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.

Dutch marsh harrier, all the way to Ghana and back


This video, from Spain, shows a female marsh harrier, a red kite and a raven quarreling about food.

Translated from the Dutch ornithologists of Werkgroep Grauwe Kiekendief:

Thursday, May 21, 2015

A newcomer to the GPS logger research is marsh harrier “Roelof”, an adult male provided last summer with a GPS logger. Roelof returned this spring to East Groningen, with a logger packed with GPS positions. He turned out to have had a highly remarkable journey! …

Roelof returned on April 15, 2015 in East Groningen, where he presented himself at the local antenna network where we can remotely read stored GPS data. …

In the autumn of 2014 Roelof flew via Spain to his first wintering area in Senegal, where he arrived on 27 September. This route falls exactly within the narrow migration flyway which is usual for marsh harriers. Christiane Trierweiler et al. described that harriers do not remain all winter in a single area, but during the winter they move to southern areas as the northern areas get dry. These are mostly trips of several hundred kilometers.

Roelof left his first wintering area on November 10 to land about 500 kilometers to the south in Guinea. To our surprise Roelof did not stay there until the end of the winter, but he left the area on January 26 to fly 1,700 kilometers along the West African south coast, eventually ending up all the way in Ghana! Ghana is really far away for a Dutch marsh harrier, outside the ‘normal’ wintering area.

On the shores of Lake Volta

In Ghana Roelof stayed around the shores of Lake Volta. This huge lake is probably a good wintering place for marsh harriers and the question is how he ever ‘found’ this place. Did he come here in his youth by chance, making the place by now a fixed point in his annual schedule? Or perhaps Roelof has eastern genes telling him that in winter this is the place to be? Monitoring young harriers will be the key to answering this kind of exciting questions.

Roelof left the Volta Lake on February 28, keeping a northwesterly course. Aided by a firm tailwind he was ‘blown’ across the Sahara until he reached the ocean coast in the Western Sahara. From there he continued his journey towards the northeast, where he made two short stops in Morocco (as befits a marsh harrier). From Morocco, he flew straight back to exactly the same reed bed in eastern Groningen …

This photo by Ben Koks shows marsh harrier Roelof, on the left, and his female partner. On Roelof’s back, one can see his GPS logger.

Birds of prey news from Slovakia


This is a video about a female marsh harrier, feeding on a hare which had died in Germany.

Tomas Novak, from Bratislava in Slovakia, writes on Twitter today:

7 bird of prey species spotted on Sunday: Marsh & Montagu’s Harrier, Red & Black Kite, W[hite-]T[ailed] Eagle, Buzzard, Kestrel.

Honey buzzards returning from Africa


This video shows a honey buzzard, digging at a wasps’ nest.

Translated from the Dutch Sovon ornithologists:

Saturday, May 16th, 2015

On May 5, the first bird of the transmitter project ‘Honey Buzzards of the Kempenbroek‘ returned to our country. In the third week of April the birds left their wintering grounds in West Africa. The birds needed more time than usually for the journey due to bad weather over the Sahara and Europe. The coming period we will be able to see if and when the other birds will arrive with us. The Honey Buzzard, along with species such as Turtle Dove, Icterine Warbler, Marsh Warbler, Reed Warbler, Golden Oriole, and Red-backed Shrike is among the last species to return to us from Africa.

Meanwhile, more honey buzzards have arrived.

Reward for catching bird criminal in England


This video is about a marsh harrier and its nest.

From Raptor Politics in Britain:

The Eastern Daily Press offers £1,000 reward to catch egg thief who raided marsh harrier’s nest at Guist, near Fakenham in Norfolk

Police say an unknown number of eggs were taken from the site, on the marsh off Bridge Road, on Sunday, May 10. There are around 380 breeding pairs of marsh harriers in the UK.

Most nest in East Anglia, with dense reedbeds on the Norfolk Broads, north Norfolk coast and Ouse Washes among their strongholds.

Feeding on small mammals and birds which live around the wetlands, harriers carry out low-level swoops of their hunting grounds, with their wings held in a distinctive ‘V’ shape.

They are famed for their aerobatic courtship displays carried out in spring, when the male and female birds soar and loop around each other, sometimes throwing items of food in mid-air.

While it is impossible to put a precise figure on the birds’ value to our tourism industry, tens of thousands visit Norfolk from across the UK and further afield each year to see our county’s rich birdlife, including marsh harriers.

Pete Waters, brand manager for Visit Norfolk, said: “Norfolk has an enviable position as being the birdwatching capital of the UK and incidents like this can only damage our reputation.”

Marsh harriers are protected under the Wildlife and Countryside Act and police would like to hear from anyone who saw anything suspicious in the area.

Mark Thomas, senior investigations officer with the RSPB, said: “Marsh harriers lay between three and five eggs on the ground, usually in a reedbed or among tall vegetation.

“Whoever has taken them is clearly someone who’s been watching the birds. My understanding is it’s a bird which had only been sitting on eggs for a short time. It’s a species which has been targeted before. We’re all on high alert.”

Up to 300 illegal collectors are believed to be active in the UK, with eggs from rare species highly-prized. They “blow” their booty using small drills before displaying them in cabinets.

EDP editor Nigel Pickover said the newspaper would offer a £1,000 reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the thief.

“These people damage our wildlife and tourism business just so they can admire something in private. It shows the sort of individuals they are,” he said.

Norfolk is one of the once-rare harrier’s strongholds, with nature lovers flocking to bird reserves like the RSPB’s Titchwell Marsh, near Hunstanton, to see the birds.

Pete Waters, brand manager at Visit Norfolk, said: “Norfolk has an enviable position as being the bird watching capital of the UK and incidence like this can only damage our reputation.”

•Anyone with information should call PC Jason Pegden, at Norfolk police, on 101.

This article written by Chris Bishop was first published by the Eastern Daily Press.

You can read the Norfolk Constabulary Press Release here.

May 14th, 2015

Young red-tailed hawk hatched in Cornell, USA


This video from the USA says about itself:

18 April 2012

See what it took to bring live streaming video of a pair of Red-tailed Hawks on Cornell’s campus. The technical crew worked day and night to install the cams early in the nesting season, before the hawks laid their eggs on a light tower 70 feet above an athletic field. To see the live feed during the nesting season, go to www.allaboutbirds.org/cornellhawks.

From the Cornell Lab of Ornithology in the USA:

May 4, 2015

Hatch Alert!

Under the cover of the predawn darkness, viewers of the Cornell Hawks‘ cam were the first welcome a new nestling hawk to the world. Big Red was incubating at the time, and while sightings of the nestling were difficult, she could be seen pulling pieces of broken eggshell from beneath her. As morning’s light arrived, we got our first glimpse of the hatchling, looking downy and bobbling energetically beneath its parents (watch highlight.)

Cornell red-tailed hawks about to hatch


This video from the USA is called Cornell [Red-tailed] Hawks [at their nest] Highlights 2014.

From the Cornell Lab of Ornithology in the USA:

May 1, 2015

Hawk Hatch Alert!

Spring is in the air here in Ithaca, New York, and that can mean only one thing: baby birds! Our Cornell Red-tailed Hawks have been an exciting addition to our springtime birding over the last four years, giving us new opportunities to learn about and enjoy the daily lives of a hawk family perched high above the Cornell campus. Now they’re poised to bring a fourth set of young hawks into the world.

Since our first year broadcasting this nest, the hawks’ eggs have hatched around 35-39 days after being laid. This year’s first egg was laid on March 28, and today we’re 34 days into the incubation period. Submit your guess as to when the first downy hatchling will be seen on cam and you could win an embroidered Cornell Lab stadium blanket, perfect for spring outings.

You can comment and keep up with the day-to-day happenings on our cams on the Bird Cams Facebook page and on the Cornell Hawks Twitter Feed.

Thank you for watching and good luck!

Watch the Hawks Now