Posted on Wednesday, October 2nd, 2013
Louise Jane reports on a trip to Germany in September…
A four-day autumn visit to the German great bustard project yielded some valuable insights into different ways of releasing birds. It also provided an opportunity to talk through rearing methods, which has given us some interesting new points to consider.
During my trip, I visited three bustard sites. At one of these sites, I joined the project as they walked this year’s captive reared birds in their special rearing suits. The young birds’ walk took them to an oilseed rape field and through grass fields. On the walk, short flights were made and the birds fed in the different habitats we walked through. One of them even caught a frog (pictured).
In a second walk, they met up with an older group, along with a bird from this year’s release that had joined the adults a week earlier. The young birds interacted with the adults briefly then separated into their own distinct groups. Unfortunately the adventurous young female of the previous week returned to the group with the young birds.
At a second bustard site, time was spent searching for this year’s birds that had decided to depart their release site on the previous Sunday. By Wednesday morning, only one group of four birds was still unaccounted for, and in this group three of the birds had been radio tagged. The other birds that departed on the Sunday had flown two miles from their release pen, so this became our new search area.We soon picked up a signal and were on the trail of the missing birds. The signal made it easier to locate them, after three days of searching, and make sure they were in a safe place, since predators are a significant problem for released bustards in this area.
At the third site, I learnt about the rearing and incubating of the birds. This gave us some useful pointers to consider for our rearing process next year. I would like to say thank you to Doro and all the people on the project who took the time to show me around and explain what work they do with their birds.