Vagrant European Roller near Tuebingen in Germany

Eurasian RollerDuring the last week a European (Eurasian) Roller, Coracias garrulous, could be seen south of Wurmlingen a suburb of Rottenburg am Neckar southwest of Tuebingen. The bird stayed for almost one week in a flat area of meadows and agricultural fields with the name Suelcher Field (Sülcher Feld). The roller was observed the first time on Friday, May, 10th of 2013 by Stefan Hecht. The bird was quite mobile but usually stayed in several dedicated locations in the Suelcher field. Often it was observed sitting on the power lines and also in a special bush where this images could be shot on May, 13th 2013.  The last observations could be made on May, 15th.  Some observers saw the bird hunting insects both from the ground and in the air and then consuming it on one of its preferred perches.

In his „Handbuch der Vögel Mitteleuropas“, Band 9 „Columbiformes – Piciformes“ Urs N. Glutz von Blotzheim mentioned that until the 1980s, this colorful birds still bred in some parts of Brandenburg, especially in the Lausitz and in the Letzlinger Heide near Magedburg. The last breeding bird for the western part of the country was reported from 1965 when one of the adults was shot dead near Dettingen an der Teck (near Nuertingen) which is roughly 50 km as the bird flies from the location of the recent observation. The last observation of a vagrant bird twittered via the german Club-300 was from Swistal-Straßfeld in the southern part of North Rhine Westphalia from the year 2011. The reasons of the disappearance in Germany are obviously complex. With the intensification of agriculture in the last 50 years, the habitat of the European Roller has been greatly detoriated. The large-scale use of DDT (dichlorodiphenyltrichloroethane) as a contact poison against insects might have played a role, too. As a result, many European Roller were indirectly damaged and also lost a lot of their food supply.

During the observation the nice countryside of that area could be appreciated, too. The sounds of at least 2 Common Quail, Coturnix coturnix, and 1 Sedge Warbler, Acrocephalus schoenobaenus, and 2 Red Kite, Milvus milvus, flying over slowly contributed to that nice birding afternoon.

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