Oldest falcon nest found in Greenland

June 18th, 2009 - 5:29 pm ICT by ANI  

London, June 18 (ANI): The oldest nest used by falcons, dating back to even before the time of Jesus, has been discovered in Greenland.

Gyrfalcons, the world’s largest species of falcon, still continually use the nesting site on a precarious cliff edge.

The finders of this nest have also discovered three other nests, each over 1,000 years old, one of which contains feathers from a bird that lived more than 600 years ago.But scientists fear that climate change might drive the birds from these ancient nesting sites.

Gyrfalcons live around the Arctic and range in colour from being almost exclusively white in Greenland to usually black in Labrador in Canada.

They typically lay eggs in bowel-shaped depressions they scrape into existing ledges or old nests made by other birds such as ravens.

With time, the nests become full of feathers and guano as the birds revisit the same site year after year.

Kurt Burnham, of the University of Oxford, examined samples taken from the cliffs on steep ledges in Greenland in order to find out how long the birds have been returning.

“Using radiocarbon dating, the oldest nest was shown to have been used for at least 2,740 to 2,360 calendar years before present, with three other nests likely over 1,000 years old. To date, this is the longest continually used (and currently used) raptor nest ever documented,” the Telegraph quoted him as saying. (ANI)

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