Issue 2013-1


Ornis Polonica 2013, 54: 1–11

Extinction of breeding population of the Hen Harrier Circus cyaneus in Poland

Łukasz Ławicki, Jan Lontkowski, Przemysław Wylegała, Piotr Zieliński

Abstract: This paper presents data about the extinction of breeding population of the Hen Harrier in Poland over the last 20 years. Due to its local and very rare occurrence, published information on breeding occurrence were verified and only confirmed and probable breeding cases were included. In the 1990s the Hen Harrier was an extremely scarce breeder in Poland. Only a dozen confirmed broods are known from these years, mainly in the Szczecin Lagoon, near Leszno, Biebrza Marshes and in Lublin region. Other breeding sites were scattered across lowlands and were occupied irregularly. In the early 1990s Polish population of the Hen Harrier was still about 20–25 pairs, but has declined to around 10 pairs in the mid-1990s and no more than 5 pairs at the end of the decade, meaning that the estimates given by both books “Polish Red Data Book of Animals” and “Avifauna of Poland” were too high. The last confirmed breeding record of this species was in 1999 near Tomaszów Lubelski, SE Poland. In 2000–2011 only seven probable broods of this species were recorded: in Poleski National Park, Biebrza Marshes, in river valleys of the Warta, Noteć and Omulew and at Lake Czeszewskie. Extinction of breeding population of the Hen Harrier in Poland is related to the situation of this species in Europe – there was a large decline of its numbers over the last decades.

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Ornis Polonica 2013, 54: 12–24

Changes in abundance and nest location of the Magpie Pica pica and Hooded Crow Corvus cornix from 1974 to 2009 in Warsaw

Andrzej Węgrzynowicz

Abstract: In 2008–2009 the breeding Magpies and Hooded Crows were surveyed in 19 study plots (291 ha) in housing estates and parks in Warsaw. Additionally, the variables of nest location were compared between both species and several factors potentially affecting their densities and changes in their abundance were considered. Hooded Crows were more abundant in parks (mean 5.0 pairs/10 ha), whereas Magpies predominated in housing estates (4.3 pairs/10 ha). In order to determine the changes in the Magpie and Hooded Crow abundance, these results were compared to the data from 1970s and 1980s collected in the same study plots. The number of the Magpie increased 5–6-fold and time course of these changes was diverse in different habitats and city zones. The population of the Hooded Crow increased 9-fold. The similarity of nest location of both species was rather low, however, weak negative correlation between densities of Magpie and Hooded Crow was found. It was hypothesized that high densities of the Hooded Crow influenced nest-sites choice, occurrence and changes in abundance of the Magpie. High ecological plasticity revealed by the Magpie allows it to sustain in areas heavily populated by the Hooded Crow.

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Ornis Polonica 2013, 54: 25–39

Distribution and numbers of breeding Rook Corvus frugilegus colonies in the Podlaskie province in 2012

Adam Zbyryt, Małgorzata Zbyryt, Paweł Siwak, Zbigniew Kasprzykowski

Abstract: The research was conducted in 2012 within the area of 20187 km². The total numbers of rookeries were 134 with 10666 nests. The mean density of the population was 52 pairs/100 km² of the total area and 76 pairs/100 km² without forests. It has been shown very large differences in mean densities in the individual districts (7–3309 pairs/100 km²). Colony size reached 83.1 nests on average (SD=137.8). Small colonies (N=79) to 50 nests were 62% of the total number. In the three largest cities (Białystok, Suwałki, Łomża) nested 22% of pairs (N=2329). Most colonies in one city was in Białystok (N=23), whose average size was 25.9 nests (SD=23.2). The nest were built on 2720 trees, 35 taxons (genus or species), including 8 coniferous, mostly on European Ashes Fraxinus excelsior (20.1%), Scots Pines Pinus silvestris (18.1%), Norway Maples Acer platanoides (13.5%) and Canadian Poplars Populus × canadensis (9.9%). Others bird species were found nested in rookeries e.g. Wood Pigeon Columba palumbus, Kestrel Falco tinnunculus and one mixed colony with Grey Heron Ardea cinerea. The main factors that influence of low density of the Rook population in the Podlaskie province are probably changes in agricultural crops.

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Ornis Polonica 2013, 54: 40–49

Breeding bird atlases of European urban areas – a review of research

Maciej Luniak

Summary: The article covers only those atlases which aimed to compile an inventory of the avifauna inhabiting a particular city or town, and not a much wider region. Since 1970, at least 72 ornithological atlases have been published covering c. 63 towns and cities, mainly in Italy (atlases of c. 37 towns and cities), Poland (11) and Germany (c. 7). Such inventories have beenwere repeated in for 8 cities (maximally three times in Florence, Italy). Four different cartographic grid systems have been variously used in these atlases. They based on: (1) UTM system, (2) “autonomous” systems, (3) grids based on geographic coordinates,(4) the plots, irregular in shape, correspond to the topographical structure of the city (only in Warsaw and Turin). Apart from the textual content of the atlases, the species distribution maps provide data on the breeding status of the species in the atlas plots; some atlases also contain maps for the non-breeding season, usually of wintering birds. Numbers of each species counted in a plot are given, and the main habitats of a city are often provided as a background. If inventories were repeated, additional maps are provided to facilitate comparison with earlier results. The advantage of describing the avifauna of a city in atlas form (as opposed to a traditional textual description) includes complete coverage of the relevant area, transparency, concisely expressed content, coherence with town planning information, greater suitability for popularisation and education, and a uniform methodology facilitating team research. The drawbacks of this kind of presentation include the higher costs of the specialized processing of the material and the printing.

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Ornis Polonica 2013, 54: 50–58

Selected breeding birds of the Niepołomice Forest in 2004–2011

Tomasz Wilk, Rafał Bobrek, Katarzyna Paciora, Sławomir Sprinter

Summary: Niepołomice Forest located in southern Poland, ca. 20 km east of Cracow, is a relatively small forest complex, covering ca. 11 000 ha. As no present data on the distribution and numbers of the key bird species exists for this area, the aim of this study was to fill this gap, especially for Annex I of the Bird Directive species. The field surveys were carried out during 2004–2011, mainly in the years 2007–2009. The Niepołomice Forest proved to be an important breeding area for several bird species, including 17 species from Annex I Birds Directive species, and 3 species from the Polish Red Data Book. The most important bird species in the area are: Ural Owl Strix uralensis (21–30 breeding pairs), Middle Spotted Woodpecker Dendrocopos medius (150–210 breeding pairs), Collared Flycatcher Ficedula albicollis (430–820 breeding pairs). Niepołomice Forest holds more than 1% of the national population for these species (ca. 10% for Collared Flycatcher), and is one the 10 most important breeding sites in the country for them.

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Ornis Polonica 2013, 54: 58–62

The use of artificial nesting platforms by Black Terns Chlidonias niger and White-winged Terns Ch. leucopterus in an old river-bed of the Bug

Emilia Mróz, Artur Goławski, Zbigniew Kasprzykowski

Summary: In 2009 ten nesting platforms for terns were erected in an old river-bed of the Bug River. Black and White-winged Terns occupied a total of 8 platforms, each species – 4. The birds using platforms constituted 11% of all pairs breeding there. Clutch size, laying dates and breeding success of birds breeding on platforms and in natural sites did not differ significantly. The majority of nests failed due to fluctuations of water level and movements of Water Soldier Stratiotes aloides.

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Ornis Polonica 2013, 54: 62–64

Second record of the White-rumped Sandpiper Calidris fuscicollis in Poland

Marcin Sołowiej, Zbigniew Kajzer

Summary: 4.07.2012 a White-rumped Sandpiper was seen and photographed in a refulation field near Świnoujście, Western Pomerania. The description of the birds is given and occurrence in Europe is discussed. The record was accepted by the Avifaunistic Commission.

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Ornis Polonica 2013, 54: 64–67

First wintering record of the Avocet Recuvirostra avosetta in Poland

Grzegorz Orłowski, Wiesław Lenkiewicz

Summary: A single Avocet stayed at fish-ponds in the western part of Barycz River valley, Lower Silesia, between 17.09.2011 and 14.01.2012. On 15.01.2013, the most probably the same individual was seen at Mietkowski Reservoir, located ca 75 km SW from previous place. It constitutes the first wintering of this species in Poland ever.

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Ornis Polonica 2013, 54: 68–69

Mystery bird 70: Amur Falcon Falco amurensis

Jan Lontkowski

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Ornis Polonica 2013, 54: 70–75

Numbers of waterbirds on the Bay of Gdańsk between May 2011 and April 2012

Włodzimierz Meissner, Ewelina Kurach, Szymon Bzoma, Andrzej Kośmicki

In summer 2012, as in previous years, the most abundant species were Cormorants Phalacrocorax carbo, Mute Swans Cygnus olor and Mallards Anas platyrhynchos. The number of Mallards, Great Crested Grebes Podiceps cristatus and Coots Fulica atra increased clearly in August, which is typical of this water reservoir, and suggests local movements after breeding season. The period of low temperatures (below –5°C) started only in late January and lasted until the end of February. Ice cover appeared in February. In autumn and winter numbers of waterbids were very low. The only exception was the Whooper Swan C. cygnus, whose numbers were the highest compared to previous 27 years. In January numerous Herring Gulls Larus argentetus flying west were observed.

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