We already published information on attracting the Tawny Owl to artificial nest boxes in Kharkiv region at our web-pages. The present material is dedicated to experience of attracting this owl species to artificial nests and some results of studying its ecology.
MONITORING RESULTS OF USING NEST BOXES
IN NATIONAL NATURAL PARK “HOMILSHANSKI FORESTS”
If you remember, in 2001-2002 a group of Kharkiv ornithologists and bird lovers installed 55 nests boxes for the Tawny Owl in the oak grove in the territory of the present NPP “Homilshanski Forests”. Regular checking of nest boxes and bird observations in the area allowed to receive a lot of information how the Tawny Owl lives in the oakery.
In particular, our initial assumptions about decreasing bird numbers due to felling of old hollow trees were not confirmed. The bird density was rather high (4-6 pairs/km2), similar to the highest known figures among European populations, and bird numbers in the studied area kept stable for 10 years. With such a high density, a number of territorial pairs in the area exceeded the number of installed nest boxes. However, most pairs preferred natural hollows for nesting. Special studies to clarify to what extent the birds are supplied with hollows showed that the density of hollows in the area (1.9 hollows/10 ha) much exceeds the number of owl boxes (0.1 box/10 ha). Though this parameter much depends on the forest age, obtained results can be extrapolated to other forest-steppe oak groves of Eastern Ukraine.
Monitoring of populations of rare Falconiformes is an important tool to organize protection of these birds. For this purpose we have developed the Monitoring Programme for the Birds of Prey of Ukraine. One of the Programme directions is long-term tracking of the White-tailed Eagle population.
We initiated the monitoring of the White-tailed Eagle population in 1992. That time numbers of this rare raptor in the Dnieper valley just started to restore and a discovery of every nest was a big event. Each year and expedition after expedition the territory of our studies expanded, and the numbers of the White-tailed Eagle also increased. At present, we know approximately 50 breeding sites of the White-tailed Eagle within regions of Chernihiv, Kyiv, Cherkasy, Kirovohrad and Poltava.
Annual monitoring includes occupation control of known breeding sites, search for new pairs, control of breeding success and productivity, organization of protection for breeding sites.
Results of these studies were reflected in a dissertation (PhD thesis) (Gavrilyuk 2002), and in individual publications (Gavrilyuk, Grishchenko, 1999; Gavrilyuk, Grishchenko, 2000; 2008 etc.). Over the 19 years we tracked 111 breeding cases. It is established that the average breeding success is 74%, i.e. approximately ¼ pairs breed successfully. Mostly the reason of unsuccessful breeding is hard to find out, however we know cases when these eagles did not breed chicks because of forestry activity in their breeding period or human disturbance.
25.07 − 1.08.2010 it took place the joint expedition of the Ukrainian Birds of Prey Research Centre and Slovak ornithologists, directed at studying raptors in the north of Ukraine.
Our guests was Miroslav Dravecky – coordinator on the Lesser Spotted Eagle in Slovakia, Miroslav Lehocky – expert on birds of prey, staff-worker of the Slovak Paradise National Park, Milan Oleksak – a representative of the Ringing Centre “Drienovec”, located at the territory of the Slovak Karst National Park.
Photo by M.Dravecky, S.Domashevsky
The Slovak colleagues were interested to observe very rare species for their country – Short-toed Eagle и Booted Eagle. At the present time in Slovakia breeds only one pair of the Short-toed Eagles, living in the eastern part of the country, while the Booted Eagle disappeared on breeding. Therefore we decided to visit Polissia where the Short-toed Eagle is distributed rather widely and, if possible, to come to the south of the forest-steppe zone for our guests to have chance of seeing the Booted Eagle. For Ukrainian ornithologists, this expedition gave the opportunity to monitor already known pairs of birds of prey and receive new data on their distribution.
Generally, we have received few communications, which do not completely reflect the status of monitoring of falcons and owls. The monitoring information was sent by V.Vetrov, S.Domashevksy, Yu.Milobog, V.Novak, A.Salnik, K.Pysmennyi, K.Redinov, P.Panchenko, V.Syzhko, O.Formanyuk.
In 2009 ornithologists did monitoring of some species of birds of prey in several regions of Ukraine:
− Long-legged Buzzard (Vitaly Vetrov та Yury Milobog − controlled 10 pairs, Konstantin Redinov − tracked results of breeding of 10 pairs: Sergey Domashevsky and Maxim Gavrilyuk − controlled 5 pairs);
− White-tailed Eagle (Maxim Gavrilyuk) − controlled 5 breeding sites;
− Imperial Eagle (Yury Milobog, Vitaly Vetrov) controlled 8 breeding sites;
− Short-toed Eagle (Konstantin Pysmennyi) − tracked results of breeding of 7 pairs;
− Saker Falcon (Yury Milobog, Vitaly Vetrov) − tracked results of breeding of 7 pairs;
− Eagle Owl (Vitaly Vetrov) − tracked results of breeding of approximately 50 pairs.
Research on the population status of birds of prey in the alienated zone of the Chornobyl Atomic Power Station in summer 2010Wednesday, September 8th, 2010 Posted in Chornobyl alienation zone, Fauna, Field researches, Monitoring, Photos | No Comments »
During June-July 2010 we have three times traveled to the alienated zone of the Chornobyl Atomic Power Station (CAPS), which noticeably added to our knowledge of raptors in this area. A number of visits had been also taken before, to study wintering fauna of Falconiformes.
Two visits in the alienated zone of CAPS have been associated with our participation in shooting a documentary movie about nature and self-settled people in the alienated zone. Therefore, materials on birds during these visits were collected along the way, although they gave good results. From 5 to 08.07.2010, this area has been surveyed to determine distribution and numbers of birds of prey.
We used the methodology of point census. Working in open areas where raptors are well- visible, we did counts with the optics at fixed points for a certain period of time. We recorded flying and hunting birds. Thus, we have partly examined a central section of the Uzh river valley, some of the reclaimed areas, abandoned farmlands and meadows. Birds of prey were also recorded during our movements. It has been also surveyed by vessel the section downstream from Chornobyl through the Pripyat river delta to the confluence with Kyiv Reservoir and in the opposite direction. Taking into account meanders of the river, the distance of the journey by vessel was about 60 km. Within the zone, we investigated the area of Ivankovo Region and only few areas of Polissia Region. We didn’t survey large forest stands of the north-western part of the alinetated zone – Polissia Region.
25-30 April 2010 a group of Ukrainian and Russian ornithologists, traveling by car on the route Luhansk (Ukraine) – Orenburg (Ukraine) to participate in the ХІІІ International Ornithological Conference have collected data on distribution and numbers of birds of prey. They are presented below.
Photo by M.Gavrilyuk, V.Vetrov, E.M.Pisanets, V.Remenny
Experts of different profile traveled by three cross-country vehicles. They were ornithologists V.P.Belik (Rostov-on-Don, Russia), V.V.Vetrov (Luhansk, Ukraine), M.Gavrilyuk (Cherkasy, Ukraine), S.P.Litvinenko (Luhansk), Yu.V.Milobog (Kryvyi Rih, Ukraine), A.B.Chapyhina (Kharkiv, Ukraine); batrachologists E.M.Pisanets, V.Remenny (both from Kyiv, Ukraine); entomologist G.Yevtushenko, botanist N.I.Konoplya (both from Luhansk); student A.Rashelevskaya (Kryvyi Rih). Three of them were doctors and four candidates of science (PhD). In spite of different inerests of the expedition members, a particular attention in the travel was paid to observation of birds of prey.
The travel in the territory of Russia crossed Rostov, Volgograd, Saratov, Samara and Orenburg regions (map). Undoutedly, having passed 2000 km for 6 days, it was hard to collect detail information. Moreover, a part of the valuable time was spent on customs, searching for roads (as a famous writer Gogol’ spoke the roads are one of two main griefs of Russia) and other unforeseen circumstances. However, even in these conditions we managed to get a general image of composition and distribution of birds of prey in steppes of South Russia.
Totally for the period of trip we observed 18 species of Falconiformes and 3 species of Owls. Above all we noticed unequal distribution and numbers of rare species of birds of prey.
To investigate distribution and numbers of birds of prey in Polissia we have recently completed studies in the Zdvyzh river valley.
The river of Zdvizh is a right tributary of the Teteriv River (the Dnieper Basin). Its source is in Brusyliv district of Zhytomyr region. Further river crosses Makarivka, Borodianka and Ivankiv districts of Kyiv region. The length of the river is 145 km. The valley is trapezoidal, the width equals up to 4 km. The floodplain in the upper reaches is boggy with width up to 1 km. The riverbed is moderately winding, up to 20 m wide. Two reservoirs and a network of ponds have been built to regulate the water flow. The river is canalized for a long distance.
Works to study birds of prey in the Zdvyzh valley were started in 2006. Investigations were carried out by point counts. The observers spent 1 hour or more at observation points. The distance between points of observation ranged 3 or more km, depending on the possibility of a convenient entrance to them by car. It was worked out 27 points. According to the methodology, all species of birds of prey were registered, the data put on the map with a scale of 1:200000. Thus, we have examined all the river length.
As the river valley is visited for hunting by many species of birds of prey nesting in the nearby forests, such registrations can give interesting results. It was observed 6 species of raptors listed in the Red Data Book of Ukraine.
In total we recorded 13 species of birds of prey in the following numbers (pairs): Honey Buzzard − 4; Black Kite − 2; Common Buzzard − 54; Marsh Harrier− 23; Montagu’s Harrier − 19; Goshawk − 4; Sparrowhawk − 2; Short-toed Eagle − 5−6; Lesser Spotted Eagle − 11; White-tailed Eagle − 1; Common Kestrel − 6; Hobby Falcon − 9.
Thus, the Buzzard dominated among birds of prey. It should be noted a sufficiently high number of Montagu’s Harrier and Lesser Spotted Eagle, included in the Red Data Book of Ukraine.
Also of interest is a record of one individual of the Long-legged Buzzard at the source of the river (Brusyliv district of Zhytomyr region). The type of stay of this species is unknown.
Sergey Domashevsky, Vasily Kostyushin, Konstantin Pysmennyi
From 8 to 10 May 2010 to monitor the well-known breeding areas of birds of prey and search for new, there were conducted fieldtrips to the left bank and right bank area of Kyiv Polissia.
One day was devoted to researches in Vyshgorod district, on the right bank of the Desna which is a tributary of the Dnieper. There were also surveyed the neighboring areas of Chernihiv region. It was examined the north-eastern part of the vast swamp Ostrovs’ke, represented by a wet area overgrown with birch trees and willows; conducted observations in the southern part of Vydra marsh and in the floodplain of the floodplain of the Desna.
A total of 11 species of birds of prey were registered. Among Red Data Book species there were recorded the White-tailed Eagle, a pair of Black Kites, and also previously know 3 pairs of the Lesser Spotted Eagles and a pair of the Shot-toed Eagles. Among other species: the Honey Buzzard – one territorial bird, Marsh Harrier – 1 pair, Common Buzzard – 8 pairs, Sparrowhawk – 3 pairs, Goshawk – 1 pair, Hobby Falcon – 4 pairs, Common Kestrel – 1 pair. During the period of study it was registered a weak migration of birds, observed 1 individual of the Honey Buzzard, 1 of Marsh Harrier, and 1 of Hobby Falcon.
In the right bank area of Polissia on 9 and 10th May we investigated Borodianka and Ivankiv district and Polissia area. There were investigated forest stands, open areas near island forests, some territories of the Teteriv River floodplain, and sites of small river valleys. There were recorded 9 species of birds of prey. We observed the Short-toed Eagle on the previously known territory. New breeding areas were found: the Honey Buzzard – 1 pair, Montagu’s Harrier – 2 males, Marsh Harrier – 9 pairs, Sparrowhawk – 6 pairs, Common Buzzard – 17 pairs, Short-toed Eagle – 1 pair, Lesser Spotted Eagle – 3 pairs, Hobby Falcon – 3 birds. Pairs of Hobby Falcon kept near the raven’s nests. Some nests of Ravens still had chicks going to fledge. Small falcons waited when host leave their nests to occupy them.
Sergey Domashevsky, Vasily Kostyushin, Konstantin Pismennyi
We have been carried out the monitoring of Long-legged Buzzard in Mykolaiv area since 2000.
In 2009 8 of 10 traced cases of breeding were successful (one breeding case was informed by Pavlo Panchenko). Reasons of unsuccessful breeding attempts were the following: in one case birds abandoned the nests, probably because of disturbance (the vicinity of Ochakov City); in another case the old nest, existed for many years, turned out to be strongly inclined, and under the tree we discovered a fallen chick in the second downy plumage. We place the chick back to the repaired nest but its further fortune is unknown.
As a part of nests were examined from ground we didn’t always manage to identify the exact number of chicks. In general, the breeding success of the species was average – 2.1 chicks per a successfully breeding pair. One nest contained 4 fledglings, other – 3, all the rest had 1-2 fledglings. One of the nests had 2 chicks and 2 addled eggs. The highest number of chicks had the pair nested near the colony of the spotted sousliks.
According to data of previous years (since 2000), averagely 2.2 fledglings left nests, at this 80% of traced breeding attempts were successful.
Konstantin Redinov, Regional Landscape Park ‘Kinburnska Spit’
Consolidated tables of the population monitoring of birds of prey in Mezhrechenskiy Regional Landscape Park are represented here. The article is prepared by Sergey Domashevsky and hasn’t been published yet in printing. It is being updated on basis of new materials about conditions of the populations inside of the park’s territory till the publication. The file with updated data always can be found on our site.
Our photogallery would help to get an insight into nesting and hunting biotopes of birds of prey in Mezhrechenskiy Park and like a little excursion it would let you appreciate beauty of the nature by yourself. Please take a look at the map to get a notion about the geographical situation of the Park.