Species composition and birds of prey quantity in Middle Dnieper’s agro landscape in winter periods of 2011-2014
Introduction. Monitoring of birds of prey wintering is quite important for measuring their quantity all year round, especially due to climate change. On the studied territory the most interesting is the situation with Common Buzzard. It started wintering at the beginning of the 2000-ies and quickly became the most numerous species among birds of prey.
Purpose. The aim of the present study was to analyze a fauna and number of birds of prey in Middle Dnieper’s agro landscape in winter periods.
Methods. The article presents the research data about birds of prey species and quantity in agro landscapes of the Middle Dnieper during the winter periods of 2011-2014, which is a continuation of analogous researches carried out in 2009-2011. Six birds’ census during three winter periods took place on the territory of Cherkasy, Poltava and Kirovograd Regions. The census were performed on the driving route of 450 kilometers at open landscape (fields, grassland and meadows) and enclosed 170 birds of seven species.
Results. The Common Buzzard was the most numerous among the calculated birds (58,8% from the total number). Its quantity in 2011-2014 (2,22 birds per10 km) was 25% less than during 2009-2011 (2,93 birds per10 km). The quantity of the Common Buzzard has decreased due to severe weather conditions, especially during winter of 2009-2010. The second in number from all the calculated birds is the Rough-Legged Buzzard which is 36,5%. Its quantity fluctuation in different years of study increased sevenfold as a result of milder weather conditions under which these birds winter farther to the north. The highest quantity of Rough-Legged Buzzard was registered after severe winter conditions in February 2014. The other four species (Hen Harrier, Goshawk, White-tailed Eagle and Merlin) were quite rare at the above mentioned agro landscapes.Conclusion. The Common Buzzard is started wintering at the beginning of the 2000-ies and now it is the most numerous birds of prey. The Long-Legged Buzzard was first observed in Middle Dnieper during the performed scientific investigations of 2011-2014 years.
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