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RSPB: Keep nest boxes simple, not stylish, says RSPB

Blue tit inspecting nestbox
Blue Tit at nest box (Katie Fuller)



With the British Trust for Ornithology’s (BTO) National Nest Box Week (14 - 21 February) upon us and spring time fast approaching, people across Scotland are being urged to dust off their muddy wellies and get back into the garden to put up a nest box in time for the bird breeding season. 

Boxes shaped like caravans, farmhouses, eggs and even windmills are on sale as nesting sites for garden birds, but RSPB Scotland is warning that attractive or elaborate boxes are not necessarily safe or effective. In some cases, unsuitable nest boxes could even lead to birds being put in danger.

British Birds » News: 600th species added to the British List


Feb 18th 2016, 16:00, by Roger Riddington

A Yelkouan Shearwater Puffinus yelkouan seen off Berry Head, Devon, on 29th July 2008 has finally been accepted, and becomes the 600th bird on the British List. The bird was seen by Mike Langman and Mark Darlaston while looking for a similar species, Balearic Shearwater P. mauretanicus.

Balearic (above) and Yelkouan Shearwater (below), Castellon, Spain, December 2014. This side-by-side comparison reveals the larger size and bulky, pot-bellied structure of Balearic, and the slimmer, more attenuated appearance of Yelkouan. Pic by Victor Paris.
Balearic (above) and Yelkouan Shearwater (below), Castellon, Spain, December 2014.

This side-by-side comparison reveals the larger size and bulky, pot-bellied structure of Balearic, and the slimmer, more attenuated appearance of Yelkouan. Pic by Victor Paris.

The Yelkouan Shearwater breeds on islands and coastal cliffs in the Mediterranean Sea, mainly in the east. The majority of the Yelkouan population moves east outside the breeding season to winter in the Black Sea, but small numbers (presumably of the westernmost breeding birds) are known to move west and enter the North Atlantic to find food during the summer and autumn after breeding. Balearic Shearwaters also breed within the Mediterranean, but as their name suggests breed primarily around the Balearic islands and western sea area) and move in to the North Atlantic in summer. They are seen around the shores of the Britain and Ireland every year, with largest numbers in the southwest of England and off southern Ireland.

Raptor Persecution Scotland: Ross-shire Massacre discussed at RACCE meeting

RK5
Poisoned Red Kite
Back to the Rural Affairs, Climate Change & Environment (RACCE) committee meeting in January….
The topic of the Ross-shire Massacre was raised again. For new readers, the Ross-shire Massacre refers to the discovery of 22 dead raptors in a small area of Conon Bridge in the Highlands in March 2014. Sixteen red kites and six buzzards were found dead: 12 red kites and 4 buzzards have since been confirmed to have been poisoned by a ‘banned substance’. There have been no arrests to date. Our last update was on the 18 month anniversary (here) and we’ll be writing more when the two-year anniversary rolls around in March.
In the meantime, here’s the discussion from the RACCE committee meeting in January. In a nutshell, 22 months on from one of the biggest mass raptor poisonings uncovered in Scotland, the police have no progress to report:

RSPB: Visitors set to flock to Rathlin West Light Seabird Centre!

Puffin with wings outstretched, about to land
Puffin in flight (Chris Gomersall)

Excitement is building for the re-opening of one of Northern Ireland’s most iconic tourist destinations, the Rathlin West Light Seabird Centre.

Rathlin Island is Northern Ireland’s only inhabited island and is also home to one of the UK’s largest seabird colonies.

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