Sunday, 28 August 2011
Birds of Prey
Great Grey Owl in flight
Adults have a big, rounded head with a grey face and yellow eyes with darker circles around them. The underparts are light with dark streaks; the upper parts are grey with pale bars. This owl does not have ear tufts and has the largest facial disc of any raptor
Barn Owl in flight.
The Barn Owl (Tyto alba) is the most widely distributed species of owl, and one of the most widespread of all birds. It is also referred to as Common Barn Owl, to distinguish it from other species in the barn-owl family Tytonidae.
White Faced Scops Owl
The owl has the unique ability to modify its appearance in times of danger or threat. It may enlarge its body to ward off other owls, or it may make itself appear shrivelled to camouflage itself as a tree trunk or branch.
The eggs are usually laid in the old nest of another bird. The clutch contains two or three eggs which are incubated for about 30 days. The young birds leave the nest about a month after hatching
The tawny owl is an owl the size of a pigeon. It has a rounded body and head, with a ring of dark feathers around its face surrounding the dark eyes. It is mainly reddish brown above and paler underneath. It is a widespread breeding species in England, Wales and Scotland but not found in Ireland. Birds are mainly residents with established pairs probably never leaving their territories. Young birds disperse from breeding grounds in autumn.
The tawny owl is nocturnal so it is often heard calling at night, but much less often seen. In the daytime, you may see one only if you disturb it inadvertently from its roost site in woodland up against a tree trunk or among ivy. Look for pellets below roosting places.
A familiar sight with its pointed wings and long tail, hovering beside a roadside verge. Numbers of kestrels declined in the 1970s, probably as a result of changes in farming and so it is included on the Amber List. They have adapted readily to man-made environments and can survive right in the centre of cities.
Kestrels are found in a wide variety of habitats, from moor and heath, to farmland and urban areas. The only places they do not favour are dense forests, vast treeless wetlands and mountains. They are a familiar sight, hovering beside a motorway, or other main road. They can often be seen perched on a high tree branch, or on a telephone post or wire, on the look out for prey.