World Bird News May 2016

The Birder's Market | Resource | Bird news for Britain / Rest of the World | World Bird News | World Bird News 2016 |  World Bird News May 2016

Shock and… understand: a strategy to end the Illegal Killing of Birds

Exhausted migratory birds are trapped in glue, in agony from thirst and exhaustion. Squeezed to death, tangled in fine nets, millions are massacred this way every year before they can reach their breeding grounds. In an Egyptian market, ducks and orioles with broken wings are carried on a merchant’s back alive before being killed by knife. Countless raptors and other migratory birds like Turtle Doves await their fate in cages. Many of you will have seen our graphic video of illegal bird killing practices in the Mediterranean (it reached over 3 million people in three days).



However hard it is to show or watch though, we feel it had to be done.

Not because we think that you can simply shock governments or people into change. Conservation work requires a lot more than that. What about, for example, the livelihoods of the people that may depend on illegal hunting and trapping? They have mouths to feed too.

Conservation requires, first and foremost, understanding. In this particular case it does require the understanding of the socio-economic-institutional drivers of illegal hunting and trapping. With an estimated 6 million birds killed and trapped illegally every year, Egypt is one of the most dangerous places for migratory birds in the Mediterranean, with Italy and Lebanon. Why? To answer the question, together with the video, we have also released a new study that offers shocking findings.

Blue-eyed Ground-Dove rediscovered in Brazil after 75 year disappearance

Blue-eyed Ground-Dove rediscovered in Brazil after 75 year disappearance

The blue eyes of an extremely rare bird hadn’t been seen for nearly a century. In one of the most extraordinary stories in Brazilian conservation, a group of researchers have announced the comeback of the Blue-eyed Ground-dove. Last documented in 1941, it was believed extinct. But now the species has been found at top-secret locations in the Brazilian state of Minas Gerais. However researchers can only confirm sightings of 12 individuals, so securing its habitat will be the key to conserving this elusive bird.

Imagine the buzz in the crowd last weekend at the Brazilian Birdwatching Festival when ornithologist Rafael Bessa unveiled his rediscovery. The highly-anticipated talk was named ‘Species X’ and for the first time in history, this bird’s song was played to the public. Previously known from a handful of stuffed and ageing museum specimens and some more recent unsubstantiated reports, Bessa brought the Blue-eyed Ground Dove Columbina cyanopis back to life.

“When he played the video there was a commotion in the crowd and non-stop applause,” said Pedro Develey, SAVE Brasil (BirdLife in Brazil). “It was pure emotion.”

For the last few months the group of researchers - supported by SAVE Brasil, Rainforest Trust, and Butantan Bird Observatory – have been working in secret to scientifically report the rediscovery, and to simultaneously develop a conservation plan that secures the Critically Endangered bird’s long-term survival.

Describing the rediscovery, Bessa told Estadão:

“I returned to the place and I could recreate this vocalization with my microphone. I reproduced the sound and the bird landed on a flowering bush, coming towards me. I photographed the animal, and when I looked at the picture carefully, I saw that I had recorded something unusual. My legs started shaking.”
The Blue-eyed Ground-Dove occurs exclusively in Brazil and is threatened by the destruction of the Brazilian Cerrado, a savannah-like habitat. The jubilation of rediscovery quickly turned to sobering thoughts of acting fast to save the 12-or-more birds.

“We are now worried about the conservation of the species”, explained Rafael Bessa. “We are working on several fronts to build this plan. The main action is to ensure that the area where it was found becomes a protected area, which would benefit not only the Blue-eyed Ground-Dove, but many other threatened species occurring there.”

With cobalt-blue eyes and dark blue spots on its wings that standout against its overall reddish-chestnut plumage, it’s hard to believe such an eye-catching bird went unnoticed for so long. But rapid rates of habitat loss in the region mean that many more species could be heading to extinction unseen.

“Increasing the knowledge on Brazilian biodiversity is the first step to ensure its conservation“, said Luciano Lima, Instituto Butantan. “And, by doing so, we contribute to a better quality of life and health for all species, including our own.”

Right after first spotting the bird, in July 2015, the ornithologist Rafael Bessa contacted Lima, from Instituto Butantan. With the support from the Institute and SAVE Brasil, they started studying the species. A research group was formed also including ornithologists Wagner Nogueira, Marco Rego and Glaucia Del Rio, the latter two from Louisiana State University (USA).

The exact location where the species was found, nor the bird’s song, will not be released by the researchers, until they conclude the conservation plan and implement the proposed measures.

Within the conservation plan, the researchers are undertaking studies on the biology of the species, especially on behavior, breeding biology and feeding. They are also venturing to places with geographic and environmental features similar to the site of the original rediscovery, aiming to find additional populations. The search areas are identified through satellite imagery as well as a technique called Ecological Niche Modelling: based on several environmental features of the sites where the species occur, specific software uses mathematical models to predict areas potentially suitable to the species.

“So far we have visited many areas in three states, but the species was located only in two sites close together, both in the state of Minas Gerais, which reinforces the need for urgent action to guarantee its survival”, warned the ornithologist Wagner Nogueira.

The Blue-eyed Ground-dove seems to have a specific habitat that could be as Critically Endangered as the bird itself. Let the orange-red of the birds feathers be a colour warning to potential new infrastructure projects in the region – even a small project could wipe out this entire species.

Now brought to life publically again, only time will tell how SAVE Brasil and the research team can help further the life of this species.

Your chance to save Species X: become a Species Champion for the Blue-eyed Ground-Dove by writing to species.champions@birdlife.org. Find out more about BirdLife's Preventing Extinctions Programme.

New study confirms EU nature laws’ effectiveness

A new research paper, just published in the journal Conservation Letters by scientists at the RSPB (BirdLife in the UK) Centre for Conservation Science, is the latest in a line of scientific evidence that proves the EU Nature Directives – the Union’s core nature laws – are vital to the EU’s ability to protect its wildlife and meet its international biodiversity obligations.

Despite the abundance of proof and overwhelming endorsement of the Nature Directives by Member States in the European Council, by the European Parliament, and by more than half a million citizens who spoke up for nature, the European Commission has been delaying releasing the results of a ‘fitness check’ of the nature laws. The European Commission perhaps hoped to create a loophole for watering down the EU Nature Directives and allow for their weakening, rather than endorsing the laws as ‘fit for purpose’, strengthening their implementation and improving their funding (which is what governments, businesses, citizens and scientists have asked for).

The paper builds on existing scientific evidence supporting the Directives and for the first time reveals how they complement and directly contribute to achieving the EU’s obligations under the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) and other Multilateral Environmental Agreements (MEAs).

For example, 92% of the EU’s Important Bird and Biodiversity Areas (IBAs) are partly or wholly covered by the Natura 2000 network of protected areas, created by the Nature Directives. But the impact of the nature laws extends beyond just wildlife conservation and is felt directly by people as well. Sixty-five percent of EU citizens live within 5 km of a Natura 2000 site, and 98% within 20 km; these sites are likely to raise necessary awareness of biodiversity and to deliver ecosystem services (such as access to clean water and protection from floods) to a high proportion of the EU’s population.

The research also confirms that the Nature Directives help mitigate climate change by acting as carbon sinks. Estimated below and above ground carbon stocks per unit area in Natura 2000 sites are 43% higher than the average across the rest of the EU.

Birdlife repeatedly provide new scientific evidence to the European Commission that the Nature Directives are ‘fit for purpose’ and ready for full implementation,” Ariel Brunner, senior head of policy at BirdLife Europe, said. “This new study by the RSPB confirms that with fully implemented Nature Directives, EU Member States will be able to meet their international biodiversity obligations… what is the Commission waiting for?”

One more in a cage; no more in the wild

A new study shows that, without action, soon the only places to see and hear Indonesian bird species will be in cages.

Keeping birds as pets is an integral part of Indonesia’s national culture. From town to village throughout the archipelago, you’re very likely to find caged birds in restaurants, shops and homes. But as with many things, when a trend becomes popular, it can get out of hand. Beneath the sweet sound of a restaurant songbird or the colourful feathers of the family prized-and-caged-possession, a chaotic demand for pets is decimating Indonesian bird populations.

The work showed that 13 bird species found in Sundaic Indonesia are at serious risk of extinction. Surely holding the status of Indonesia’s national bird would render the Javan Hawk-eagle Nisaetus bartelsi immune to wanton over-harvesting? No, even this incredible species is rapidly disappearing.

The study, which is co-authored by BirdLife’s Research Fellow Dr Nigel Collar, also found that an additional 14 bird subspecies are in danger of extinction.

Besides the Javan Hawk-eagle, the other full species at risk include the Silvery Woodpigeon Columba argentina, Helmeted Hornbill Rhinoplax vigil, Yellow-crested Cockatoo Cacatua sulphurea, Scarlet-breasted Lorikeet Trichoglossus forsteni, Javan Green Magpie Cissa thalassina, Black-winged Myna Acridotheres melanopterus, Bali Myna Leucopsar rothschildi, Straw-headed Bulbul Pycnonotus zeylanicus, Javan White-eye Zosterops flavus, Rufous-fronted Laughingthrush Garrulax rufifrons, Sumatran Laughingthrush Garrulax bicolor and Java Sparrow Padda oryzivora.

Although most of them are kept as pets, the Helmeted Hornbill is an exception: thousands of these birds are being illegally killed and traded for their unique solid bill casques, carved as a substitute for elephant ivory, to meet demand in China.

The Javan Green Magpie was recognised as a full species as recently as 2013; it was simultaneously documented as being in grave danger of extinction owing to trade pressure. In direct response, the Threatened Asian Songbird Alliance (TASA), operating as a formal body of the European Association of Zoos and Aquaria (EAZA), initiated a programme of captive breeding in a number of zoos, creating assurance colonies for security and propagation purposes.

Such conservation breeding is the last hope for some of the taxa affected. According to the study: “Regrettably five subspecies…are probably already extinct, at least in the wild, due primarily to trade.” They include one subspecies of a parrot (Scarlet-breasted Lorikeet), three subspecies of the accomplished songster White-rumped Shama Copsychus malabaricus and one subspecies of the Hill Myna Gracula religiosa, popular because of its ability to mimic human voices.

“Whether it’s species or subspecies, the message is the same: excessive trade is wiping out Indonesia’s wild bird species at an alarming rate”, said Dr Chris Shepherd, TRAFFIC’s Director for Southeast Asia and a co-author of the study. “Despite the alarming scale and consequences of the bird trade, governments and even conservation organisations often don't view this issue as a high priority. This hampers efforts to prevent further losses.”

“Despite the alarming scale and consequences of the bird trade, governments and even conservation organisations often don't view this issue as a high priority. This hampers efforts to prevent further losses.”

The solutions to the bird trade crisis in Indonesia lie in a combination of better law enforcement, public awareness campaigns, in situ management, conservation breeding, conversion of trappers to wardens and field, market and genetic surveys, say the study’s authors.

Meanwhile as certain favoured species disappear because of trapping, others are targeted as “next-best” substitutes, while commercial breeders sometimes hybridise taxa for “better” effects, leading to further conservation complexities.

The study’s authors also consider whether commercial breeding could help alleviate the situation, but conclude that “while attractive in theory, [commercial breeding] presents difficulties that are probably insurmountable in practice.”

The Birder's Market | Resource | Bird news for Britain / Rest of the World | World Bird News | World Bird News 2016 |  World Bird News May 2016

add this

RSPB

RSPB GIFT MEMBERSHIP

RSPB GIFT MEMBERSHIP


celestron
Foto

Foto

Today' Best Deals
Lizard Bird Diary

Lizard Bird Diary

d






Compact Mini Rubber 8 x 21 Kids Binoculars

BTO

abebooks

Rare & Collectible Books at AbeBooks.com

Valid CSS!