Raptor count

Travelling back north after visiting our friend Bill in Berkshire last Sunday, we spotted three red kites, about twenty buzzards, and a single kestrel.

Thirty years ago, it would have been (give or take): zero red kites, two buzzards, and thirty kestrels.

I worry about kestrels.

2 thoughts on “Raptor count

  1. Hi,

    I am a Berkshire lad and have been birding my patch, the downs area of Berkshire, Wiltshire and Hampshire for many a year. I too, see fluctuations in the Kestrel numbers annually, whilst the Buzzard and Kite numbers continue to soar. I feel this year has seen a slight improvement on last year's numbers though. Likewise, you could say that Barn Owls whilst feeding on similar prey do tend to vary in numbers seen. It is an interesting area for discussion but I suspect we are just witnessing cyclical peaks and troughs in breeding success.

    Kind Regards

    Tony Powell

  2. I appreciate that breeding populations can and do cycle, but, back when I were a lad, you couldn't travel much more than a mile on the motorway without seeing a kestrel. Perhaps kestrel numbers were unusually high back then, or perhaps something has happened to make motorway verges less attractive to kestrels, but my gut feeling is that there are a lot fewer of them around than there used to be, and it has been like that for many years.

    I do wonder whether the drop in kestrel numbers has anything to do with the rise in buzzards - you never saw a buzzard, when I were a lad - but inverse-correlation does not prove causation.

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