Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Raptor Bytes - hawkwatching morsels from around the web

PBS Earthflight
I hope that many of you have been able to catch the stunning Earthflight series on PBS. The next episode is airing tomorrow, September the 25th and is set in South America. You can see previews, bonus footage and the three already aired episodes on the PBS website here (link). To get some idea of the incredible footage that the series includes watch the video above of Long-legged Buzzard hunting Rock Pigeons in JodhpurIndia. For Sci-Fi fans and anglophiles you might want to watch the BBC version on YouTube which is narrated by ex-Doctor Who actor David Tennant. 

Male Northern Harrier - Vic Berardi

Easy Harriers?
The Grey Ghost is a much sought after and venerated raptor at any hawk watch. It certainly seems to be high on most people’s favorites list when you discuss raptors with aficionados. That said it always seems to raise the question: ‘why do you see so few male harriers?’ Well, back in April the American Birding Association published a fascinating article in their magazine: Birding (available to members) by Jerry Liguori and Brian Sullivan suggesting one potential reason. It is known that many 2nd cycle males hold a brownish plumage, but the article notes that many male harriers continue to be brownish birds well past their second year. You can read the article for yourselves as the ABA have kindly posted a PDF of the article online here (link). Bird banding expert Peter Pyle wrote a rebuttal of the argument in the letters page of the July/August issue of Birding which also had a response to that rebuttal from Liguori and Sullivan. Fascinating stuff.

Liguori Blog
Incidentally the latest posting on Jerry’s excellent blog (here) is all about aging ‘brown’ juvenile/female type harriers and the need to be careful when doing so. If you haven’t already checked out Jerry’s blog,  make sure you add it to your reading list as it is absolutely packed with fun, fascinating and useful blog posts about raptor identification and more.

Hawkwatchers - Luke Tiller

Florida Keys Birding and Wildlife Festival
How I wish I were heading for the Florida Keys Hawkwatch this week! Today sees the start of the Florida Keys Birding and Wildlife Festival, which runs through until Sunday. You can check out the events on the festival website (here).  The hawkwatch runs through until early November and boasts massive flights of Peregrine Falcons, southern raptor specialties, Florida bird specialties and being perhaps the only hawkwatch in the US where you have any chance of having a Short-tailed Hawk catching some thermals with a Magnificent Frigatebird! You can check out the hawkwatch website here (link). It’s also the destination for HMANA’s much anticipated tour in 2014, more detail on our website (here).

American Kestrel - Luke Tiller

Crossley added to Hawk Mountain Board
Richard Crossley of bird identification fieldguide fame (including the excellent Crossley ID Guide: Raptors) and one of the driving forces behind the Pledge to Fledge: an organization focused on promoting birding across the globe (website here) has recently been added to the board at Hawk Mountain. It’s good to see such a tireless advocate for birds and birding added to their board.

1 comment:

  1. Pyle failed to make any points. Sullivan and Liguori clearly showed who's boss with raptors.