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New Forest Raven survey: 2021 call for sightings

Russ writes:

In 2020, Wild New Forest initiated the first detailed survey of breeding Ravens within the New Forest National Park. This two-year project aims to confirm suspicions that the species has undergone a rapid change of status and is now a widespread breeding bird, and to assess potential impacts on other species with less favourable conservation status, such as breeding waders.

Thanks to support from many local observers, we were able to identify at least 17 Raven pairs that were confirmed or probably breeding, and a further seven or eight territories that were thought to be occupied by non-breeding (probably immature) birds. The map below shows the provisional distribution map, and further details of the 2020 breeding season can be found at the link below:

This year, we are hoping to consolidate the population estimate and distribution map and to monitor occupied nests to assess productivity – our 2020 data suggest that many New Forest Raven pairs are producing three or four chicks, so there is every chance the population will continue to increase and/or spill-over to adjacent areas.

We are therefore calling for local observers to report any sightings of Ravens within the New Forest National Park from 01 Feb to 30 June 2021, with required details including date/time, location (preferably with a six-figure grid ref), number of birds, and any pertinent behaviour, e.g. tumbling, nest-building, carrying prey. We will endeavour to produce regular project updates on this blog as the season progresses and will issue a final survey report before the end of the year.

Raven in the New Forest on 01 July 2020

Note that all observers should comply with the relevant COVID-19 guidelines for outdoor recreation - the widespread distribution of Ravens within the New Forest, and their highly visible (and vocal) nature, means that they can often be encountered during daily exercise walks and cycle rides. If COVID-19 restrictions allow, we will issue a further call for local volunteers to monitor occupied nests during the spring to assess productivity.

All sightings should be reported to and will be provided to Forestry England and Hampshire Ornithological Society at the end of the project.

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