In spring of 2010 we continued studies of migration features of raptors in various regions in Ukraine.
To observe migrations of birds of prey we have chosen three regions in the territory of Polissia in Zhytomyr and Kyiv regions. From 26 to 29.03.2010 investigations were carried out on Slovechansko-Ovrutskyi Ridge, located in Ovruch district of Zhytomyr region. This forest-covered ridge stretched from west to east for about 50 km, the maximum altitude is 316 m above sea level. The observations were done from two points, placed at the height about 260 m above s.l. near the villages Barvinkovo and Pokalev on abandoned agricultural lands. There, the open landscape prevails in the upper Ridge, resembling steppe areas with their gully systems. The southern wind dominated in the days of observation; the wind velocity changed from 3 to 12 m/sec. The bird passage went in eastern, north-eastern and north directions.
In addition to observations we caught raptors to mark them with rings. The captured birds were measured and weighed. Two Goshawk females, one female of Sparrowhawk and one Corvidae (Raven) have been captured. That was the period when only juvenile Goshawks migrate with mass not exceeding 1200 g. The goshawks differentiated in coloration from those, for instance, captured in the vicinity of Kyiv (these were lighter). Apparently, these birds do not relate to ‘Ukrainian’ breeding population. Unfortunately our observations got into a drop of the migration wave, so with every day there was smaller and smaller number of migratory birds. Similar picture was seen for other species of hovering birds such as White and Black Storks, Common Crane. It was registered the appearance of first migratory birds in the region – Lesser Spotted Eagle (26.03), Osprey (28.03), Short-toed Eagle (29.03). Among local birds of prey we saw only the Common Buzzard, actively displaying, and also the Goshawk.
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The new number of Stepet journal has been published. – 2009. – Vol. 7, Iss. 1-2. The journal includes the following publications on birds of prey:
• Belik, V.P. Characteristics of demonstrative and hunting ecology of Short-toed Eagle // P. 50-61. [in Russian]
• Efimenko, N. N. Black Vulture in Turkmenistan: distribution, breeding ecology, numbers and conservation // P. 62-77. [in Russian]
• Malovichko, L.V., Fedosov, V.N. Accidental flight of obligate scavenger birds in the steppe of Stavropolje // P. 91-93. [in Russian]
• Dyachenko, M.P. Breeding of the Lesser Kestrel in the village of Ulan-Khol in the east of Kalmykia // P. 94-96. [in Russian]
• Domashevsky, S.V., Demidenko, Yu.A. Migration of birds of prey in the vicinity of Kyiv in autumn 2008 // P. 97-100. [in Russian]
Price of the journal is 60 roubles + shipping costs. If you would like to purchase the journal please contact the editor Viktor Belik (firstname.lastname@example.org), in Ukraine – to Yury Milobog (email@example.com).
Below there are data on the size of breeding populations of Falconiformes and Strigiformes of Ukraine (table). If have a look, they prove that numbers of many raptors go on declining. Compared to the previous one (Red Data Book of Ukraine, 1994) the new edition (Red Data Book of Ukraine, 2009) additionally added two species of Falconiformes and Owls. Numbers of eight species don’t exceed several dozens of pairs. Two species (Red Kite и Pallid Harrier) stopped breeding in Ukraine, another two (Osprey и Lesser Kestrel), are also obviously extinct.
For the last 15 years increase of numbers was noted for 6 species of Falconiformes, while 5 species have decreased, and 5 have a stable population; as for the other, their trend isn’t possible to estimate since they stopped breeding or breed only in few quantity.
Quite a great reduction of numbers has been recorded for the Black Kite, Montagu’s Harrier, Spotted Eagle, Levant Sparrowhawk и Lesser Kestrel. Increased numbers have the Long-legged Buzzard, Imperial Eagle, White-tailed Eagle, Saker и Peregrine Falcons. Stable, with small fluctuations, are populations of the Short-toed Eagle, Booted Eagle, Lesser Spotted Eagle, Golden Eagle, Black Vulture и Griffon Vulture.
As for Owls, growth of numbers was registered for the Eagle Owl, Ural Owl and Great Grey Owl. Trends of other Strigiformes are hard to estimate reliably because these birds are poor studied.
EXPERIENCE OF ATTRACTION OF TAWNY OWLS TO ARTIFICIAL NESTS IN KHARKIV REGION
Attraction of some species for breeding often allows to increase their numbers. These actions can be performed by everyone for bird conservation. In addition, it is a unique opportunity to monitor populations of nocturnal species. Ukraine still has gained quite a small experience in the attraction of the Tawny Owls for breeding. That is exactly the reason why we introduce this material.
In the late 1970s – early 1980s, students of the biological faculty of Kharkiv University organized year-round observations at the biological station in Haidary Village. They were engaged in bird ringing, hung log houses and studied the biology of different species of flycatchers; manufactured and installed nest boxes for the Tawny Owl. By 1979 the number of the latter reached 55. They were of different designs – like boarded birdhouses and those hollowed out of logs. Although at that time in the upland oak-grove of Homolsha Forests there were enough trees with natural cavities, owls occupied nest boxes with a fair success. Works on the attraction of the Tawny Owl and study of their ecology at that time were led by Ihor Prisada.