Issue 2012-4


Ornis Polonica 2012, 53: 233–248

Breeding biology of the Bearded Reedling Panurus biarmicus
at the Łoniewskie Lake in 1987–2009

Janusz Stępniewski

Abstract: The study of breeding biology of the Bearded Reedling Panurus biarmicus was carried out at the Łoniewskie Lake in Great Poland in 1987–2009. Nest were placed mostly in sedges Carex sp. (36%; N=131), Narrowleaf Cattail Typha angustifolia (35%; N=126) and reeds Phragmites communis (27%; N=97). Each nest had three-layer structure. Nests were built at the average height of 19.5 cm above the ground (SD=16.19; range 0–83 cm; N=211), and this value increased throughout the season. The earliest first-egg laying date was 17 March, peak of laying occurred in mid April (16% of clutches). Breeding season lasted for 104–152 days, on average 121 days. The average clutch size was 5,6 (SD=1.1; range 2–9 eggs; N=255), and most nests contained 6 (37%) or 5 eggs (29%). Clutch size declined over the season. Nest lossed constituted 45%, and were higher at the nestling (28%) than the egg stage (14%). The most important reasons for nest losses was predation (69% of nests) and adverse weather (12%). The average number of fledglings leaving a nest that had survived until hatching was 3.2 (SD=2.4; N=126).

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Ornis Polonica 2012, 53: 249–273

Wintering of water birds in urban areas of Poland in 2007–2009

Włodzimierz Meissner, Patryk Rowiński, Lucjan Kleinschmidt, Jacek Antczak, Piotr Wilniewczyc, Jacek Betleja, Roman Maniarski, Renata Afranowicz-Cieślak

Abstract: Censuses of wintering water birds were conducted in 2007–2009 in 265 human settlements with more than 1,000 inhabitants, including104 localities where birds were counted during one winter and 59 sites, where counts were carried out during all three years. This paper presents only data collected on water bodies within the administrative town/city borders. All water birds except gulls Larus sp. were counted. In 2007 and 2008 within the area of 201 and 210 settlements, respectively, a total of o 84,203 and 124,135 wintering birds were recorded. It is assessed that these cities and towns hosted at least 20% wintering Polish population of the Mallard Anas platyrhynchos, 17% of the Mute Swan Cygnus olor and 8–19% of the Coot Fulica atra. In 59 localities surveyed during three years, the highest bird numbers were recorded during the coldest winter of 2009, and the lowest during the mildest one. The Mallard was by far the most numerous bird species, making up 86.1% of all recorded water birds. Its numbers ranged from 69,123 to 107 926 individuals in 2007 and 2008, respectively. Mallards were most abundant in Warsaw and Wrocław, where the numbers exceeded 10,000 individuals. Other common bird species were the Coot and Mute Swan, whose shares amounted to 7.0% and 2.9%, respectively. The Cormorant Phalacrocorax carbo and Goosander Mergus merganser were the only other two species whose proportion exceeded 1% (respectively 1.5% and 1.3%). In places where people were feeding birds from 79% (2007) to 87% (2009) of all counted individuals were recorded. More than 75% of the Mandarin Ducks Aix galericulata, Mallards, Pochards Aythya ferina and Mute Swans were found at reservoirs where birds were fed. An exceptional area for wintering birds was Silesian conurbation. Except for numerous wintering Mallards and Mute Swans, the largest urban aggregations of the Moorhens Gallinula chloropus and Coots were found there. In this area the highest numbers of species rarely wintering in Poland were recorded, including the Red-crested Pochard Netta rufina, Ferruginous Duck A. nyroca, and seaducks.

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Ornis Polonica 2012, 53: 274–282

Breeding population of the Sparrowhawk Accipiter nisus in Łódź
at the beginning of 21st century

Tomasz Janiszewski, Maciej Kamiński, Radosław Włodarczyk

Abstract: The status of urban population of the Sparrowhawk Accipiter nisus in Poland is still poorly recognized. Therefore, research on breeding Sparrowhawk number, distribution and some aspects of breeding biology was conducted within the area of Łódź city (ca 294 km²) in 2010–2011. In 2010 a total of 34 breeding pairs (territories) were found (density 11.6 bp/100 km²), including 9 pairs (density 7.5 bp/100 km²) in central and transitional zones, and 25 pairs in the outskirts zone (14.4 bp/100 km²). These data indicate a strong increase of the population in all city zones since 1998–2002, when only 14 breeding pairs were recorded. During the study, a total of 63 Sparrowhawk nests were found. In central and transitional zones of Łódź Sparrowhawk nests were located more often on deciduous trees compared to the outskirts zone. Nests on deciduous trees were placed lower than these on coniferous tree species.

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Ornis Polonica 2012, 53: 283–292

Factors affecting diet composition of the Ural Owl Strix uralensis
at the Foothills of the Central Beskidy Mountains, SE Poland

Marta Kociuba

Abstract: The diet composition of the Ural Owl was studied in 2005–2007 at the Foothills of the Central Beskidy Mountains (the Carpathians, SE Poland). The analysed food samples (1039 prey items from pellets) were collected in nine locations (breeding territories) differing in the share of a forested area. The Ural Owl diet composition differed in relation to habitat type in the territory and forest rodent fluctuations. The Common Vole Microtus arvalis, Bank Vole Clethrionomys glareolus and Yellow-necked Mice Apodemus flavicollis were the main preys of the Ural Owl in a forest habitat in years with low number of forest rodents making up 28%, 21% and 11% of total prey biomass, respectively. In the year of rodent outbreak, biomass of forest rodents: the Bank Vole, Yellow-necked Mice and Field Vole Microtus agrestis constituted 36%, 33% and 10%, respectively. The Common Vole was hunted by the Ural Owl mainly in open habitats constituting ca 50% of total prey biomass. High contribution of the Bank Vole and Microtus Vole in the biomass resulted from similar crepuscular activity rhythm of these small mammals and the Ural Owl. Food niche breadth of the Ural Owl was lower in open habitat and forest habitat in the year of forest rodents outbreak compared to the forest habitat during the year of forest rodent crash. Presented results suggest that the Ural Owl is an opportunistic forager.

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Ornis Polonica 2012, 53: 293–297

Numbers and distribution of owls Strigiformes in the forests of the Strzyżów Foothills

Grzegorz Pitucha, Andrzej Wojton

Summary: Studies on the numbers and distribution of owls were carried out in the forests of eastern and central parts of the Strzyżów Foothills in 2007–2009 at two plots (“Czudec” and “Kamienica”, ca 20 km² each). The tree-stands were dominated by beech Fagus sylvatica and fir Abies alba, but on “Czudec” plot, Scots pine Pinus sylvestris was also widespread. Three species of owls (the Ural Owl Strix uralensis, Tawny Owl S. aluco and Long-eared Owl Asio otus) were recorded on both plots, while the Tengmalm’s Owl Aegolius funereus was found only on “Kamienica” plot (density 1.5 territories/10 km²). The Tawny Owls were numerous on both plots (density 7.5 territories/10 km²). The Ural Owl was more than twice more numerous on “Kamienica” plot (3.5 territories/10km²) than on “Czudec” plot (1.5 territories/10km²). The Long-eared Owl’s density was 1.5 territories/10 km² on both study plots.

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Ornis Polonica 2012, 53: 297–300

Nesting of the Wood Pigeon Columba palumbus close to Kestrel Falco tinnunculus

Adam Zbyryt

Summary: During the study of avifauna of Białystok I recorded nesting of the Wood Pigeon in the close proximity (3 m) of the Kestrel nest. The Kestrel occupied an old nest of the Hooded Crow Corvus cornix located on the Scots pine Pinus sylvestris. The Wood Pigeon built its nest after the Kestrel had started nesting. Both Wood Pigeon and Kestrel successfully raised their young. Studies conducted in several European countries indicate that Wood Pigeons tend to breed near active nests of raptors like Kestrels and Hobbies Falco subbuteo. It is believed that the main reason for this phenomenon is the protection against corvid predation on Wood Pigeon broods. This observation may suggest that nesting of the Wood Pigeon close to the Kestrel nest is not only a local phenomenon but represents a more widespread behaviour.

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Ornis Polonica 2012, 53: 300–302

Single polygyny attempt in the Reed Warbler Acrocephalus scirpaceus
on the Milicz fish-ponds

Lucyna Hałupka, Hanna Sztwiertnia, Łukasz Tomasik

Summary: Different aspects of breeding ecology and biology of the Reed Warbler were studied during 7 breeding seasons (2005–2011) on the fish-pond “Słoneczny” in the reserve “Stawy Milickie”, SW Poland. On a study plot of about 3 ha we individually marked 714 adults (386 males and 328 females) with a combination of three colour rings and one metal one. Males were identified at 473 nests (78.7% of all found). During the study period we recorded only one polygyny attempt. On 29 May 2006, in the morning, we noticed a new pair building the nest. Both male and female were individually marked. We soon realized that the male had been already mated with another female. His first nest was located about 35 m away, and his first mate laid her 3rd egg on that day. The male guarded closely his second female, however in the afternoon mate guarding was much less intense. The next morning the female was building the nest alone, and in the afternoon the nest was abandoned. The male remained with his first mate during the whole season, and had three nesting attempts. Nine days later the (second) female started nest-building with a new male, and also remained with her mate for the whole season, laying two clutches. This was the only record of polygyny attempt in our population, which was also studied before in 1980–1983 and 1994. We have not found any real polygyny.

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Ornis Polonica 2012, 53: 303–305

Cow hair as a nest building material for Jackdaws Corvus monedula
the case of pulling hair from a living animal

Michał Polakowski, Monika Broniszewska

Summary: The flock of up to 10 Jackdaws Corvus monedula pulling hair from grazing cow was observed on 24.04.2012 around Strękowa Góra village near the Narew River (53°12’N, 22°33’E; Północnopodlaska Lowland). The collected material was carried to the buildings 150 m away and probably used as a nest lining. It could be assumed that synurbic Jackdaw populations will not search for and use such kind of material. However, the presence of free grazing cattle, still frequent in the rural landscape of the Północnopodlaska Lowland, as well as a relatively large Jackdaw population probably favour the occurrence of such a behaviour.

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Ornis Polonica 2012, 53: 305–308

Second breeding record of the Kentish Plover Charadrius alexandrinus
in Poland

Zbigniew Kajzer, Marcin Sołowiej

Summary: A pair of breeding Kentish Plovers was recorded in spring 2012 in a refulation field near Świnoujście, Szczecin Lagoon (NW Poland). Birds were observed for the first time on 20.05, and a nest with a female incubating three eggs was found on 22.05. On 29.05 nest failure was recorded for an unknown reason. The pair remained in the area and a female incubating a new nest was observed on 19 and 23.06. The nest content was not checked on these days, but later inspection revealed that this clutch also failed. This is the second breeding record of the species in Poland. The first one was found in 1992 at the Vistula River Estuary.

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Ornis Polonica 2012, 53: 309–310

Mystery bird 69: Marsh Warbler Acrocephalus palustris

Jan Lontkowski

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