Chough filmstars

See our lovely new chough film about how partner organisations work together for choughs.  A huge thanks to Rosie Dutton, Max Thompson and Daphne Wong who are studying marine and natural history photography and film at Falmouth University for making it.  And to Lyn and Judy for their starring role. Oh,  and of course the choughs!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R2v5W-u1dnA&t=17s

 

 

Chough nest checks

Every year, a licensed bird ringer visits the chough nest sites to ring, sex and check the health of the chicks and this week the time came that all us chough watchers wait nervously for, to find out how well they are doing.

Four sites out of six (two inaccessible) were checked:

Nest no 1: 4 chicks
Nest no 2 4 chicks
Nest no 3: 1 chick
Nest no 4: no chicks - possible predation.

Nest no 4 was not a big surprise to us as chough watchers witnessed the birds attempt to briefly nest build again three weeks ago and ravens visiting the site. However, we remained hopefully as they appeared to carrying on making trips to their nest as if they were feeding young. Sadly, they were just pretending and going through the motions still.  This was the same nest that was predated by ravens in 2015 but were successful in the same site last year.

 

Breeding season update

Out of the thirteen pairs that we are monitoring, eight pairs are showing breeding behaviour.

As for the others:

One pair have moved away from their nest site but are not breeding.  We are wondering whether they have been scared off and also, whether the female was killed and the new female is too young to breed which is why they have tried elsewhere.

Another pair we were hoping would be successful this year, it seems the female has sadly disappeared either over winter or just before the breeding season.

The other three pairs are probably too young for this year but fingers crossed they make it through another year to be successful next year.

Most of the pairs that are breeding are through the incubation period and we are getting to see the egg shells being cleared out of the nest.

 

And so the season begins

Lots of activity with the chough pairs these past couple of weeks.  Some are still attending to their nests, collecting the finishing flourishes of dried grasses and hair whilst the more experienced are settled with females already incubating and males on regular feeding runs.

There are till a few young pairs deciding what to do where, at one site last year's  pair are gone, and at another the female isn't around any more but it is looking like a pretty good start to the breeding season.  More info when they are all a bit more settled.

Sticks, then grass lining material -and finally sheep's wool or cattle hair. Image by Mark Hayhurst