The Lake District attracts more than 12 million visitors each year due to its stunning scenery, quaint villages and abundance of activities for all the family. As well as being a popular tourist destination, Cumbria is also home to many species of Birds of Prey. Sharp-eyed bird watchers can spot many different birds such as Kestrels, Golden Eagles, Buzzards, Goshawks and Peregrine Falcons. Sadly, these majestic birds remain at risk from poachers and there are many conservation projects and wildlife centres in place in the Lake District in order to educate about the dangers to birds.
There is ample opportunity to join one of Cumbria’s many Bird of Prey Walks in order to observe the birds in their natural habitat or go off and explore yourself. If you’re lucky you will catch a glimpse of some of the many birds that are seen around the area including:
Buzzards are commonly seen in woodland valleys with open ground and their numbers have increased across the country in recent years. They can be recognised by their varied light and dark plumage and compact, broad wings. They principally eat small rodents but also eat reptiles, amphibians and small birds.
Goshawks are most likely to be found in coniferous woodland and are found only in north-east Cumbria. The Goshawk is distinctive in appearance with its fierce red eyes and white ‘eyebrow’ markings. The females are larger than the males and they eat small mammals and birds.
Peregrines can be found around cliff areas and are large and powerful with pointed wings and a distinctive black ‘moustache’ marking. Peregrines have suffered from poaching and egg collecting in recent years. They feed on medium-sized birds such as pigeons and ducks.
Kestrels are common birds that are found in open areas and often urban areas. They tend to nest in tree holes, on tall buildings or in other birds’ nests. They are identified by their long tail and pointed wings and feast on small mammals and birds.
In recent years the number of Golden Eagles has declined in Cumbria making them a rare sight. The Golden Eagle is a huge bird of prey with broad wings and a long tail. They like to soar on air currents while holding their wings in a ‘V’ shape and eat small mammals and birds.
For more information on Birds of Prey in the Lake District, see here.