Wednesday, 26 January 2011

African Vulture Crisis!

Those of you who regularly follow news and in particular news on nature and birds of prey I'm sure will have come across the Asian Vulture Crisis where some 95% of vulture species have disappeared across much of Asia due to the use of drugs such as Diclofenac, a drug used to treat cattle but is deadly once in the food chain.

Well it might come as no surprise that the same is happening to African vulture species as highlighted by research carried out by the Peregrine Fund. I'm sure you don't need me to tell you how vitally important vultures are in the grand scheme of things cleaning up carcasses and decaying meat.

Take a look a the link below for more information on the research carried out.

Map Highlighting Raptor Persecution Hotspots!

A map of Scotland has been published highlighting the persecution of birds of prey across the country. It is aimed to really highlight the ongoing effort to stop the illegal Killing of birds of prey.

Scotland is a stong hold for a large array of birds of prey found on the British Isles and has included the introduction of such species as the White Tailed Sea Eagle and the return of breeding Ospreys at many sites but these birds are still shot and poisoned to this date.

Its isn't a thing of the past as this map shows and I believe this map shows just the tip of the ice berg as this goes on in England Wales and Ireland!

See the map on the link below.

How Do Peregrines Dive So Fast?

I have just come across a couple of interesting theories/articles covering how a Peregrine gains the super speeds it dives or stoops at and whether it is capable of reaching speeds in excess of 200mph.

If you have never been lucky enough to see a wild Peregrine in full flight it is just awe inspiring to watch especially if you are lucky enough to see a hunt. I recommend you find your nearest Peregrine site and get out to view them this Spring/Summer, you won't be disappointed.

Saturday, 22 January 2011

Help Stop Wildlife Crime!

Bird Life Malta have launched this years Spring Watch Camp to help put a stop to illegal killing and persecution of birds and raptors in particular. Every year thousands of birds including many different species of raptors fly over Malta on there annual migration to there breeding grounds. The Maltese hunters sadly are known to come out in force and shoot anything that flies above them although many of these birds are protected species in Malta.

Recently the Maltese Government were taken to court for flaunting EU directives against illegal hunting and were forced to ban hunting. The idea of the camp is to act as a deterrent and gather evidence of any illegal activities taking place.

Why not take a look at the link below to find out more about Spring Watch in Malta

Barn Owls Struggle Through Harsh Weather!

It might come as no suprise to you that the harsh winter we have had has taken its toll on a variety of wildlife but the Barn Owl in the UK has really struggled. Barn Owls being warm blooded animals continually have to feed in order to stay alive just like our garden birds, now Barn Owls only weigh between 10-16oz so thats a lot of prey needed and not a lot of fat to keep you going through the cold winter months. This is added to because the primary prey of mice and field vole populations drop during winter and when it snows Barn Owls struggle to find there prey.

This lack of food has a knock on effect for the breeding season, as the male Owl has to work hard to feed the female and bring her into breeding condition. If she doesn't reach an optimum weight in order to breed they won't breed that year, and its perfectly sensible really, if the male can't provide for the female then how will he manage to feed upto 5 greedy chicks.

Read the article below just published on Wildlife Extra showing how the last winter has effected some Barn Owl populations.

Monday, 17 January 2011

Eagle Owls in the UK!

Eagle Owls are now part of the British countryside. FACT. Although it has caused some arguments and raised eyebrows I personally believe they should be allowed here to stay. The initial argument came about because of a fear that the Eagle Owls would predate other sensitive species like Hen Harriers but this has yet to be proven. Also that they have only been introduced to Britain through escapee falconry birds, but have they? or is one of the largest species of owl in the world capable of making the short flight in bird terms across the English channel from the continent.

Well if this is all new to you or you have seen the odd news article and wanted to know a little bit more about the situation and the history of Eagle Owls in Britain take a look at the paper realised by the BOU.

Sunday, 16 January 2011

News on Hen Harrier persecution in Scotland!

Check out the Raptor Politics website for a link to the latest on Hen Harrier persecution in Scotland. A report was carried out to investigate the issue of Hen Harriers and their demise on Scottish grouse moors. This report was put on hold by landowners but has now surfaced.

The shooting industry is worth millions in Scotland and gamekeepers and landowners are keen to defend this so are extremely protective over their game birds. Raptors will predate game birds but they also bring in millions through tourism. These birds especially Hen Harriers have gone from vast tracts of moorland in Scotland and it is thought this is because of persecution and illegal poisoning. The gamekeepers defence is that there are too many birds of prey on the land and they want licences to cull certain species/numbers, because gamekeepers have a job to do, if they don't produce the numbers of birds required they could be out of a job. Landowners expect the game birds to be available for the high paying clients throughout the shooting season placing more pressure on the keepers. So should the book stop with gamekeepers or landowners? Read this report for a view from the different sides.

One thing that is brutally true in all this is that birds of prey are still illegally persecuted and certain species are missing from large tracts of their natural range all in the name of human pleasure and greed.

See the link below for the Raptor Politics site with the link to the Hen Harrier report have a read and make up your own mind.

Thursday, 13 January 2011

White Tailed Sea Eagle visits the New Forest!

What looks like a juvenile White Tailed Sea Eagle has made an appearance over the New Forest this month. Bird watchers have rushed to catch a glimpse of Britains largest bird of prey. White Tailed Sea Eagles were wiped out across the UK but have been since reintroduced firstly to the West coast of Scotland and more recently the East coast. Have a loook at the article below.

Wednesday, 12 January 2011

Wildflife Extra Raptor News

Check out the links below from the Wildlife Extra page. One highlights the issues with wind turbines and birds of prey. Another covers the issus of illegal persecution of Red Kites in the UK and finally a project by SNH to stop the decline of the beautiful Hen Harrier.

Snowy Owls Dazzle

Check out this research carried out on Snowy Owls where they use there white plumage and direction of the sun to dazzle and show off themselves to defend there territories.

Tuesday, 11 January 2011

Check out the Birds of prey Related web pages!

I've just created a page covering websites that I have used and think you will find really useful. I have only put the pages up that I respect and use. Check out the captive birds of prey sites with two of the best examples in the ICBP and Hawk Conservancy, they offer fantastic flying displays in the summer months. The conservation section is packed with organisations carrying out work all over the world, the Raptor Research Foundation working worldwide on scientific research, World Owl Trust for those of you interested in owl conservation or Philippine Eagle Foundation for some truly impressive Eagle conservation. Theres lots more there and if I've missed any please let me know.

The Raptor Study Groups carry out great valuable work on the ground and can be a really rewarding thing to get involved with or why not just follow there work and support there projects, mainly British ones but hopefully I can add some international ones soon.

With birds of prey coming closer in contact with humans and our urban environment more are being found injured or in distress. If you find a bird of prey and need some assistance you need someone who knows what they are talking about, Raptor Rescue should be able to help. With more birds of prey being kept in captivity some are lost and found by the public, so if you find what you believe to be a captive bred bird of prey the IBR should be able to help.

Finally one of my favourite Raptor sites at current has to be Raptor Track by Roy Dennis and associates. GPS  tracking is being used more and more to monitor the movemoents of birds of prey locally but also on an international scale and importantly following migration routes and how and where these birds make the amazing migrations they do!

If there are any broken links or sites you might feel worth sharing please let me know and I hope you enjoy the sites currently listed.

Monday, 10 January 2011


Hi and thanks for taking the time to view the this page and I hope you find it interesting and informative.

I have created this blog because of my love and passion of birds of prey and to share thoughts/ideas and news reports covering all aspects of birds of prey. Birds of prey have held a fascination with man for years and never more so has it been important to know about conservation issues relating to them.

Although birds of prey are now protected in many countries both direct and indirect persecution happens, I want this blog to raise awareness and bring information to peoples attention. Hopefully it won't always be doom and gloom I'll bring you all the positive news aswell.

So hopefully this can be your one stop blog to keep upto date with birds of prey. If you want to get in touch feel free.