Why do salmon leap and what is meant by ‘crown shyness’?
ATherecoveries of the UK’s buzzard and red kite populations after years of persecution are conservation success stories, with both species now well established across most of their former haunts. However, the comeback of these large raptors (along with the goshawk), may have implications for other birds, particularly if they are potential competitors or prey.
Studies elsewhere in Europe suggest that the return of a large raptor can reduce the numbers of other bird species within its territories, or lower their productivity. Though we do not have any evidence of this happening in the UK, there is a suggestion that breeding hobbies have become less obvious in areas occupied by buzzards and kites. This could be a behavioural response, with the hobbies choosing less obvious nest sites, or it could be intraguild predation (the killing and sometimes eating of potential competitors). We still don’t know for sure. Long-eared owl chicks could also be vulnerable to predation from large raptors, but further research is needed.
Hobbies are summer birds, arriving here from April. They are supreme fliers, often seen snatching dragonflies over wetlands.