As regular CFZ-watchers will know, for some time Corinna has been doing a column for Animals & Men and a regular segment on On The Track... particularly about out-of-place birds and rare vagrants. There seem to be more and more bird stories from all over the world hitting the news these days so, to make room for them all - and to give them all equal and worthy coverage - she has set up this new blog to cover all things feathery and Fortean.

Thursday, 18 January 2018

Southwestern willow flycatcher keeps 'endangered' status

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife service announced the southwestern willow flycatcher would keep its protection under the Endangered Species Act.
Posted Friday, January 5, 2018 6:00 am
By Cody Hooks

Ranching organizations in New Mexico that asked the federal government to remove a small bird from its list of endangered speeches received some disappointing news last week.

On Thursday (Dec. 28), the U.S. Fish and Wildlife service announced the southwestern willow flycatcher would keep its protection under the Endangered Species Act.

The New Mexico Cattle Growers Association, New Mexico Farm and Livestock Bureau and New Mexico Wool Growers Inc. filed a petition in 2015 to have the bird removed from the federal list of at-risk species. The New Mexico organizations were joined by a building industry organization in California and represented by the Pacific Legal Foundation, a conservative law firm that has also litigated to overturn jaguar habitat designations in Southern New Mexico.

The groups challenged that the southwestern willow flycatcher is not a valid subspecies and argued that the bird no longer faced a variety of threats that put it on the endangered  list.
"An exhaustive review of the best available scientific information... led to the conclusion that the southwestern willow flycatcher is a subspecies protectable under the [Endangered Species Act]," according to the Thursday press release from the wildlife agency.

While some populations of the bird have made progress toward recovery, the bird and its habitat "are experiencing substantial threats."

'Extremely rare' bird of prey Teala is stolen from falconer's garden

'The bird’s quite aggressive so it has to be someone with experience of handling birds of prey'

18:19, 5 JAN 2018

An ‘extremely rare’ bird has been stolen from the garden of a keen falconry expert who has been working with birds of prey for 30 years.

Believed to be one of only around 20 in the UK, three-year-old Teala was taken from her home in Newthorpe yesterday afternoon, Thursday, January 4.

She is a cross between a Harris hawk and a red-tail hawk, and had been taken out of her shed to get some sunlight before her owner, Jamie Alexander, took her for her daily flight.

He went back inside the shed just 20 yards away, and moments later she was taken, along with the perch she was tied to.

Perth Zoo using National Bird Day to educate people about plight of black cockatoos

January 5th, 2018, 01:30PMWritten by Aaron Corlett Southern Gazette

PERTH Zoo is doing what it can to educate the public about the plight of black cockatoos.

Two of the hand-raised birds at the zoo who are used for educational purposes are Vic the Forest Red-tailed Black Cockatoo and Pepe the Baudin’s Cockatoo.

Speaking during National Bird Day on January 5, keeper Emily Trainer said Vic and Pepe were ambassador birds who gave the public the chance to learn about the species.

“We have school groups that come in to learn about black cockatoos with Vic and Pepe, they fly around and have health checks too,” she said.

“The zoo is hoping to spread the message that these birds are endangered and for more people to learn about them.”

Ms Trainer said the zoo had been running operative conditioning work to keep them mentally and physically healthy.

Snatched by hungry eagle, little dog lives to bark the tale


Jan 4, 2018, 8:30 AM ET

The Associated Press

In this photo provided by Jessica Hartman, Monica Newhard, right, and her granddaughter, Helen Welch, hold their pet bichon frise, Zoey, as the dog’s rescuer, Christina Hartman, stands behind them, Wednesday, Jan. 3, 2018, in Palmerton, Pa. Newhard’s brother says an eagle snatched Zoey from the yard. (Jessica Hartman via AP)

Felipe Rodriguez says he thought he was hallucinating when an eagle snatched his sister's little white dog from her yard, flapped its massive wings and disappeared over the trees.
Did he really just see that?

He had. Zoey the 8-pound Bichon Frise was gone, taken by a hungry raptor Tuesday afternoon not 50 feet from his sister's house on the banks of the Lehigh River in Pennsylvania, Rodriguez said.

"It seemed like something from the 'Wizard of Oz,'" he told The Associated Press on Wednesday. "I'm a city boy. This doesn't happen in my world."

Even more astonishing: Zoey would live to bark the tale.

More on that later. But first, let it be said that eagles are quite capable of taking a small dog or a cat.

"It has been documented before, but not that often," said Laurie Goodrich, a biologist at nearby Hawk Mountain Sanctuary, a ridgetop preserve that annually records tens of thousands of migrating hawks, eagles and falcons.

"Food is scarce right now, particularly with this cold snap," she said. "The waterways are freezing up. They're going to be looking a little more widely and taking advantage of whatever might be out there."

New bird discovered in Sydney Botanic Garden

JANUARY 4 2018

Charles Goodsir

An unusual species of bird has been discovered in the Royal Botanic Garden in Sydney. Staff and members of the public were quick to point out the rare pied currawong due to its pale "washed-out appearance".

Pied currawongs are found throughout eastern Australia and are often mistaken for a common magpie due to their jet black feathers and white undertail. Although the bird thrives in open woodlands, the species have adapted to live in urban areas. 

At first, the Royal Botanic Garden had trouble identifying the bird, thinking it may have been "an albino crow". Wildlife expert Dr John Martin concluded that the pied currawong was suffering from leucism. 

Leucism is a rare genetic condition that reduces the skin pigments in animals, which causes the skin to appear white. However, Dr Martin said, leucism is different to albinism. 

Concern Over Bird Netting in Scarborough

6:03am 3rd January 2018

Concerns about about anti-bird netting in Scarborough have been raised after a number of endangered Kittiwakes were spotted dead in netting on the Grand Hotel.

Photos on social media show the birds trapped in the netting.
Shame to see dead Kittiwakes caught in anti-bird netting on @BritanniaLtd's Grand Hotel, Scarborough. @northyorkscc@TheScarboroNews @RSPBNews @Bempton_Cliffs

The Kittiwake is described on the RSPB website as gentle looking, medium-sized gulls with a small yellow bill and a dark eye. They have a grey back with white underneath. Their legs are short and black. In flight the black wing-tips show no white, unlike other gulls, and look as if they have been 'dipped in ink'. The population is declining in some areas, perhaps due to a shortage of sandeels. After breeding birds move out into the Atlantic where they spend the winter.

The birds are on the  red list of endangered species with populations though to have declined by 40% since 1970 leaving just 300,000 breading pairs.

In a statement the  RSPB said.

We understand that netting is sometimes used to prevent kittiwakes from nesting on buildings. However, it vital that this is installed correctly and maintained regularly to ensure that it acts as a bird deterrent rather than a death trap.

It is upsetting to see kittiwakes have died in this way especially as they are a nationally declining bird and are of serious conservation concern. We will be contacting The Grand Hotel to request that the netting is repaired immediately so no more birds will
die needlessly.

Wednesday, 17 January 2018

This bird is as threatened as the black robin, but few New Zealanders know it

The orange-fronted parakeet is classified as nationally critical. Between 150 and 200 breeding adults remain.

They're as threatened as the black robin, and more at risk of extinction than any kiwi – but very few people know what the orange-fronted parakeet is. GED CANN looks at this forgotten species.

Once upon a time they were so numerous their feathers would be used to stuff pillows, and residents would shoot them off the roof of Canterbury Museum. Now there are only 150-200 adult orange-fronted parakeet left.

The beech masts which once fuelled this boom-and-bust species now encourage the rats and stoats that prey on them, which has led to DOC's prediction that the population will decline by up to 70 per cent within 10 years, or three generations, whichever is longest.