This month birds are our species of choice to talk about. Birds are the most species we encounter on a regular basis. But there are so many of them and it can be hard to know which ones are suffering from the effect of habitat destruction and fragmentation. It is also not one that we normally seek information on but it is something that needs to be brought to our attention to really make us think about their conservation status. But did you know that there are some rarer species which are making the city their home and thriving. Here are a few examples;
The kestrel is the smallest of the birds of prey in Britain only being 30 cms high and having a wing span of less than a metre. They have reddish brown plumage with black tails. Despite their size they are adequate hunters. In the wild they can nest nearly anywhere but preferring protected areas. They have moved into the city and using parks, buildings and verges to nest on. They do not build their own nest but use old nests of pigeons and crows. They have great vantage points on top of telephone poles and tv aerials. They can hover in the air and dive to catch their prey. They can eat smaller birds, rats, voles and mice. They are doing us a service by controlling the pests. That’s if your cat doesn’t get there first.
This bird is the fastest in the world and dives at 200mph to catch its prey in the air. It has keen eye sight and killer talons. Its fly’s above its prey and dives out of nowhere. These can be pigeons, jackdaws or starlings or even buzzards. 62 breeding pairs out of the 1500 in the UK live in urban areas such as London. They are increasingly common in Rome as well. They perch on top of cathedrals and sky scrapers to get the best vantage point to catch their prey. But there is the danger of getting injured flying into windows at such speeds.
These are one of the most common birds of prey. They are successful in a range of different habitats. Buzzards use telephone poles and hedgerows to watch out for prey such as voles, rats and shrews and then dive down to catch them in their talons. They can nest almost anywhere and are very successful in breeding within the city. They have brown plumage and a white and brown speckled chest.
Keep an eye out for some other birds of prey you might recognise