FIELDCRAFT

RAP­TOR ROOSTS

Bird Watching (UK) - - What To See And How To See It -

Fe­bru­ary is of­ten the cold­est month of the year. And what bet­ter way to go out and en­joy a brac­ing af­ter­noon than watch­ing birds of prey come in to a communal roost. Sev­eral species choose to roost with mem­bers of the same type, and some will also roost in the same area as other birds of prey. Rap­tors such as Red Kites, may gather in flocks of 100 or more (where they are nu­mer­ous), cir­cling round and land­ing in tall trees, some­times form­ing a pre-roost gath­er­ing, be­fore head­ing for a more cov­ered spot as it be­comes dark. Oth­ers, like Marsh or Hen Har­ri­ers, will cir­cle low over an area of reeds or rough, long grass, of­ten stag­gered over some time, sort­ing out which bird will be 'per­mit­ted' to set­tle where. One bonus of watch­ing a win­ter rap­tor roost is that you may en­counter a va­ri­ety of other species also com­ing to roost, as well as oth­ers, no­tably owls and Wood­cocks just fly­ing out to start their night of feed­ing.

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