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 Post subject: Re: Eurasion, Eagleowl, Screech, Barred, Etc. ~ 2016-2021
PostPosted: Sat May 01, 2021 10:58 am 
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 Post subject: Re: Eurasion, Eagleowl, Screech, Barred, Etc. ~ 2016-2021
PostPosted: Thu May 20, 2021 5:53 am 
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Shocking Update by Stefan Brücher's diary: Both owlets are lost by an attack of a racoon!
Quote:
Both young owls eaten by raccoon!
Tuesday, May 18, 2021

Dear owl friends,
the diary entry concerning the ringing has now become invalid. Last night a raccoon ate both young eagle owls.

This is the first evidence for the Eifel, but it is quite possible that many of the breeding tasks known to us have this cause. To regard it as "natural" is a bit difficult for me. Raccoons have been introduced to Europe by humans, the native species have no evolved strategies to deal with this threat.

This year's webcam season now ends abruptly.

A bit shocked,
your Stefan Brücher
Society for the Conservation of Owls e. V.

Stefan Brücher analysed the tragedy a day later as follows:

Quote:
19. Mai 2021

Many questions arise in connection with the raccoon attack. Some can be answered, some not due to lack of knowledge:
How much are the Eifeluhus threatened by raccoons? In all likelihood, there has been a large and steadily growing raccoon population in the Eifel for many years. Already in 2017 we noticed the disappearance of juvenile eagle owls at some breeding sites. It seemed as if a scarce food supply had forced the female eagle owls to leave their still quite young chicks alone to secure their supply. This provided an opportunity for predators. Now we have witnessed such a situation.

As far as we can survey the danger of raccoons to the owb broods so far, it is somewhat different from the danger posed by foxes. The temperament of raccoons is certainly more thick-skinned, and their foraging in groups is also problematic. Only last week an eagle conservationist from the Bergisches Land told me about his observations using thermal imaging binoculars: Three raccoons tried to get to the eagle owl's nest and cleverly used the cover of bushes. Only where the eagle owls had free approach, they could fend off the predator. Despite the raccoons' persistence, this time the eagle owls managed to protect their young. The eagle owls hardly had time to hunt that night, the female did not hunt.

The eagle owl population is very dense. The Eifel is a density center of eagle owls in Germany. I am not seriously concerned about their continued existence. Some breeding sites are well accessible for raccoons others less. In some eagle owl territories there is a lot of food available. Then the females can take care of their young longer. Again and again I have seen how well eagle owls are able to cope with many challenges. Often I have worried and even more often I have found that the eagle owls can do more and are better than we give them credit for.
Lotte will not lay eggs again this year. Owls only make repeat clutches if their first clutch fails in the first few weeks of incubation.

Lotte ate at the remains of the fledglings, swallowing a foot with a ring. Since eagle owls also swallow relatively large skulls of prey completely and then spit them out again as pellets, I am not worried about this.

Protecting breeding sites in rocks from raccoons is hardly possible.

Eagle owls can fend off raccoons, maybe even kill them. But the eagle owls must perceive the attacker in time. As far as I know, it will probably not be possible to drive back raccoons in Germany even with rigorous control. Raccoons live in social associations and are subject to internal birth control. Normally only perennial females have offspring. If these are killed, e.g. by trapping or shooting, all younger ones also reproduce and fill the empty spaces.

In Germany, the raccoon is a species introduced from North America by humans, which escaped from captive husbandry in the last century and established itself in native ecosystems. Raccoons prey on a large number of individuals of native species, including endangered species. These include not only birds, but also amphibians, reptiles and other species groups.

Some areas of our nature are even more defenceless against raccoons than we can observe with our eagle owls. Lutz Dalbeck from the Biological Station in the Northern Eifel, for example, reported true massacres at shallow ponds. Hundreds of bitten amphibians lay on the shore. Only the tastiest parts were bitten out, many animals still lived a little. They had the instinct to hide in the silt when in danger, an effective behavior for European predators. Raccoons, however, grope through the silt to find any life. When they forage in groups, they can empty entire ponds.

On the evening of May 18, the raccoon again came to the eagle owl nest and ate at the remains of the eagle owls. Lotte and Leo were obviously not around again and did not notice the predator this time either. Later they came with food and found no takers for it. It seems that they still need some time to realize the situation. What we call grasping is not their strength and yet they are incredibly good in their own way.

In no way I would like to suggest you to watch the video recording of the raccoons' access. Nevertheless, I do not want to withhold this document from you. It is however nothing for weak nerves. Here it goes to the video.

Your Stefan Brücher
Society for the preservation of the owls registered association.

https://uhu.webcam.pixtura.de/tagebuch/

*** Translated with http://www.DeepL.com/Translator (free version) ***

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