Bird thread

Trewsers

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Anybody noticed huge flocks of Starlings? What a lovely site - so cheery and noisy! They've been gathering here in great numbers today - the girls are fascinated! They don't half plop on the horses when they fly over though - poor Chloe is quite bespattered:giggle::frown:
And I'm not sure if it is the time if year but the owls are really noisy atm. Anybody else notice this? And if you hack out - do your horses ever mind birds in great numbers? They don't bother Storm, about 300 flew over the other week whilst we were schooling and she didn't seem to mind, even tho their beating wings are noisy.
 

Bodshi

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How lovely, I was just thinking this morning how much I miss the starlings - they seem to be getting fewer and fewer round here. There was a flock a couple of weeks ago but I think they must have been just passing through. The only birds we seem to have in great numbers here are pigeons and pheasants. Our horses are pretty much ok with them now, but they don't like the ducks that lay in wait in the ditches until last possible minute to fly out and surprise us with their damn quacking!

Saw some buzzards on our hack this morning, that was nice. Where my farrier is there are red kites in abundance and I love to see them, they come so close too.
 

Trewsers

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Ooh buzzards! We hear them and spot them every now and again - they are great birds, we managed to see their undersides recently when they were hovering. I had never seen one until we moved here.
 
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pinkheather

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There are too many raptors at the moment the song birds are suffering I counted around a dozen buzzards on the hill at the back of the house, last week I saw a sea eagle in the distance didn't know what the hell it was till local farmer told me and he was none too chuffed about it being in the area, it must have an 8 or 10 foot wing span. I haven't heard a whaup (curlew) for a while peasies are scarce and I don't seem that hear the same amount of sky larks.
 

Bodshi

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Do you put the decline in song birds down to an increase in raptors Pinkheather? I'd say in my limited experience of observing my own back garden that it's more likely to be too many crows - we do seem to have a lot of those also and although I do like crows, and always wanted a pet crow as a child, it is upsetting to watch them patrolling up and down the hedge picking out the eggs and baby birds in their nests.

I know buzzards eat rabbit and red kites eat carrion so I wouldn't have thought either of those would be a problem (unless to local farmers/gamekeepers who I think are wary of them eating their pheasants). Apparently in bygone days red kites were a city bird where they lived on the rubbish discarded by humans.

We used to have sparrowhawks visiting our garden, but they seem to have disappeared too.
 

Trewsers

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Do you put the decline in song birds down to an increase in raptors Pinkheather? I'd say in my limited experience of observing my own back garden that it's more likely to be too many crows - we do seem to have a lot of those also and although I do like crows, and always wanted a pet crow as a child, it is upsetting to watch them patrolling up and down the hedge picking out the eggs and baby birds in their nests.

I know buzzards eat rabbit and red kites eat carrion so I wouldn't have thought either of those would be a problem (unless to local farmers/gamekeepers who I think are wary of them eating their pheasants). Apparently in bygone days red kites were a city bird where they lived on the rubbish discarded by humans.

We used to have sparrowhawks visiting our garden, but they seem to have disappeared too.


I had a very tame crow a few years ago - where we used to live. He was marvellous and very clever. He would follow me about the garden "helpfully" digging up my bulbs that I had planted:giggle: Watching him fly properly for the first time was wonderfully entertaining: he took off from next doors garage roof and flew over onto ours:angel:
 

Trewsers

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There are too many raptors at the moment the song birds are suffering I counted around a dozen buzzards on the hill at the back of the house, last week I saw a sea eagle in the distance didn't know what the hell it was till local farmer told me and he was none too chuffed about it being in the area, it must have an 8 or 10 foot wing span. I haven't heard a whaup (curlew) for a while peasies are scarce and I don't seem that hear the same amount of sky larks.

We don't hear the curlews here until proper spring when they come inland to nest in our fields. I've postponed topping a few times now until they have finished (I initially left it too late to top) nesting. I love their noise - they are lovely creatures with their fabulous beaks.
We have hundreds of pheasies here! No shortage. I have about six tame ones atm!!!! One Mr Gillies who follows me hacking or schooling:giggle:
 

Trewsers

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Tell you what we never see much of here - sparrows! Loads of blue tits, chaffinches, coal tits and blackbirds - even woody woodpecker (both varieties) but rarely sparrows.
 
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pinkheather

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Read an interesting article in the Scottish field mag that raptors are one of the reasons for the decline in song birds as they are no longer controlled you are correct buzzards normally take dead things but when I moved here about 30 years ago sighting a buzzard was rare. There is a decline in song thrushes and lots of other small birds. Mrs PH is the twitcher in our family and she definitely puts the issue down to raptors. There is a big increase in all the different types up here. The gamies can't get the the pheasants and partridges to settle for the shoots which causes much angst. They don't effect the stalking or fishing so I suppose the estates don't lose out too much. But even I have noticed a decline I some of the wee birds. There have been a lot of these big birds reintroduced up here don't know if that has had an effect, they are even talking about wolves linkz and bears now. Beavers have established themselves in places a long with reindeer not sure if its good or bad time will tell.
 

LindaAd

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When we first moved here there were starlings, thrushes and sparrows - never see any of them now. Still have plenty of tits, goldfinches, robins, blackbirds and woodpigeons. Oh, and magpies - I think they take eggs and baby birds too. I think part of the problem is the use of insectisides, and the loss of habitat - I don't know why the raptors are increasng, if they are. We see the occasional buzzard and sparrowhawk, but not many.
 

Bodshi

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Trews, I am so jealous of you having a tame crow, even better as it wasn't actually captive but had just decided to befriend you. I do think they are very clever.

Little article about house sparrow decline that was sent to me in an email a couple of days ago http://www.bto.org/science/latest-r...w-population-de?dm_i=IG4,23MNB,39H4QD,7KUCW,1

We've only started to see buzzards round in the last 10 years or so, at first very infrequently but now you can almost guarantee you'll see one if you go out for a long walk or a hack. I wonder why they're spreading so much? I can't even think that we've got many rabbits as they seem to have declined in numbers a lot in the last few years.

Pinkheather I'd heard about plans to release big predators up in Scotland. Seems mad to me - it would be lovely to think those creatures were roaming wild again, but I can't see how they can co-exist happily alongside people and livestock. But there could be a part-time job for your retirement - being a ranger on horseback looking after a wildlife reserve. I'd love that job!
 

Trewsers

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I will see if I can scan a pic of him in - he used to sit on our picnic table and when we had barbies he would steal bits of sausage from OH. Basically he was a rescue and I guess he just needed chance to grow - my neighbour found him on a golf course. He used to be quite a character around the neighbourhood!!! He used to get us up out of bed by sitting at our window tapping loudly!!!!! Happy days - I can still remember finding a cardboard box to give to the neighbour to go fetch him back. We all loved him - he was so clever and funny. He even used to just come sit on my shoulder - he would pinch my toes too in my sandals in the summer!!!
 

Wally

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There are too many raptors at the moment the song birds are suffering I counted around a dozen buzzards on the hill at the back of the house, last week I saw a sea eagle in the distance didn't know what the hell it was till local farmer told me and he was none too chuffed about it being in the area, it must have an 8 or 10 foot wing span. I haven't heard a whaup (curlew) for a while peasies are scarce and I don't seem that hear the same amount of sky larks.

Buzzards do not catch song birds, they are too lazy and too slow. A merlin might, but they are not common and quite rare.
Sea Eagles don't catch lambs or song birds they are fish eaters. They might scavenge.

not even Stellar's sea Eagle has a 10 foot wingspan, and then they are only 6kgs in spite of their size.

It's Frenchmen that eat song birds and light aircraft that have 10 foot wing spans. Put your spectacles on!
 
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pinkheather

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Buzzards do not catch song birds, they are too lazy and too slow. A merlin might, but they are not common and quite rare.
Sea Eagles don't catch lambs or song birds they are fish eaters. They might scavenge.

not even Stellar's sea Eagle has a 10 foot wingspan, and then they are only 6kgs in spite of their size.

It's Frenchmen that eat song birds and light aircraft that have 10 foot wing spans. Put your spectacles on!

I will take your word for it but there appears to be a lot less of some song birds and a lot of unhappy farmers and gamekeepers round here regarding these big birds who think they are the problem. All I know is they are big bloody birds and a lot more of them than there was ten or fifteen years ago. Its the old story of do you believe the experts or the farmers and fortunately I am neither I just build things. Oh aye its definitely wasn't a plane didn't have an engine but it might have been a glider but then I would have seen the pilot and I couldn't see any roundalls either maybe it was Russian TU 95 on a mission better rake out the gimpie just in case I am recalled to the colours.
 

LindaAd

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Buzzards do not catch song birds, they are too lazy and too slow. A merlin might, but they are not common and quite rare.
Sea Eagles don't catch lambs or song birds they are fish eaters. They might scavenge.

not even Stellar's sea Eagle has a 10 foot wingspan, and then they are only 6kgs in spite of their size.

It's Frenchmen that eat song birds and light aircraft that have 10 foot wing spans. Put your spectacles on!

What about sparrowhawks? OH saw one take a bird from the bird table once.
 

Wally

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Sparrow hawks will take small song birds, as will the hawks and the falcons, The Buzzards are rabbit eaters and scavengers. Lazy and slow by nature.

The lack of song birds may well be due to lack of habitat.

We have loads of the small birds you guys south seem to be lacking. Our farming methods have not changed for centuries, where south farming has changed beyond recognition.

We are not short of Sparrows and starlings and twite and skylarks and the odd Peregrine, Merlins are common, (and since they live on larks and small finch-like things you can't blame them for the decline) There's a snowy owl living down the south end at the moment.
 
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pinkheather

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Wally you appear to know a lot about burds so in your opinion why are we seeing so many raptors in this area not just buzzards but sparrow hawks kites etc. I am fully aware that gamekeepers are not allowed to target them that would account for some of the increase but not all of it. Where i live has loads of woodland as well as barren hill fit only for sheep. The physical landscape hasnt changed and there has been no extra land put under the plough simply because its no good for cultivation. I dont think they are spraying anymore than they used to. I am friendly with the keepers and ghillies round here [cause the put some good stuff my way] they obviously have self interest but they are convinced that all the raptors have to be controlled and that there are too many. I would agree with you that farming has changed here it had to, as it is an industry and not a hobby there is a lot of pressure to produce crops to keep up with demand for cheap food so it is more intensive. I can only go by what i see with regard to buzzards i moved here around 30 years ago which is a little bit further south than where i grew up and i never saw a buzzard i probably wouldnt have known what it was, now when i am out on the horse they dont even fly off when i go past. Something has changed and it cant all down to farmers and gamekeepers.
 

Wally

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Kites are going to be a victim of their own success, people are feeding them and it won't be long before they start to be a nuisance again and they will be shot, I have no doubt.

not all down to farmer and game keepers, if farmers were left alone by the EU and not have silly rules inflicted up on them from the EU wildlife would stand a chance. Farmers are told what to do by the EU if they don;t they lose money. Farmers comply and wildlife loses out.
Farmers and game keepers know a damn sight more about the land than a pencil neck in a government dept. The ESA rules have ruined a lot of the wild flower meadows here that have been blooming for centuries.
A pencil neck from Edinbugger came out, with a degree and an EU directive and changed the way some farmers did things round here and we have lost diversity. They came and told me what I ought to me doing, I nodded and smiled and when they left, I carried on. I still have my wild flower meadows!. They offered me £5 grand a year to do what they "thought" would be good. I KNOW what's good as it's been done that was on this land for centuries. They kept their 20 grand for the 5 year study, and I kept my biodiversity.
 
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