Russ and Marcus write:
Over the next couple of years, Wild New Forest will be co-ordinating an informal survey for breeding Ravens in the New Forest, supported by Forestry England and Hampshire Ornithological Society (HOS). Since returning as a breeding species to Hampshire in 2003, the Raven population has rapidly increased, and we now suspect that there are as many as 15-20 pairs breeding within the New Forest National Park. If we include non-breeding birds, then Raven numbers in the New Forest on any given day are likely to exceed 40-50 birds.
Although their conservation status is now positive, a baseline survey will allow future trends to be determined and help inform a better understanding of their potential impact on prey species, e.g. ground-nesting waders.
Ravens are early breeders, and our local birds are already busy establishing territories and occupying nest sites. We are therefore keen to receive any records of Ravens within the New Forest National Park boundary between 01 Jan 2020 and 30 June 2020, as this will cover the totality of the breeding season. The data collected this year will enable us to better understand the number and distribution of breeding pairs, allowing us to focus on productivity and prey items next year.
Within our area, Ravens nest both on natural features (e.g. large conifers) and man-made features (e.g. pylons). They also nest on cliffs in adjacent counties, such as the bird in the image below at the Needles Headland on the Isle of Wight. We have already identified at least a dozen potential territories in the New Forest this year, but are particularly keen to receive records from the northern and western forest and the margins adjacent to Southampton Water and The Solent. However, all records are welcome, particularly relating to occupied nests, and will help us build a consistent picture.
Records should include date, time, number of birds, any pertinent behavioural information, and ideally a six-figure rid reference, and can be submitted to firstname.lastname@example.org. All collated data will be shared with Forestry England and HOS. An update on the project will be provided in summer 2020.