Friday, 17 October 2014

Urban warrior ...

Kestrel (Falco tinnunculus)


A young male Kestrel waits patiently and watches …

Like many British birds of prey, gamekeepers heavily persecuted the Kestrel during the 19th century and numbers fell dramatically. Since then numbers have fluctuated considerably; a variety of reasons for this have been suggested, but they were certainly hit hard by the use of organochlorine pesticides in agriculture in the 1950s and 60s. Kestrel numbers probably recovered to such an extent in the late 1960s and early 70s that it became Britain’s commonest bird of prey. In Sussex, the county population was estimated at 600 pairs in 1964-67, a figure that was revised to 800-1150 pairs in 1980. Numbers nationally have since fluctuated, but appear to be falling once more, with numbers down by 30% during 1995-2011 and an 18% decline in southeast England during 1995-2010.

A beautiful bird and one that evokes fond childhood memories …

References:

Prevost, L., 2014. Kestrel. The Birds of Sussex. Thetford: British Trust for Ornithology (BTO) Books on behalf of the Sussex Ornithological Society, pp. 203-204.
Hope, C., 1996. Kestrel. Birds of Sussex. Sussex Ornithological Society, pp. 202-204.

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