Here’s a link to a new paper in the journal Bird Study by our chough friends in Spain Eva Banda & Guillermo Blanco. Strict mate fidelity and reduced breeding dispersal of widowed Red-billed Choughs Pyrrhocorax pyrrhocorax.
Funding the RSPB’s Chough work
Would you be able to help support the RSPB’s work to safeguard choughs in Cornwall? Choughs are hugely important to Cornwall and since their return back in 2001 there’s been amazing interest in them and their burgeoning population. The RSPB is the organisation that actively protects and monitors them with a small team of two staff supported by a fantastic gang of volunteers. The team actively works to ensure the choughs have good places to feed (by working with farmers around the coast), safe places to nest (by protecting nest sites during the breeding season), advocacy work behind the scenes to make certain the chough’s future is secure in Cornwall into the future as well as all round work to help people learn more about Cornwall’s very own choughs.
We need funding to carry on this work and would love to hear from businesses that could support us. A few pence on a certain product, a £1 for a booking, fundraisers, and the like would help all us with our costs and support our small but totally dedicated chough team. Interested in supporting us? See here for more info and get in touch, we would LOVE to hear from you. http://www.cornishchoughs.org/funding/
Ted one of the chough volunteers keeps an eye on our red-billed friends on his patch and for a few evenings now has been reporting some partying going on down on the cliffs – ‘a right racket, all sorts of comings and goings, no parents in attendance’ and more dubious behaviour too. Are we are bothered? Nope. No need to go charging down there to break up a rave or move on fly campers. It’s all part of growing up if you are a chough. The noise and squabbling will be the young birds from this year and the older unpaired birds establishing the pecking order and who gets to roost in the best spot. The younger you are the lower down the order you are and probably the lower down the cliff your rocky perch will be for the night. Some nights getting into the right order can take ages.
Ted also saw a pair fly in with their five young, they swiftly departed though leaving the juveniles to it as they sought a more tranquil roost spot further up the coast. And who can blame them!
Below is a lovely note from Frank who lives in west Clare in Ireland. He has choughs nesting in one of his outbuildings and contacted us last year for advice on how to keep his cat away from the chough’s nest. Last year the choughs there fledged two young, this year they have three. And the cat is behaving itself.
“I hope this message finds you well and in good spirits and that your Chough nesting season is progressing well. I just wanted to drop you a note to let you know that our family of Choughs has just expanded from 2 to 5 over the last week and now we have 5 choughs flying about with the three chicks getting flying lessons from mum and dad every day. In order to make it safer from them this year I blocked up 15 entrance ways to the building, and although the cat could still get in if he was pretty committed to doing so, it’s difficult for him to make it in there now and I’ve not seen him in the building at all over the past few months. So it looks like the choughs had 3 chicks and all three started flying about a week ago and they’re all able to fly pretty well by now so I’m confident we’ll get them all to maturity without any casualties, at least not from the resident cat. I’ll send you a picture once I get all 5 together. Mum and Dad still go flying together without the three chicks, but all 5 come out occasionally and have a fly about.”