World Bird News February 2010

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Celebrating Natron's Flamingos with action

Celebrating Natron's Flamingos with action


The 2010 World Wetlands Day celebrations in Tanzania focussed on a meeting to support the conservation of Lesser Flamingo Phoenicopterus minor (Near Threatened) through the completion of a National Single Species Action Plan.
"This is an important step in ensuring the protection of this important species not only for Tanzania but also for the world", said Lota Melamari - CEO of Wildlife Conservation Society of Tanzania (WCST, BirdLife Partner). "This action plan provides Tanzania with an opportunity to ensure that threats facing Lesser Flamingo are thoroughly addressed", he added.
Tanzania is home to the most important breeding site in the world for Lesser Flamingo – Lake Natron. Of the world's global population of Lesser Flamingo, 75% breed at Lake Natron.
These flamingos drew global attention when a proposal to build a soda ash processing plant at Lake Natron came to light in 2006. The global community, led by BirdLife International, WCST, the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB, BirdLife in the UK), and the Lake Natron Consultative Group opposed the plans citing serious threats to the critical flamingo breeding site.
During the meeting, actions were agreed aimed at ensuring that the species is protected at Lake Natron and eleven other lakes within Tanzania. "It is commendable that Tanzania now has developed an action plan for Lesser Flamingo", said Paul Kariuki Ndang'ang'a of BirdLife Africa Partnership Secretariat. "It is critical to put in place necessary measures to begin implementation immediately."
The meeting was held at the Lake Manyara National Park Hostel, and participants included local community groups such as the Ilkisongo Pastoralists Initiatives. Other participants included: local government officials, Protected Area managers, officials from the Wildlife Division and the Ministry of Environment, academic institutions and BirdLife Partners, WCST and the RSPB.
"It is fantastic to see such wide ranging support for the finalisation of the plan", added Sarah Sanders - Head of RSPB Country Programmes Unit. "It is now down to all of us to make sure that the plan is not put on a shelf but implemented so the conservation of Lesser Flamingo is secured in the long-term."
Participants had a chance to visit Lake Manyara National Park to see flamingos and observed fascinating pairing and mating rituals. The consultative meeting was organised through the National Wetlands Working Group led by the WCST and the Tanzania Wildlife Research Institute under the auspices of the Wetlands Unit of Tanzania's Wildlife Division.
The facilitators were drawn from the BirdLife Africa Partnership Secretariat who also used the opportunity to launch a three year project to enhance the conservation of Lake Natron Ramsar Site, funded by the Aage V. Jensen Charity Foundation. Local participants were kindly supported by the Wetlands Unit of Tanzania's Wildlife Division and the Ministry of Natural Resources and Tourism.

Nabu is 111 years old

Nabu is 111 years old


NABU, the Nature And Biodiversity Conservation Union (BirdLife in Germany) recently celebrated its 111-year anniversary. With over 460,000 members and sponsors NABU is Germany's most representative environmental organisation.
"NABU tells a successful story of social commitment for nature conservation and environmental protection in Germany", said NABU's President Olaf Tschimpke during the press conference in Berlin which celebrated the anniversary. "In NABU we can count on a great popular support, where both employees and volunteers work together to preserve a healthy and diverse environment", continued Mr Tschimpke.
Founded in 1899 in Stuttgart by manufacturer's wife Lina Hähnle, as an 'alliance for the Birds', the association has evolved in the last 100 years into a modern environmental organisation with 15 regional branches and 30,000 volunteers. The protection of species and habitats, as well as climate change, land use and transport are central themes for NABU in this important anniversary year, which is also the International Year of Biodiversity.
"NABU provides practical conservation on the ground and manages more than 5,000 protected areas in Germany." Mr Tschimpke appealed to the Federal Government to take more responsibility for agriculture, which was responsible for 11% of total greenhouse gas emissions in Germany.

Recently, NABU succeeded on lobbying the new Federal Government to implement a national programme and funds for better implementation of Germany's National Biodiversity Strategy. "NABU lobbies hard to ensure that Germany and Europe are forerunners in biodiversity and climate topics not only in words, but also in concrete action", says Claus Mayr - NABU's Director of European Affairs, working closely with the BirdLife European Division in Brussels.

NABU also works on joint-conservation projects outside of Germany. The NABU International Department is responsible for implementing projects in Africa, the Caucasus and Central Asia. Their international work ranges from species conservation, habitat protection, and establishment of protected areas, ecotourism and environmental education right through to capacity building, nature conservation as a means of crisis prevention, fighting poverty and the strengthening of civil society.
"This year we don't just celebrate NABU's 111th anniversary, but also the 40th anniversary of their 'Bird of the Year' campaign. Therefore I would like to wish them a Happy Double Birthday and many successful years ahead!" concluded Angelo Caserta, Regional Director of the BirdLife International European Division.

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New website for Canadian Important Bird Areas programme


BirdLife International's Canadian co-partners Bird Studies Canada and Nature Canada have launched a new website for the Canadian Important Bird Areas (IBA) Programme.
The main goals of the IBA Canada website here are to raise awareness of the IBA Programme, to share information about Canada’s IBAs, and to empower more Canadians to reconnect with nature as volunteers for the IBA Caretaker Network. The website offers refined mapping features and data management and analysis functions, including a search engine that enables users to identify bird populations, habitat types, and land use activities at Important Bird Areas across Canada.
"Bird Studies Canada is proud to be a partner in the IBA Programme, an important science-based tool for identifying conservation priorities, and fostering greater success in the conservation of bird populations", said Bird Studies Canada President Dr George Finney. "The new IBA Canada website will be an invaluable tool not only for researchers, but also for planners, environmental regulators, and anyone interested in protecting biodiversity."
The new tools featured on the IBA Canada website will help IBA partners and volunteers monitor birds and assess conditions at key sites, and evaluate the effectiveness of conservation activities at IBAs.
These tools will make the website particularly useful for members of the Canadian IBA Caretaker Network, a nationwide volunteer network of Citizen Scientists who watch over and protect IBAs in their communities. An IBA Caretaker is a person or group responsible for ensuring that changes within their local IBA, or threats to its ecological integrity, are properly documented – and, ideally, resolved. Caretaker activities can include collecting bird data; conducting site assessments; restoring habitat; raising awareness; and advocacy efforts.
"Caretakers are on the front lines of bird habitat protection, and their volunteerism at Important Bird Areas ensures that local conservation ideas are put into action", said Ian Davidson, Executive Director of Nature Canada. "I believe the IBA Canada website will be a valuable tool for Caretakers in the effort to safeguard Canadian IBAs."

The new IBA Canada website features many helpful tools to support IBA Caretakers, including the new Caretakers Online Community, a portal where Caretakers can connect with one another and access resources like manuals and outreach materials.

The IBA Canada website is available in both English and French.

BirdLife International's IBA Programme is an international conservation initiative that aims to identify, conserve, and monitor a worldwide network of sites that provide essential habitats for bird populations. IBAs are internationally agreed-upon sites that support threatened birds, large groups of birds, and birds restricted by range or habitat.
The Canadian IBA Programme is led jointly by Bird Studies Canada and Nature Canada, with critical support from a suite of regional organisations (including BC Nature, Federation of Alberta Naturalists, Nature Saskatchewan, and Nature Québec), and hundreds of volunteers nationwide. There are nearly 600 Canadian IBAs, many of which are not legally protected.
Funding for the new IBA Canada website was provided in part by a U.S. Neotropical Migratory Bird Conservation Act grant, and TransCanada Corporation (which has committed C$ 1 million over five years as a national sponsor of the Canadian IBA Caretaker Network).

Spring is coming!

Spring is coming!


BirdLife International has once again launched its annual Spring Alive campaign to celebrate the miracle of bird migration. Now in its fifth year, the campaign gets European children aged between 8 and 12 years old to send in their first sightings of four species of bird, White Stork Ciconia ciconia, Barn Swallow Hirundo rustica, Common Swift Apus apus and Common Cuckoo Cuculus canorus, via the Spring Alive website.
Last year the campaign collected nearly 94,000 observations and this year, for the first time, Spring Alive will also be collecting sightings in Africa.
“Following childrens’ sightings of these species from their non-breeding to their breeding grounds will highlight how they connect people, countries and continents”, said Magdalena Chrzanowska, the European Coordinator of Spring Alive.
“Through encouraging children, their parents and teachers to contribute to the campaign with their bird observations, we also want to focus attention on the declines of many of our most familiar species.”
Over 40% of long-distance migrants in the African-Eurasian flyway have shown signs of decline over the last three decades. Of these 10% are classified by BirdLife as Globally Threatened or Near Threatened. Many of these birds are continuing to disappear. The nature of the threats means that bird conservation can only be achieved by addressing the underlying causes of environmental degradation such as unsustainable agricultural and forestry policies, human dependency on fossil fuels, and poverty.

BirdLife International’s Flyways programme is extremely well placed to undertake action for migratory birds. BirdLife Partners operate in over one hundred countries and territories worldwide, and work together to raise awareness about migratory birds and implement conservation projects. International collaboration is the only way to conserve migratory birds as they pass along their flyways.

To take part in this year’s Spring Alive, all you need to do is to register your first sightings of any of the four species at Springalive

The Birder's Market | Resource | Bird news for Britain / Rest of the World | World Bird News | World Bird News 2010 |  World Bird News February 2010

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