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Old 06.04.2014, 05:43
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Swiss birds of prey

When the weather starts to warm up, I love the fact that the mountains take on a whole new side to Switzerland. Every year I see the most amazing birds in the sky. But yet I am still not sure which types they are.

I have been looking (again) and most info (although limited) seems to point to red kites, the colour and tail shape mainly. I am hesitating because there seems to be so many of them. So I have a few questions,

How easy is it to mistake a red kite for a buzzard? When I look at pictures it seems impossible but thats a close up and not circling above.

Is there really such a population in Switzerland and what altitude is normal?

Is there any other birds I could be mistaking these for?

After reading up on limited info, if anybody could let me know of a good place in Switzerland to spot golden eagles?

I am not by any means a birdspotter (complete novice) but these flying creatures have caught my attention. Any help would be welcomed!
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Old 06.04.2014, 09:38
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Re: Swiss birds of prey

Sorry, I do not know the answers to these questions myself, but hopefully in the coming weeks, I'll have some chance to find out - my father is visiting and is a "birder".

However, the folks at the Schweizerische Vogelwarte may have the answers already prepared for you. Here is their website: http://www.vogelwarte.ch/home-en.html
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Old 06.04.2014, 10:09
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Re: Swiss birds of prey

There is a very large population of Red Kites in Switzerland and it's not unusual to see lots of them especially at this time of year.
We're at 400m and there are lots of them circling around. Up to 800m they are very common and they will go higher as the weather improves and the snow melts.
There are also lots of black kites around here too.
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Old 06.04.2014, 11:16
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Re: Swiss birds of prey

The kite has a concave shaped tail, the buzzard convex. We have a few red kites which fly behind our apartment near the woods, they make a cry which for some reason makes me feel sad, but I love to watch them, a beautiful bird!
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Old 06.04.2014, 11:21
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Re: Swiss birds of prey

We have lots of red kites around us throughout the year and we are at about 600m with lots of fields and woods around.
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Old 06.04.2014, 11:22
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Re: Swiss birds of prey

Noticed a few around here and the smaller type birds have got out of here, sharpish. Great for the garden as I have just reseeded a few areas.

Last edited by SOBEIT; 06.04.2014 at 12:26.
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Old 06.04.2014, 11:36
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Re: Swiss birds of prey

Yes, the red kite is actually quite common in this part of Europe. I'm no expert, but at our Alsace place, with fields and woods all around, we do see lots of them and it seems like their numbers have increased since we've been here (12 years). Still a lot more buzzards though, which we often see sitting on fence posts at the edge of fields.
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Old 06.04.2014, 13:33
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Re: Swiss birds of prey

Red kites mostly for the birds of prey, but you'll find a lot of different finches, tits and thrushes too. Herons, egrets and of course storks. We usually see a few storks feeding in the farm fields opposite our house during the summer. A few years ago we saw a huge flock of them circling over Misery, presumably getting ready to depart south as it was that time of year. Hubby took a picture of them and counted how may there were - around 80 in total. Magnificent sight. Altreu, near Solothurn is the main area for them although they can be found near a lot of Swiss lakes too. They have a visitor's centre at Altreu which is quite interesting and you can have a stroll through the village and see many of the nests on the rooftops.

http://www.biel-seeland.ch/en/discov...treu.1248.html
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Old 06.04.2014, 14:30
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Re: Swiss birds of prey

Red Kites are common as muck round us at 575m. I've recently counted up to 25 circling and landing in fields near us. They often cast a forbidding shadow over our garden and single birds have actually landed in the garden when they though they saw something to eat...
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Old 06.04.2014, 14:31
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Re: Swiss birds of prey

What I have noticed is that both kites and buzzards, seem to be getting bigger - especially the ones I've seen so far, this year.
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Old 06.04.2014, 16:11
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Re: Swiss birds of prey

There is a wonderful post that one of our members put on here a few years ago with pictures of all the birds of prey with their different colours under the wing etc so you could tell which ones were which. I think the member moved away to Australia?
Can anyone remember the post or can find it ?
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Old 06.04.2014, 20:53
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Re: Swiss birds of prey

Birds of prey are notoriously difficult to recognize. I have a cracker of a book entitled "Flight recognition of European raptors", which says that no-one gets it right all the time. However, kites and buzzards are hard to confuse. Kites are really elegant with long forked tails and pointed wings. Buzzards have rounded wings and rounded tails. They are not nearly so agile in flight.

A great place to see raptors is the Southern end of the Jura, a few kilometers from Geneva. Here they have to cross the gap above Bellegrade. There are always keen birdwatchers counting what comes over during the spring an autmn migration.
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Old 07.04.2014, 04:15
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Re: Swiss birds of prey

These flying machines get me every year! Thanks for the info all of you, it seems that red kites really are everywhere and now I can watch the skies (hopefully) knowing what they are. What magnificent creatures!

Anybody with any knowledge on other species in Switzerland?

I tried the search function on EF but found nothing. Smackerjack mentioned an old thread???

The stork link is great too, will be planning a visit! I read only last week that the first pair of storks in centuries have set up home in Great Yarmouth, England!
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Old 07.04.2014, 08:29
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Re: Swiss birds of prey

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These flying machines get me every year! Thanks for the info all of you, it seems that red kites really are everywhere and now I can watch the skies (hopefully) knowing what they are. What magnificent creatures!

Anybody with any knowledge on other species in Switzerland?

I tried the search function on EF but found nothing. Smackerjack mentioned an old thread???

The stork link is great too, will be planning a visit! I read only last week that the first pair of storks in centuries have set up home in Great Yarmouth, England!
Yes, the first time they've bred naturally for 600 years in the UK.

http://www.bbc.com/news/uk-england-norfolk-26833379

Who knows they may even become as famous as "Max" did here in Switzerland during her lifetime.

Born near Avenches she was fitted with a tracking device by the Natural History Museum in Fribourg when she was only 2 months old and provided data on stork migration patterns for the rest of her life. Sadly she died aged 13 and a half in December 2012, but she holds the record for the longest tracking period. She used to nest up in Germany near Lake Constance.

http://www.swissinfo.ch/eng/swiss_ne...l?cid=34602956
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Old 07.04.2014, 12:02
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Re: Swiss birds of prey

Here a link to the Swiss bird databse by Vogelwarte Sempach.

You can search by food, habitat, species etc.

For example the Buzzard / Mäusebussard.
http://www.vogelwarte.ch/common-buzzard.html

or the Red Kite / Roter Milan
http://www.vogelwarte.ch/red-kite.html
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Old 07.04.2014, 13:07
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Re: Swiss birds of prey

You may be interested in this kestrel nesting box in Muttenz, Basel. The birds are not nesting yet, but when they do it is fascinating to watch.

http://www.turmfalke.ch/index.html

There is a thread about it here...


Kestrel Webcam
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Old 07.04.2014, 14:37
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Re: Swiss birds of prey

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There is a wonderful post that one of our members put on here a few years ago with pictures of all the birds of prey with their different colours under the wing etc so you could tell which ones were which. I think the member moved away to Australia?
Can anyone remember the post or can find it ?
Could it have been Colonelboris? Here's a thread he started containing lots of photos.

Last edited by Texaner; 07.04.2014 at 15:14.
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Old 08.04.2014, 19:08
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Re: Swiss birds of prey

A couple of pictures of local Bern buzzards and red kites to look at if you like.

Buzzards:
https://www.flickr.com/photos/demoniser/13716059005/

Red kite:
https://www.flickr.com/photos/demoni...n/photostream/

I regularly see 5 or six a day over the west side of Bern.

If anyone is interested in tracking down their nests let me know!

Robert.
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Old 06.07.2014, 22:43
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Re: Swiss birds of prey

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When the weather starts to warm up, I love the fact that the mountains take on a whole new side to Switzerland. Every year I see the most amazing birds in the sky. But yet I am still not sure which types they are.

I have been looking (again) and most info (although limited) seems to point to red kites, the colour and tail shape mainly. I am hesitating because there seems to be so many of them. So I have a few questions,

How easy is it to mistake a red kite for a buzzard? When I look at pictures it seems impossible but thats a close up and not circling above.

Is there really such a population in Switzerland and what altitude is normal?

Is there any other birds I could be mistaking these for?

After reading up on limited info, if anybody could let me know of a good place in Switzerland to spot golden eagles?

I am not by any means a birdspotter (complete novice) but these flying creatures have caught my attention. Any help would be welcomed!
Switzerland has both red kites and black kites, and also buzzards.

Red kites are big with a forked tail, and red. Black kites are a bit smaller, their tails are a bit less forked, and they are darker (but they're not easy to tell apart). Red are also more common.

Buzzards, as someone said above, have convex tails and are chunkier and a sort of streaky brown.

They can all be found in much the same habitat, particularly when a farmer just finished ploughing or mowing - we counted 39 kites (various sorts) on a single field near Egerkingen the other day. Mowing leaves a trail of dead rodents which is very tasty.

You may also see kestrels, sparrowhawks and even the odd goshawk in the woods if you're lucky.
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