Tag Archives: Harz

Prey and spectrum of food of European Bee-eater

BienenfresserThe name already reveals part of the food spectrum of the magnificent birds. Bee-eaters (Merops apiaster) lead a short, eventful life in Germany. The colorful birds only arrive in our latitudes in the second half of May. Bee-eaters feed exclusively on insects, specializing in the hunting of large and medium-sized flying insects. Bees, bumblebees, beetles, wasps, dragonflies and butterflies are among their main prey. In order to hunt them efficiently, the Bee-eater needs a “perch”, an elevated twig, from which it can start hunting. Birds’ habitats therefore always include old trees with bare branches or tall shrubs. In order to avoid stings from its defensive prey, the Bee-eater subjects its victims to a truly murderous treatment. Before devouring them, he kills non-toxic insects by knocking them on a branch several times. Or he occasionally throws them in the air and catches them again. European Bee-eaters always grab “poison-biting” insects on the abdomen and hits them once or twice on a branch before rubbing the end of their abdomen on a branch. This is how the poison is drawn  out of bees or wasps and is removed thereafter. After a few more hits on the head, the insect is finally ready to eat. Who likes to risk a stab in the esophagus?

Because of its food spectrum, the bee-eater relies on a warm climate. Over the centuries European Bee-eaters has continued to expand its distribution area to the north. But it is an eventful story of expansion and withdrawal. The Bee-eater is currently on the rise Continue reading Prey and spectrum of food of European Bee-eater

Photographing European Bee-eater: How and Where

BienenfresserA thin branch in the most beautiful evening light and on it a European Bee-eater (Merops apiaster). This is an image many nature photographers want to shoot. This raises the question of course of what the Bee-eater’s habits and preferences are. If you take a closer look at Bee-eater photography, you ask yourself e.g. how a favorite habitat must look like, what a perfect breeding site must be like and which season is suitable at all.

Part of the solution to the problem is already solved by the food spectrum of the magnificent bird. Merops apiaster live a very flight-intensive life and feed exclusively on big  insects. The bird is specialized in the hunting of large and medium-sized flying insects. Bees, wasps, bumblebees, beetles, dragonflies and butterflies are among their main prey. In this respect, you will find more European Bee-eater where these main prey insects are found in large numbers. Furthermore, the Bee-eater is dependent on a warm climate due to its food source.

In order to be able to hunt the flying insects efficiently, European Bee-eaters need a “perch”, an elevated stig, from which it can start to hunt. Birds’ habitats therefore always include old trees with bare branches or tall shrubs. Continue reading Photographing European Bee-eater: How and Where

Alpenbraunellen im Taunus bei Frankfurt/ Main

AlpenbraunelleGenau vor 2 Jahren gab es für Birder im Rhein-Main-Gebiet eine große Überraschung. Sage und schreibe 3 Alpenbraunellen waren am 11. April 2014 am Großen Feldberg gerade mal 20 km entfernt von der Innenstadt von Frankfurt / Main zu beobachten. Nachdem ein Ornithologe, Ingo Rössler, die Art bei der Suche nach Ringdrosseln, Turdus torquatus, entdeckt hatte, waren schon mehrere Ornithologen auf dem über 800m NN hohen Gipfel gewesen, um die hier sehr seltene Art zu beobachten. Zuerst war die Rede von einem Vogel, dann waren sie angeblich weg und dann waren es doch insgesamt 3 Individuen,  die sich auf dem Großen Feldberg dem höchsten Berg des im Südwesten Hessens gelegenen Mittelgebirges aufhielten.

Als wir gegen 16:30 ankamen, trieben sich die Alpenbraunellen (Prunella collaris) gemeinsam im westlichen Innenhof direkt am großen Fernmeldeturm herum. Sie waren eifrig damit beschäftig, auf dem mit Pflaster ausgelegten Innenhof nach Nahrung zu suchen. Immer wieder flogen die Braunellen auf und landeten dann in den Regenrinnen des Funkturms. Noch bis mindestens Continue reading Alpenbraunellen im Taunus bei Frankfurt/ Main