Using DNA from blood and feathers, we screened twenty-four microsatellite primer pairs initially developed for six strigid owls, and four primer pairs shown to be polymorphic across avian taxa, for their utility in the Great Horned Owl Bubo virginianus, Short-eared Owl Asio flammeus and Snowy Owl B. scandiacus. Eight of these primers reliably amplified polymorphic fragments in the Great Horned Owl, eleven in the Short-eared owl, and ten in the Snowy Owl. Analyses of results from presumably unrelated owls demonstrate the utility of these loci for individual identification, parentage assignment, and population genetics studies.
Roosting behavior of the Copper Pheasant Syrmaticus soemmerringii was recorded by fixed video cameras situated at the nests of the Golden Eagles Aquila chrysaetos built on rock ledges in Iwate Prefecture, northern Japan. The first record of roosting was observed at about two hours before sunset on the evening of June 12, 2009. A female Copper Pheasant accompanied by 10 chicks (approx. 7–10 days after hatching) appeared on the eagle's nest which the eagles had not visited for about two months after they failed in breeding. After a few minutes wandering around the nest, the hen and the chicks gathered near the center of the nest and stayed overnight. They left the nest a few minutes after sunrise the next morning. The second record was obtained at another nest belonging to the same pair of eagles just prior to sunset on March 1, 2011. A female Copper Pheasant appeared on the nest which had been used by eagles up until 17 days prior. It stayed on the pile of twigs overnight and left the nest before sunrise the next morning. Golden Eagles that are major predators of Copper Pheasants, and staying on their nests may increase the risk to the pheasant of predation. However, roosting on cliff ledges seems to offer advantages to Copper Pheasants of a quick escape from mammal predators by flying down to the ravine, and shelter from rough weather.
A male Silky Starling Sturnus sericeus was observed at Ishibashi, Sakaigawa, Fuefuki, Yamanashi Prefecture on 21 January 2012. The Silky Starling interacted with the flock of Grey Starlings S. cineraceus. This is the first record of the Silky Starling in Yamanashi Prefecture.
Postures of Dendrocopos major, Hypsipetes amaurotis, Parus palustris, P. ater, P. major and Passer montanus occurring on feeders were observed during winter. At low temperatures birds fluffed out their plumage and the degree of fluffing differed in relation to ambient temperature. D. major, Parus palustris, P. ater, P. major and Passer montanus fluffed out plumage mostly at temperatures of -11～-15°C, and the percentage of individuals fluffing out plumage increased below -17°C. However, H. amaurotis fluffed out plumage at higher ambient temperatures than the other five species.
The hatching pattern of many altricial passerine birds is asynchronous. We describe the degree of hatching asynchrony of each brood and the resulting size hierarchy at five days after the first egg hatched in the Bull-headed Shrike Lanius bucephalus on Minami-daito Island, Japan. Comparison of body mass ratios of each nestling to the largest nestling in a brood at five days after the first egg hatched showed that there was little overlap in terms of size among the nestlings hatched on the same day as the first egg (95% CI: 0.94–0.98), those hatched one day later (0.73–0.83), and those hatched two or more days later (0.52–0.72). We suggest that the size hierarchy caused by hatching asynchrony is detectable from five days after first egg hatched.