Bustard Watch 13/09/2011

Posted on Tuesday, September 13th, 2011

The new birds are now in the soft release pens. These are small mesh sided and roofed pens placed out in the actual areas of release. The idea is that the birds become used to the food they will find once released (mostly rape) and can see the landscape and views of the site.

In previous years all the birds were quarantined and released at our Salisbury Plain site – and all the behaviour shown indicates the birds treating the release site as tier natal site. This year about half the birds will be released at a new site. We anticipate (and hope) the time in the soft release pens will cause these birds to treat the new site as the natal site.

The type of behaviour linked with the natal site includes returning there to breed and using it as a home range for most of the year.

Some encouraging sightings have been made around the soft release pens. At the Salisbury Plain site two males (Purple 5 and Pink 3) from 2007 and 2010 respectively have noticed the pens and and been very obviously sticking around investigating the new arrivals, walking right up to the pens.

At the new site the elusive Orange 15 – our oldest bird from the first release in 2004 – has also noticed the new birds and now spends most of her time very close to the soft pens. We hope this interest will lead to the older birds joining up with the youngsters and from the association, the young birds quickly learn about the dangers they will face.

The exact date of the releases will be dependent on the weather, but are scheduled for the end of the week.

David Waters

Posted by David Waters

David Waters is the founder and director of the Great Bustard Group.

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