During January 2009 three counts of birds of prey were carried out in agricultural landscapes of Cherkasy region. A motor-car was used for the counts; the total route length amounted to 178 km.
The investigations covered: 2.01.09 – Zolotonosha and Chornobay districts; 17.01.09 – Cherkasy and Chygyryn districts.
Weather conditions: snow cover was 10-15 cm thick during counts, the first and second counts were conducted in clear weather with day temperature -5…-7oC, the third count was in cloudy weather with temperature near 0 oC (underestimation is possible).
Results are presented in the table: Read the rest of this entry »
New issue of Ukrainian ornithological journal “Berkut” (2007, Vol. 16, Iss. 2) includes the following papers on birds of prey:
• Dombrovsky V.Ch. – Toward breeding of the Spotted Eagle in Western and South Ukraine. [in Russian]
• Kitowski I., Pitucha G. – Long term changes in the population size of the Eurasian Marsh Harrier breeding on main water bodies of Zamosc region, east Poland.
• Kitowski I., Pitucha G. – Diet of the Eurasian Tawny Owl in farmland of east Poland.
• Wiacek J. – The function of the female’s sky-dancing in the Montagu’s Harrier in natural habitats of Eastern Poland.
In spite of great ornithologists’ interest, Ukrainian birds of prey still remain a poor studied group. Due to changes in distribution and numbers, status of many raptor species has changed in many regions and is actually unknown. As a consequence, the ornithologists often rely on data from former researches, which now don’t correspond to real situation.
«Blank spots», and as a result, the most designing issues in the present status of Ukrainian birds of prey are:
• Species breeding:
− Osprey (Pandion haliaetus);
− Hen Harrier (Circus cyaneus);
− Spotted Eagle (Aquila clanga);
− Golden Eagle (Aquila chrysaetos);
− Lesser Kestrel (Falco naumanni).
• Reliable data about accidental flights:
− Red Kite (Milvus milvus),
− Gyrfalcon (Falco rusticolus);
− Snowy Owl (Nyctea scandiaca);
− Hawk Owl (Surnia ulula).
It is also still unknown if the following wintering species are resident or not: long-legged Buzzard, Buzzard, Imperial Eagle, Saker, Kestrel, Long-eared Owl and others.
The material, presented by us, is based on the data for the last decade. It shows nowadays status of raptors.
Vetrov V.V., Gavrilyuk M.N., Domashevsky S.V., Milobog Yu.V, with some consultations of Prokopenko S.P.
Compilers will be grateful for any information, specifying data on Ukrainian birds of prey status presented in the table, especially if it concerns particular regions. Everyone having such data is requested to send them by e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org or by direct authors’ e-mails .
14.01.2009 we visited the urban junkyard of Kyiv, located in Obukhov district near the village of Krenychi. There we carried out counts and catching of birds of prey. It was recorded a concentration of Corvidae (Jackdaw, Rook), about 3,000 individuals in a total. Apart from these species, the junkyard is a feeding place for the Yellow-legged Gulls – 150 birds, crows – 80, Rock Doves – 60, Starlings – 20, Tree Sparrows – 300.
Among birds of prey there were recorded the Buzzard -12 individuals, Goshawk – 3-4, Sparrowhawk -2, Black Kite -1. The Black Kite was recorded on wintering in Kyiv region for the first time!
We observed many hunting attempts of a Goshawk for Corvidae, but on a decoy pigeon these raptors do not react. They hunt high in the sky, driving bird flocks to the height up to 250 m. We also see a hunting for a Rook: an adult male chased its prey till tops of the trees and successfully grabbed it there. Four Buzzards were caught and ringed.
Raptor ringing is one of our studies directions
A trip to Kyiv area turned out to be rather interesting. After Christmas holidays I was enthusiastic to spend a day in nature and be revived with good impressions. Since the very dawn of 9.01.2009 I set tackles for catching raptors near the village of Pukhovka (Brovary district). Snow cover was thick, and temperature equaled to – 9˚С. Pigeons began to circle over a cattle-breeding farm, attracting hungry goshawks…
First I captured an adult female already with a ring on her leg. I took out my old acquaintance from the net and tightly swaddled the bird to lie and not to disturb me in making counts and catching other raptors. An attack of a Buzzard was unsuccessful; the bird only touched a decoy pigeon, but did not get into nets. However, other two attacks were lucky. I managed to catch an adult male and female. Each of the Buzzards got an aluminum ring and was released. After finishing observations the Goshawk female was also released. Apart from her, an adult male flew to hunt for pigeons, probably it was her partner.
Having returned home, I looked through ringing reports and was pleasantly surprised. I have found out that I had ringed this female on 16.10.1998. At that time she was already in an adult bird plumage. So, the bird’s age is at least 11 years!!! A really pleasant meeting for me! Today I also met a pair of adult White-tailed Eagles, about 15 Buzzards moving southward, a Rough-legged Buzzard and a Sparrowhawk.
The 30 Kilometer Chornobyl’s alienation zone is poorly studied and at the same time one of the most interesting area. Participants of the expedition from 23th December to 26th December 2008 by car ‘Niva’ conducted counts of wintering large birds of prey in the zone.
During studies, snow cover was about 6-8 cm. Night temperature fell to -5˚C. Frequent snowfalls worsened visibility in open areas, causing underestimation of raptors. The counts were taking during all daylight period. There were studied areas of the Pripyat river channel from the city of Pripyat to the river mouth. Besides, we visited several points in the lower reaches of Uzh River till the place of its inflow in the Pripyat River, some points in the Uzh floodplain 40 km upstream, a part of Kyiv Reservoir near the village of Strakholesye, bordering on the alienated zone. Read the rest of this entry »