300 metres

To: Jonny Schoenjahn <>
Subject: 300 metres
From: Peter Shute <>
Date: Wed, 27 Jul 2016 06:22:51 +0000
When you say 300m, do you mean with a clear line of sight, Jonny? That's such a 
huge distance that it would be difficult to not come closer accidentally at 
times, especially if the view of the nest is blocked by vegetation.

Peter Shute

Sent from my iPad

> On 23 Jul 2016, at 6:27 PM, Jonny Schoenjahn <> wrote:
> Hello all
> Following up on Chris Watson’s report (and advertisement) regarding 
> Letter-winged Kites, I wish to ask the tour organisers and participants to 
> exercise great caution in the nest areas. Disturbance by humans was 
> responsible for over 40% of complete nest failures in the a comprehensive 
> study on breeding raptors (by Craighead and Craighead (1956)), by very far 
> the greatest cause of nest failure. 300 metres is a safe distance with most 
> species, but it may not be even enough for Letter-winged Kites of for the 
> particular individuals involved (birds do have ‘personalities’). For example, 
> Wedge-tailed Eagles require a much greater distance.
> I am aware that a distance of 300 m or more seems at first to be not useful 
> to get the perfect view or photograph. However, a couple of basic rules may 
> provide results nevertheless: stay together as a tight group around the 
> vehicle, and be patient. Chances are that the birds come closer, sooner or 
> later.
> Even if the birds don’t seem to be disturbed at all by (too close) observers, 
> they may abandon the nest and the site within the next few days, unnoticed of 
> course by the observers who in turn get the impression that their behaviour 
> was perfectly fine. Nests (and eggs!) are most like to be abandoned during 
> the period between nest site selection and hatching. If the LWKs near Alice 
> Springs are laying within the next few days, the eggs may hatch around the 
> end of August. This means that visiting the site in question should not be 
> considered before September. Patience, yet again.
> Please don’t go closer than 300 metres. The life of these birds is difficult, 
> and we can easily make it much more difficult, even impossible.
> Last and certainly not least, if you go and get to see Letter-winged Kites, 
> enjoy it! What a fantastic and unique species!
> Cheers,
> Jonny
> Jonny Schoenjahn
> Grey Falcon research
> Perth, WA
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