wetlands is a special place for birds and wildlife, such as snipe, short-eared owls, teals and black-headed gulls.

Work to improve the various habitats at the site has already started, with much more planned for the next few months. Visitors are also set to benefit from new paths, viewing areas and signage, and a series of events will be advertised in the near future.

RSPB Scotland’s Anne McCall, who’s the Regional Director for South and West Scotland, said: “We’re delighted to be taking on the management of the Black Devon Wetlands and we hope to transform it into a reserve that will not only help wildlife, but also provide local people with a great nature experience right on their doorstep.

“The Inner Forth is internationally recognised as an important place for birds, and the establishment of this reserve adds to a wider mosaic of habitats that are beneficial for a whole range of different species, as part of the RSPB’s landscape-scale project, the Inner Forth Futurescape.”

Black Devon Wetlands were originally created when soil was excavated from the site to cap an adjacent area of landfill. Its managed lagoons were first formed by Clackmannanshire Heritage Trust, and these were then extended in the mid 2000s by the council’s landfill project.

Councillor Donald Balsillie, Convener of Enterprise and Environment, said: “Clackmannanshire Council is pleased that the award-winning Black Devon Wetlands are being leased to RSPB Scotland to carry forward its development.

“The council and RSPB Scotland are working in partnership through the Forth Coastal Project, funded by the Coastal Communities Fund and the Inner Forth Landscape Initiative, a Heritage Lottery funded project, to enhance the wetlands habitat and accessibility.

“This joint working will ensure the long term management by a respected conservation body for this unique natural heritage site located right on the doorstep of Clackmannanshire residents.”

This project has also been made possible with the contribution of the LIFE+ financial instrument of the European Community – EcoCo and Clackmannanshire Heritage Trust.

Texas barn owlets, fledging soon?

This video from the USA says about itself:

Texas Barn Owls Flap Around on the Porch and Pounce on Prey. June 23, 2015

In this clip we see the oldest owlet head out on to the porch, the second oldest attempts to branch for the first time, but doesn’t quite make it. When the oldest owlet returns a session of pouncing, flapping and prey stealing commences.

It is not unusual for owlets to play by pouncing repeatedly on inanimate objects, or in this case dead prey.

Watch the Barn Owls live here.

From the Cornell Lab of Ornithology about this:

Oldest Owlet Branches!

The oldest nestling in the Barn Owl box made its first foray outside the opening early in the morning on June 20, about 52 days after hatching. While its siblings looked on seemingly in amazement, the oldest owlet flapped and pranced before returning to the box for the day, and has explored the ledge several times since (watch video).

No other owlets have ventured out yet, but they’re getting braver every day. Even after fledging, the owlets will likely continue to be around the nest box for a few weeks, and will continue to be fed by their parents for another 3-5 weeks. Tune in as the young owls stretch their wings and begin their next adventure!

What little owlets eat

This February 2015 video shows the adult little owl couple of the Beleef de Lente nestbox in the Netherlands.

Translated from STONE, the little owl specialist group in the Netherlands, from the blog of the webcam showing the Beleef de Lente little owl nestbox, 14 June 2015:

From since the owlets hatched, now 1.565 preys have been brought in. Cockchafers, it’s no surprise anymore now, are still by far at number one with 798 individuals. In 19 days time, that is an average of 42 per day. Mice and shrews are only supplied piecemeal: 22 mice and 7 shrews. Less than one mouse and a half per day.

This past week we have seen the number of earthworms increase from 7 on June 2 to 25 yesterday.

See also here.

Mice and shrews research in the Netherlands

This video, recorded in North America, says about itself:

The northern [short-tailed] shrew in the BBC’S Life of Mammals series. In this clip, a male hunts for food, wrestles with another male to establish dominance, and mates with a female. The female raises her offspring and leads them around the forest.

Today, the Dutch Mammal Society reports on research about mice and shrews in the Netherlands.

The research is based on small mammals’ remains in over 200,000 owl pellets.

They write (translated):

For 11 of the 17 ‘mice’ [and shrew] species is has now been scientifically established, based on owl pellets, where the species occur in the Netherlands and whether they are increasing or decreasing. Two species, the greater white-toothed shrew (Crocidura russula) and the bank vole have improved since 1995. The other 9 kinds of ‘mice’ are more or less stable in their distribution. For the other species there should be further research, so onward to the next 200,000 owl pellets!

The complete report is here.

Barn owl defends her young against snake

This video from the USA says about itself:

Barn Owl Attacks Snake Entering Nest Box. May 6, 2015

Watch this incredible footage of Dottie the female Texas Barn Owl defending her young against a Texas Rat Snake that attempted to enter the nest box.

From the Cornell Lab of Ornithology in the USA about this:

Earlier this month, we witnessed a reminder that the Texas Barn Owls aren’t the only ones hunting for food during the night. Despite extensive predator guards installed around the owls’ box, a Texas rat snake gained access to the rafters. Our cameras captured the ensuing showdown as the snake approached the nest box entrance. Despite the midnight darkness, Dottie (the female owl) evicted the snake from the box, then, moments later, gathered her nestlings back to safety beneath her. Watch video [above].

It’s not just other predators that make raising a family of Barn Owls tough. The breeding ecology of Barn Owls can be boom-or-bust. They can be prolific breeders, often laying six or more eggs during a single breeding attempt, but if there’s not enough prey to support all of the nestlings, many can perish. One 16-year study in Utah found that, on average, only 63 percent of eggs hatched and 87 percent of hatchlings survived to fledging. This year, only 5 of 6 eggs hatched in the Texas Barn Owl nest and the youngest owlet (hatched nearly 11 days after the oldest) did not survive. The four remaining owlets appear healthy and well, and we are hopeful that they will survive to fledge. Watch cam.

Young barred owls leaving nest in the USA

This is a video series about the Wild Birds Unlimited Barred Owl nest cam in the USA.

From the Cornell Lab of Ornithology in the USA:

May 22, 2015

It’s almost time!

The young Barred Owls are nearing the moment when they will begin to explore the world outside their nest box. Rather than fledging right away, most owls go through a process called “branching,” where they spend days or even weeks clambering around the branches near the nest, making short flights, and completing their development.

The largest owlet featured on the Wild Birds Unlimited Barred Owl cam has already been perching at the entrance to the box (watch highlight). We’re also excited that a new camera positioned outside the box enables you to see the transition from within the box to the green forest beyond (click on “View 2nd Camera Angle” below the video screen). Be sure to tune in! Watch cam.

Great horned owls, red-tailed hawks, new study

This video from the USA says about itself:

Great Horned Owl Hooting Territorial Evening Call At Sunset

31 December 2012

Great Horned Owl (Bubo virginianus) calling for it’s mate on Dixon Branch of White Rock Creek in Dallas, Texas. This particular owl was hooting a territorial call for another owl that can be faintly heard some distance away beginning after the call around the 1:50 mark. The owls call to each other in a duet before finding each other for night hunting and nest building.

Found from the Arctic to the tropical rainforest, from the desert to suburban backyards, the Great Horned Owl is one of the most widespread and common owls in North America. Capable of killing prey larger than themselves, the Great Horned Owl is one of the larger winged predators in the United States.

Often heard but rarely seen the birds are very difficult to photograph since they are nocturnal. This video was shot using Canon Magic Lantern software which allows for extreme low light photography. It was also filmed at a considerable distance giving the owl plenty of space to act naturally. The bird was a couple hundred feet from the camera. It’s important to keep a code of ethics when around large predators such as this. They need a wide berth to not be stressed.

From Transactions of the Kansas Academy of Science in the USA:

Landscape Differences around Nests of Great Horned Owls and Red-Tailed Hawks

William Langley

Butler Community College, El Dorado, Kansas

Nesting territories of great-horned owls (Bubo virginianus) and red-tailed hawks (Buteo jamaicensis) frequently overlap, with the owls using nests of other raptors. Records of use over a 22-year period in one locality were used to distinguish nesting sites used exclusively by great horned owls, exclusively by red-tailed hawks, and those used by both.

To determine the occurrence of various landscape characteristics within the proximity of a nest structure, I measured the total area of various land use types, total perimeter length, and the size of patches across six different land use types i.e., agriculture, pasture, residential, tree, pond, and roadside within circular plots around nests used by breeding pairs.

The landscape features surrounding nests of great horned owls differed from those surrounding red-tailed hawk nests in total perimeter length and size of patch. These differences are consistent with the fact that great horned owls hunt from perches primarily at night using sensory modalities different than diurnal hunting red-tailed hawks.