Thursday, 24 February 2011

Stellers Sea Eagle - Photo of the day

With its striking black and white plumage and caricature yellow beak the Stellers Sea Eagle is an impressive bird of prey, it is also one of the four largest eagles in the world.

Found in some of the coldest parts of Russia and China most of us can only dream of seeing them in the wild but if you are truly desperate to see one in the feather check out Jemima Parry-Jones web blog. She owns and runs the fantastic ICBP in Gloucestershire and last year they became the first collection to breed these magnificent eagles in the UK. The parents and I presume the youngster can be seen at the centre this coming year.

Take a look at the image below.

Tawny owl plumage adapts to climate change!

A study has been carried out on Tawny Owls in Finland using 30 years of data relating to the colour of the owls in relation to climate change. There are two colour morphs found in the data, grey and brown and it is thought that more brown owls are monopolising the gene pool due to climate change.

The majority of owls have a dark mottled or streaky plumage to aid in camouflage and the Tawny owl is no different, I have seen Tawnies in Brown, Grey and a Rufous red morph. Being predominately nocturnal camouflage is a vital if they are to remain unseen during daylight hours. An owl of woodland here in the UK they are our most commonly found owl including towns and parks.

Take a look at the article below.

Saturday, 12 February 2011

Human Planet - Surviving with Eagles and Sky Burials

Have you seen the Mountains episode of Human Planet? If not the whole series has been nothing short of amazing, especially when it makes you realise what some communities go through just to stay alive. When I worry about fuel prices and whether i've picked up my mobile phone the people on Human Planet are doing some amazing things in far flung parts of the world just to survive.

The episode I have attached below covers the mountains and shows how kazakh men survive by creating an amazing bond with an ultimate hunter, Golden Eagles! Also included is what some people might find grizzly but I find fascinating, Sky Burials where the vultures of the Himalayas are your passage to the other side. (If you believe in that)

Monday, 7 February 2011

Vultures Shining Feathers!

I have just come across a really interesting news feed regarding the silvery effect given off by some vultures feathers aswell as some other species of birds. The vulture the study has focused on is in my opinion the beautiful Bearded Vulture, and the apparent silver sheen the feathers give off.

It was thought that it may be the pigment in the feathers as seen with a lot of bird species for sexual display but the silver sheen actually comes from the way the feather is made.

Take a read of the rest of the article below.

Saturday, 5 February 2011

How To Build A Nest!

Some birds of prey build a nest and some species don't bother, but kites go one step further when it comes to adorning there nest's. Most people associate bird thiefing with the magpie but the link below shows how Black and Red Kites also like to adorn there nests with trinkets and ribbons.

Red Kites were re-introduced to most parts of the British Isles after extensive persecution pushed them into a tiny home range within Mid Wales while there smaller cousins the Black Kites are probably the worlds most successful birds of prey.

Friday, 4 February 2011

New Nest Found For One Of The Worlds Largest Eagles!

They have to be one of my favourite eagles to day dream about seeing in the wild one day. The massive Harpy Eagle of South America with its 2 metre wingspan and feet capable of taking monkeys has been seen in the forests of Belize where it was thought to be vacant from.

Even though they are such a large powerful member of the bird of prey world they are still susceptible to persecution just like any apex predator. De-forestation and habitat destruction is one of the biggest players within the bird of prey world when it comes to dwindling numbers.

The news in the link below can only be good news but still shows the stark reality of how we effect even the biggest of the birds of prey.

New Des-Res for English Ospreys!

I mentioned in my last post about building some nest boxes for birds of prey and my recycled Barn Owl box well thats nothing compared to the nest sites being built by the Forestry Commission in Kielder.

Its nice to know that while the government are trying to sell the countries forests to plug there financial gaffes, the organisations who look after them and the wildlife within them are still working hard towards conservation.

Take a look at the link below for news on the Kielder Forestry Commission work.

First Month Down!

Well sorry I haven't been on for a week, sadly I haven't been near a computer but I have plenty of things to put on the blog for February. The blogs first month has gone by already and I've had loads of fun writing and researching for it, I hope people have had fun reading it.

In the Natural World things are starting to get active for birds of prey as the breeding season approaches fast. Some species may well be underway with courtship although the harsh weather may have stalled the early birds. Ravens although not a bird of prey are one of the earliest around here starting in Jan/Feb and I know of a pair that nest right next to my local Peregrine pair.

I have been building nestboxes for a few species with a few varied designs especially for Little Owls, so I will frantically be putting them up in the next fortnight. The other day I found a Barn Owl roost site in an old derelict barn so I thought an indoor nest box was in order. I made a box completely recyled from three pieces of chipboard for nothing. I will put a seperate thread up hopefully showing the box and placing it in the barn.

I have just received an e-mail marking the start of the local Peregrine watch, sadly they didn't rear any last year despite the hard work of the watch. Fingers crossed for the pair and the watch this year.

Keep reading!