World Bird News December 2014

The Birder's Market | Resource | Bird news for Britain / Rest of the World | World Bird News | World Bird News 2014 |  World Bird News December 2014

Seasonal help needed for tropical sandpiper

Seasonal help needed for tropical sandpiper

By Martin Fowlie, Mon, 22/12/2014 - 15:59

We have raised 76% of the funds needed to restore six stunningly beautiful Pacific islands next year but we still need your help.

Help us now

Pacific islands are under siege by invasive species introduced by humans. As a result, a staggering 81 bird species are threatened with extinction today.
Removing these introduced invaders is the immediate priority for BirdLife International.

The situation remains dire in French Polynesia, where most native birds are at immediate risk of extinction. These remote, scattered archipelagos have a high number of endemic birds, many of which are globally threatened. The primary cause is invasive species which are pushing these unique birds toward extinction.

Your generous support will be used to pay for hiring boats, helicopters staff and purchasing the equipment needed to ensure our years of careful planning is expertly implemented. Your support will allow the Critically Endangered Polynesian Ground-dove, Tuamotu Sandpiper, White-throated Storm-petrel, and Phoenix Petrel populations to recover. Safe from predators.

Please make a gift for nature this Christmas, and help us to restore the Gambier Archipelago to its former glory.
Organisations supporting this project include SOP Manu (BirdLife in French Polynesia), the European Union, the David and Lucile Packard Foundation, the British Birdwatching Fair, the Canadian T/GEAR Charitable Trust and Bird Studies Canada, Island Conservation and Bell Laboratories.


Better days for European Rollers in Serbia

Better days for European Rollers in Serbia

By Alessia Calderalo, Wed, 17/12/2014 - 10:10

European Roller is a modern symbol of nature conservation in Serbia. In the first half of the 20th century, the species was very common in the lowlands, as well as in hilly areas and river valleys of central and eastern part of the country. Sadly, this beautiful multi-coloured bird has been in the spotlight in recent years due to its rapid decline since the 1950s. The decline, particularly obvious in the Vojvodina Region, reached its most alarming point when the last census showed that only 17 pairs were left in Vojvodina. Ornithologists decided to take action.

Experts from Riparia Association of Naturalists and the Bird Protection and Study Society of Serbia (BPSSS), (BirdLife Partner), realised that the immense potential of the vast Pannonian alkaline grasslands was being wasted. This was due to a lack of breeding sites for the birds, almost all of the old trees rich in breeding holes had been cut down. According to Otto Szekeres, Roller Project leader with the Riparia Association, breeding boxes had to be installed urgently in all possible places - younger trees and electricity pylons, to give the birds a chance.

This strategy, which was only implemented in the northern part of the country, soon began to cover southern areas too: “In 2003, we had the first ever breeding pair in a box in Serbia and this number has increased gradually, reaching a figure of 147 pairs in boxes in 2014”, said Otto Szekeres.

All these actions have proved to be widely effective, and lots of people, farmers and other stakeholders have recognised the European Roller’s recovery as a really positive move. Its presence on Pannonian grasslands is clear and visible: birds are displaying at the end of a breeding season and during migration on electricity wires quite frequently. Likewise, over 10 years, more than 1,200 chicks have fledged from the nest boxes and birds have started slowly to occupy natural holes in the remaining trees around the feeding sites. In addition, the European Roller project has attracted a group of active Roller caretakers who are doing local box installations and repairs, watching them and ringing the chicks. Most of these conservation lessons and experiences applied by BPSSS and Riparia Association were learnt from MME (BirdLife in Hungary), which has successfully implemented a similar set of Roller conservation projects.

“However”, –says Szekeres “in order to make the European Roller population sustainable, more efforts need to be invested in its management. If we cease the nest installation and repairs, the population will end up with no other suitable nesting opportunities”.

For this project to be successful and long lasting, it will require a strengthening and expansion of the surveillance network and full support from the Ministry of Agriculture and Environmental Protection in Serbia.

In the future bird lovers and environmentalists hope that European Rollers will not need such strong engagement of people for its survival.

Disaster in the Sundarbans

By Martin Fowlie, Thu, 18/12/2014 - 11:38

A tanker and another vessel have collided, spilling more than 350,000 litres of oil into the waters of the Sundarban tidal mangrove forests in Bangladesh.
"It is hard to separate emotions from the facts when a member of your family dies. A part of you dies with them. Dealing with the oil spill in the Sundarbans is no less than this -- a wound that time may not heal."

Sayam Chowdhury is the Principal Investigator of the Sundarbans Finfoot Research Project and knows this amazing part of Bangladesh well.

The Sundarbans is the largest delta covered with mangrove forests and vast saline mud flats in the world. It contains large swaths of protected areas that host a diverse wildlife, including Bengal Tiger, river dolphins as well as threatened birds such as Masked Finfoot.

“The oil is entering the narrow creeks and accumulating along the banks where Masked Finfoot and other waterbirds forage. If the crabs and small fish are dying then it is very likely that finfoot will be the next, as those are their main food items”, said Sayam Chowdhury,

Credit: Helal SujonCredit: Helal Sujon

“Also, if the birds are covered in oil and it gets into their eyes, they are less likely to escape predation, their body temperatures may drop, they may not be able to hunt, and will likely starve to death. This is true for more than 100 species of waterbirds, including 8 species of kingfishers and at least 10 species of birds of prey. Only the short-term possible effects are listed here. The long-term impact of this spill on the bird life of the Sundarbans is unimaginable.”

The oil spill clean up is almost wholly dependent on locals in the area, and whio have no equipment, training, or protection.

Credit: Helal SujonCredit: Helal Sujon
The Sundarbans, which extends across southern Bangladesh and into India, is home to around four million people, most of whom make their living directly from the great forest and it's labyrinthine waterways.




Say NO to birds in a cage and on a plate

Say NO to birds in a cage and on a plate

By Elodie Cantaloube, Wed, 26/11/2014 - 12:09

BirdLife Partner SPEA launches a new campaign to stop the illegal capture and sale of birds in Portugal.

Are you aware that with the simple click of a mouse you can buy a Great Tit online?...

On Portuguese websites, it is quite common to find for sale, next to bicycles or a pair of shoes, a woodpecker, a Blackbird and even some birds of prey.

Whilst in some cases individuals have the legal right to sell native species, most of such advertisement relates to illegal capture and trade of protected wild species.

Birds in a cage are not the only source of concern for the SPEA. Although capturing birds for food is illegal (except for hunting of certain game species), a high number of songbirds like European Robins and Blackcaps are caught, either to eat at home, or sold to restaurants, in which it is still common to find ‘fried birds’ on the menu.

A recent study on illegal capture and killing of wild birds, carried out by SPEA with the support of BirdLife, revealed that the Blackcap, Eurasian Robin, European Goldfinch and Eurasian Chaffinch are the most frequently captured birds and that the Southern Algarve, Lisbon and Oporto are the most affected regions. In the Algarve, the main problem seems to involve bird-eating, while in Lisboa and the Oporto regions, the caged bird ‘business’ is the most important activity, which happens mostly in local fairs and on the internet. Everyday Great Tits, Bluethroats or European Robins, can be found for sale, predominantly on the OLX and CustoJusto websites.

Even though bird trapping is illegal, the traps, nets and limesticks used for the trapping are openly sold, due to a lack of specific legislation. Catching the trappers in the act is very rare and only a tiny fraction of SPEA’s reports to the police are successfully prosecuted.

The main reason this practice continues, is due to a lack of information amongst the Portuguese population as to the harm it causes to bird populations and wildlife in general.

This is why SPEA has just launched a new campaign “Say NO to birds in a cage and on a plate”, aiming to educate and raise the awareness in Portuguese citizens. The campaign also calls on the authorities for a better control mechanisms of illegal activities.

The campaign looks for the support of citizens, to denounce or report illegal acts, to be alert for traps and nets in the fields and to raise money for SPEA’s actions. Learn more on SPEA’s website http://www.spea.pt/pt/participar/campanhas/captura-ilegal/

*The campaign is supported by several local and national Portuguese NGOs: Rias Animal Rescue center and A Rocha, in the Algarve, CERVAS Animal rescue center, in Serra da Estrela, LPN and Quercus nationally.



The Birder's Market | Resource | Bird news for Britain / Rest of the World | World Bird News | World Bird News 2014 |  World Bird News December 2014

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