Posted on Monday, October 10th, 2011
It has been great watching the young Bustards flying around in the strong wind on Salisbury Plain today.
Foxes have been making their presence felt with the birds at the original release site, stuff with the young males suffering more than the females. Post mortem’s on the remains show the birds were healthy and had no underlying health problems before being predated. It is likely the problem is one just of naivety – a young Great Bustard would normally be with its mother until the new year, which is a long time of maternal care.
All that said, the predation is something we always expect and is nothing new to the project. The levels of predation are not higher than previous years and are within expected levels. We are working with the landowner to reduce the number of foxes close to the release area.
A new arrival to the site is Yellow 22. This female was released in 2005 and had no been seen around the site since July. It is great to see her mixing in with the new birds, and we hope she is sharing some of her knowledge.
At the second release site – the new one – the birds were released into a large field which had electric netting erected around the edges. The Bustards seem to regularly return to this field to roost, and the flock is holding together very well. Orange 15 (from 2004 release) is still with them.