Red kites in Corsica - pict: René Roger
After two outstanding winters, 2017 counting falls back down to a more classical level. Indeed the huge voles’ populations between 2014 and 2016 enhanced the great red kite wintering, but the voles population collapsed in spring 2016. Only the “Chataigneraie catalienne” seems to still offer such conditions and hosted a good wintering. Early November snow chased some birds but December was mild with little snow which melted rather quickly (except in La Planèze de Saint-Flour). The persistent frozen soil during the counting week obviously disturbed the birds, and led to an important dormitories mobility. Furthermore, it seems that migrating birds from central Europe chased some of the local species. Therefore, the number of birds might have been underestimated, especially in west Cantal and Haute-Loire. An intense fog complicated the counting on the biggest dormitory in Puy-de-Dôme.
France and Switzerland have been organizing a dormitories counting every first weekend of January for eleven years. This way bird population and distribution during wintering can be monitored in all Europe. Thanks to a great mobilisation of the national network “Milan royal”, 11 376 birds in 247 dormitories have been identified in France in January 2016.
Over the years, the LPO tries to involve all the countries where the specie could spend the winter, hoping to get the most accurate assessment possible. All Europe will rally on January 7 & 8 to count Red kites: France, Switzerland, Spain, Italy, United Kingdom, Austria, Denmark, Germany but also the Czech Republic, Belgium, Luxembourg, Hungary, Slovakia, Lithuania, etc. Red kites will be counted next week end in Portugal.
La Mission rapaces wishes you a happy new year 2017 and wishes a great monitoring season of the wintering/nesting/migrating Red kites. Let’s hope this new nesting season gives birth to a lot of young Red kites. La Mission rapaces thanks all the observers and coordinators for their remarkable daily mobilization for this symbolic species.
La Mission rapaces