Wednesday, 27 September 2017
Thursday, 21 September 2017
Kirkmahoe News has once more been chatting with Ciril Ostroznik about his work with raptors. Ciril is a licensed ringer who also has special permission to work alongside the Forestry Commission Conservation Department.
In the past 50 years there has been a huge change in the way forests are managed. They have been opened up providing clear areas which allow for bird flight which in turn allows the raptors to hunt for food. By managing the forests this way, the Forestry Commission has provided the ideal habitat for the rare birds we now have in our region.
The Forestry Commission also has a Conservation Department which monitors these birds and when one is identified this department ensures that the area around where this bird is living is never disturbed. When a bird has been spotted in an area of forest Ciril identifies the location of the nest and liaises with this department to make them aware of the exact site. Another of Ciril’s tasks is to build Osprey nests, and he tells us there are now sixteen active nests in our region.
Ciril is a member of the Dumfries & Galloway Raptor Study Group which monitors all birds of prey. They work as a group and if a bird is spotted, again, Ciril will firstly find the nest, and secondly, liaise with the Forestry Commission so that they can protect that location.
It is 34 years since Ciril found his first Gos Hawk’s nest in Ae Forest. Prior to this there was only Buzzards and Sparrowhawks. Nowadays there are a lot more Goshawks in our forests. They are successful raptors as they are not selective eaters. In fact they will eat anything particularly crows, wild pigeons and jays.
The great success of this conservation has been the sighting of Honey Buzzards in Galloway Forest Park. They are selective eaters, foraging for honeycombs of social wasps to feed the grubs to their young. When the wasps die down they eat young frogs. A Honey Buzzard’s nest is littered with honeycombs , thus of course, the name Honey Buzzard.
When Ciril rings the birds they can be followed on their migration. He tells the story of a nest of 2 male osprey chicks and one female chick, which he had ringed. After they flew off, the female, was spotted in the Channel Islands flying, playing games and having a lot of fun with a young Peregrine Falcon. Someone managed to take a picture of this and was lucky to record such a rare sighting of an Osprey in the Channel Islands.
Red Kites are also flourishing in our region since they were re-introduced, and we, in Kirkmahoe, can see them regularly around the Newlands Estate area.
Another interesting aspect which Ciril has noticed is, that because there are more large raptors, they are taking over the forests, and pushing out the smaller birds of prey such as the Sparrowhawks to smaller woods.
Because of the Conservation work done by the Forestry Commission and the Raptor Study Group of Dumfries & Galloway we would not be so fortunate to have these beautiful and rare birds visiting our area. As Ciril says,”It all revolves around a good habitat, and it is just perfect now.”
Ciril’s son in law and grandson are now in training to carry on his work with raptors, when he retires.
As a little foot note you may remember seeing pictures of the White Leucistic Buzzard which lives in the Galloway Forest Park. He is now eleven years old which is way beyond life expectancy for a white bird. We think he now deserves a name, can you think of one? Ciril will choose the name he thinks will suit this buzzard best.
Suggested names to firstname.lastname@example.org