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Regional declines of Honey Buzzard (1 Viewer)

John Cantelo

Well-known member
On another thread it was suggested that HBs have declined in the New Forest area due to the activities of birdwatchers. I'm rather dubious of likelihood of this (unless some idiots are searching out nests). I doubt that a bunch of folks perched on a hill watching HBs would be nearly so disruptive as mum, dad & the kids tearing through the woodlands. Is this just a reflection of prejudice or is there any evidence on this matter? Similarly it's been suggested that increasing numbers of Goshawk depress HB numbers. Again, whilst I don't doubt that a Goshawk would snack on a HB, is there any hard evidence of this? They seem to co-exist well enough on the continent although a small UK population would be disproportionately hit by such predation,

John
 

DPR

Well-known member
Does anyone know the numbers of nesting Honey Buzzards in the UK? I read that there were 69 known breeding pairs.

Which counties outside the Norfolk and Devon strongholds do these birds occur though? I know of birds in North Yorkshire and Cumbria but what about areas in Lancashire, Cheshire, Staffordshire or Shropshire? Obviously I don't want anyone to give away exact locations but I would be interested to know how spread they are and if they are in decline in the UK in overall numbers.
 

david kelly

Drive-by Birder
Scotland
Highland has a small population and they have probably bred in the past in Lothian, but this would be an irregular occurrence. They also use upland conifer plantations in Wales.

David
 

luke

A Welsh birder in Dorset!
Highland has a small population and they have probably bred in the past in Lothian, but this would be an irregular occurrence. They also use upland conifer plantations in Wales.

David

indeed, there are a few pairs around wales.
 

Ruby

Well-known member
I was down the New Forest over the Whitsun weekend, and visited the webcam that is currently set up to view a Goshawks nest.... The RSPB ladies were saying that by far the most common prey items for the Gos are squirrels....

Didn't go looking for Honey Buzzards myself (but didn't see any!) but some pals went down there for their annual HB pilgrimage to Acres Down and saw zero!

Last year we saw just one!
 

DPR

Well-known member
According the the RSPB the numbers are incrasing slightly. Perhaps just expansion of range rather than small concentrations of nesting birds?
 

Collster

Well-known member
One place thats certainly increasing its population is Northumberland. Read NR diary on his website, it seems that he is finding new pairs everywhere. Lets hope that he gets the independent verification that will help take his site and proclamations from fantasy into reality. Having spent a lot of time working on Honeys in areas where i know they are you just dont get to see them as easily as this fella makes out. As for Wales i would say there has been a slight increase in numbers in recent years. Including a pair i found last season which were both rung as chicks in Wales in previous years. The first confirmed sightings of Welsh rung Honeys returning. Should be a mention in British birds soon, under someone elses name it has to be said, but being ripped off with info is all part of the game for some people, as im discovering...
 

Rich Facey

Well-known member
Similarly it's been suggested that increasing numbers of Goshawk depress HB numbers. Again, whilst I don't doubt that a Goshawk would snack on a HB, is there any hard evidence of this?

Gos will eat honey Buzzard - The RSPB run a HB viewing scheme in south wales, and last year got video footage of a gos taking the chick.
 

Farnboro John

Well-known member
I was down the New Forest over the Whitsun weekend, and visited the webcam that is currently set up to view a Goshawks nest.... The RSPB ladies were saying that by far the most common prey items for the Gos are squirrels....

Didn't go looking for Honey Buzzards myself (but didn't see any!) but some pals went down there for their annual HB pilgrimage to Acres Down and saw zero!

Last year we saw just one!

Acres Down is less useful these days, you should try north of the A31.

John
 

pe'rigin

Well-known member
I think the Honey Buzzard being less abundance in the Forest is down primarily to food source. Not really something to blame the Goshawk for.

There were two farms/stables in the Forest which use to stock pile the manure into a huge mound in their fields, guaranteeing at least one Honey Buzzard grubbing about for larvae at either site. They seem to have stopped this way of composting now.

As John said the best chance is in the North.
 
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Collster

Well-known member
Gos will eat honey Buzzard - The RSPB run a HB viewing scheme in south wales, and last year got video footage of a gos taking the chick.

Hi Rich, it was actually the year before last when they had footage of the Goshawk taking the very young chick off the nest. The site which had the camera on it last season fledged two young, unfortunately whilst doing a bit of fieldwork in the area i found one of them which had been killed and plucked by a Goshawk. There are also a number of other instances from previos seasons where Goshawk have predated young Honeys. Seen them giving adult Honeys a chase too , but the Honeys where flying real close at the time.
 

Rich Facey

Well-known member
Hi Rich, it was actually the year before last when they had footage of the Goshawk taking the very young chick off the nest. The site which had the camera on it last season fledged two young, unfortunately whilst doing a bit of fieldwork in the area i found one of them which had been killed and plucked by a Goshawk. There are also a number of other instances from previos seasons where Goshawk have predated young Honeys. Seen them giving adult Honeys a chase too , but the Honeys where flying real close at the time.

Cheers Valley Boy - Time goes by far too quickly for my liking!
 

pe'rigin

Well-known member
Not a 100% sure if Honey Buzzards are increasing in the Forest, Goshawks are certainly having a good time.

I have not seen a HB, this year, if we could get Red Kite back and people leave the Peregrine alone, we would have a very nice selection of raptors.
 

Capercaillie71

Well-known member
A quote from the 'new' Breeding Bird Atlas (1988-91):

" Honey Buzzards have long been known to breed in the New Forest...but hitherto no data have been released by the group which has monitored this population. It is now believed this level of confidentiality is attracting more potential disturbance than it prevents....Between 1961 and 1980 6-9 pairs of Honey Buzzards occupied home ranges annually.....Between 1982-85 the population declined to two pairs and no more than that have attempted to breed since."

Perhaps this is where the suggestion on the other thread came from? However the atlas was published 14 years ago, so it doesn't tell us much about the current situation.
 

Collster

Well-known member
A quote from the 'new' Breeding Bird Atlas (1988-91):

" Honey Buzzards have long been known to breed in the New Forest...but hitherto no data have been released by the group which has monitored this population. It is now believed this level of confidentiality is attracting more potential disturbance than it prevents....Between 1961 and 1980 6-9 pairs of Honey Buzzards occupied home ranges annually.....Between 1982-85 the population declined to two pairs and no more than that have attempted to breed since."

Perhaps this is where the suggestion on the other thread came from? However the atlas was published 14 years ago, so it doesn't tell us much about the current situation.

I can assure you without going into any detail(for obvious reasons ) that there are more there than those figures. Honey Buzzards are in general very difficult birds to see at this time of their breeding cycle. I know as i can spend hours in an area where i know they are breeding and not see a bird.
 
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