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Language: English with bilingual foreword in English and German
This is an English translation of the German monograph. Note that the content has been completely updated from the original with recent findings, including a new analysis of the biocide situation, made by Peter Wegner.
Apart from the lesser spotted eagle, only two predatory birds of Germany's forests brood in midsummer: the honey buzzard (Pernis apivorus), which is a specialized wasp hunter, and the Eurasian hobby (Falco subbuteo). The late breeding season also has trophic causes for F. subbuteo, because at that time there is a rich supply of fledglings and flying insects such as dragonflies, hymenoptera and beetles.
Previously, this small falcon has been considered a highly specialized hunter of swallows and larks. Recent studies, however, show that the hobby does not only brood in the vicinity of larger cities, but also directly in urban areas. Especially in the outskirts the hobbies hunt successfully for sparrows, greenfinches, swifts, and even escaped budgerigars.
This volume evaluates the results of many years of observations on hobbies in Berlin and Brandenburg. Many issues such as philopatry, sex ratio, European migration routes and their risks were investigated.
Today, the population of the hobby in Central Europe is threatened, and so this monograph provides knowledge which is fundamental for an effective protection of this species.
Geleitwort/ Foreword 4
1. Names of the Eurasian Hobby 16
2. Systematics and subspecies: an Old World Falcon 18
3. Field characteristics and descriptions: slate-grey upper parts, black-and-white face with moustache 20
4. Eggs 29
5. Voice: alarm call to soft duetting 30
6. Biometrics: from eggs to nestlings and adults 32
7. Habitat for breeding and hunting 41
8. Distribution and status: a palearctic summer visit and migrant 49
9. The Breeding Cycle 109
10. Breeding success and mortality 197
11. Food and breeding season 230
12. Migration 292
13. Predation and other risks: From Goshawk and Eagle Owl to Man 330
14. Biocides 341
15. Moult and preening 345
16. Protection 350
17. References 356
18. Index 391
"The Eurasian Hobby Falco subbuteo is one of those species seemingly attracting a special breed of birdwatchers, in Britain for example D. Nethersole-Thompson, on the continent first and foremost Klaus Fiuczynski. These two joined forces in 1980, but Fiuczynski’s main paper, about population dynamics of his Berlin study population, remained largely unknown outside Germany. The translation of the fifth edition of Der Baumfalke contains Fiuczynski’s entire study in Berlin (1956–2013) [...] Befitting a Neue Brehm Bücherei volume, his book is much more than a review of the Berlin study, in fact it is an encyclopedic résumé of what has been published about Hobbies. This is where an English translation is particularly welcome as the Hobby literature is overwhelmingly German, with a substantial scattering of French and Dutch sources. [...] It is incredibly detailed, not just in scope but also in the presentation of primary data. [...] Syntheses are not eschewed, of course, but are often tongue-in-cheek, showing the master who is aware of potential errors, biases and knowledge gaps. [...] The organization of the text is rather loose, balanced paragraphs being mixed with digressions, warnings, exclamation marks, questions and a plethora of tables, photographs and drawings. The editing and lay-out leave much to be desired. This should, however, not deter the reader, in fact, it gives the text a vivacity that is rare among NBBs (a book series noted for its dryness). [...] His Hobby legacy of 55 years is finally available to the world at large."
– Rob G. Bijlsma, Ibis 160, 2018
"[...] Not a book for a casual read, but full of useful information for any students of raptors, especially falcons, derived from a career studying these birds in the field and through academic research."
– Su Gough, BTO book reviews