World Bird News August 2013

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New African countries join Spring Alive initiative

New African countries join Spring Alive initiative

Three new African countries namely Kenya, Rwanda and Zambia have joined the Spring Alive initiative for the 2013 season which duly commences on the 1st of September, 2013. These latest additions therefore increase the total number of African countries participating in the initiative from eight in 2012 to eleven in 2013. This remarkable achievement is in furtherance of BirdLife Africa’s vision of expanding the programme into many Africa countries and also increasing the constituency of young people engaged in activities that promote bird awareness and conservation in general.

As part of the initiative, individual country web pages have been created for each new country on the international Spring Alive website- www.springalive.net. Therefore children, youth, teachers and bird lovers in Kenya, Rwanda and Zambia will now be able to gain access to a host of education materials that center on the five flagship species under the initiative. More so, children in these countries can also observe and record the arrival of the five flagship species each year on their home country web pages and participate in the Spring Alive drawing competition for Africa.

Furthermore, opportunities also exist for schools /clubs in Africa to build strong linkages or networks with their European counterparts under the Spring Twins component of the initiative. In all, it is expected that by joining the initiative children and bird lovers in all these countries will have the opportunity to experience spring in a very unique way through the host of activities available under the initiative and consequently enhance their interest and love for birds and nature in general.

The Spring Alive is an international project organised by BirdLife International, designed to promote children’s interest in nature and its conservation by highlighting the arrival of spring. The core component of Spring Alive is a mass-participation website that is implemented in all partner countries. Citizens, but specifically children and families, are encouraged to observe and record the arrival of 5 migratory bird species each year: White Stork, Barn Swallow, Common Swift, Common Cuckoo and Eurasian Bee-eater.

Spring Alive is mainly sponsored by The Mitsubishi Corporation Fund for Europe and Africa (MCFEA). The aims of the MCFEA are to encourage the appreciation and conservation of flora and fauna with an emphasis on endangered species.

The campaign is also financially supported by the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB; BirdLife in the UK) BirdLife in the UK.

By Callistus Agbaam, Project Officer- Wildlife Clubs of Africa Project (Phase II)

Turkish Northern Bald Ibis fly south

Following a successful breeding season for the semi-wild Northern Bald Ibis population at Birecik, Turkey, six of the birds were released as part of trial re-introductions work in late July. A dedicated team first caught up all the birds for the annual ringing/check of the birds at the Birecik ‘Kelaynak’ breeding station run by the Turkish Ministry of Nature Protection and National Parks, and six were selected for release in the hope that they would survive and migrate. Three were fitted with satellite transmitters, and to reduce the chance of persecution, their bright rings were replaced with much less conspicuous ones. Four of the birds were 2013 juveniles, and in addition, two one-year old birds were also released.

For the first two weeks, the birds remained very close to the breeding station, feeding at a number of local sites in the area, as well as taking supplementary food provided. This week, however, excitement mounts as five of the birds have departed south, and the intriguing news is that they have stopped off very close to Palmyra in Syria, where the remaining wild population there has this year sadly declined to just one individual.

Whether the birds will stay in the area or continue their ‘migration’ further south, we will find out from the satellite signals. The work was recommended as a priority at last year’s inaugural meeting of the AEWA International Working Group for Northern Bald Ibis, held at Jazan in Saudi Arabia and by the International Advisory Group for Northern Bald Ibis. Several partners are involved in the work in addition to the Turkish Ministry, with satellite tags provided by Dog(a Derneg(i (BirdLife in Turkey), with Prince Albert II of Monaco Foundation and RSPB (BirdLife in the UK) support.

The Birder's Market | Resource | Bird news for Britain / Rest of the World | World Bird News | World Bird News 2013 |  World Bird News August 2013

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