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.

Wednesday, 25 April 2018


The short-tailed Javan green magpie is one of the world’s rarest


Prague is known for its puppets, and many people who live here get a bit jaded at seeing them all the time. But the puppets are doing some good. Prague Zoo is using a hand puppet to help save the short-tailed Javan green magpie, one of the rarest and most critically endangered birds in the world.

The brightly colored bird is a member of the Corvus family, which includes crows, ravens, rooks, jackdaws, jays, treepies, choughs, and nutcrackers.

"In the Corvus birds, including magpies, there is so-called imprinting. Artificial breeding would imprint a person’s traits on a juvenile bird and it would be lost for the next breeding,” Prague Zoo bird breeder Antonín Vaidl said in a press release. "When using a puppet to imitate an adult bird, there is no such impression [of a person], and it can be bred with the right habits.”

The hand puppet does not have to be a faithful copy of an adult magpie, but it must have the key signs the youngsters react to such as a distinct red beak and black eyes on a bright green background.

The Javan green magpie was hatched in an incubator last month and is being kept in a special box. The magpies that laid the egg had already thrown one egg out of their nest, so zookeepers decided to take the other and hatch it artificially, as each birth helps to protect the species.

Conservationists Begin Study to Analyze Vocalizations of ‘Alalā

By Big Island Now
April 18, 2018, 10:26 AM HST (Updated April 18, 2018, 10:27 AM) 

The Hawai‘i Department of Land and Resources reports that the eleven young ‘Alalā living in the Pu‘u Maka‘ala Natural Area Reserve on the Island of Hawai‘i continue to thrive, showing increased natural behaviors, foraging on native plants, and even challenging the occasional ‘Io, or Hawaiian Hawk.

Conservationists are cautiously optimistic about the birds’ continued success in native habitats and are working together with researchers at the University of Hawai‘i at Hilo to analyze vocalizations of these rare birds.  Foraging and other social behaviors are also being studied to determine if historically seen activities are increasing now that the group has access to the surroundings in which they evolved.

“When the only existing ‘Alalā were living in the protected aviaries at the Keauhou Bird Conservation Center, we saw fewer types of alarm and territory calls in the population and the frequency of alarm calls was greatly reduced.” said Alison Greggor, Postdoctoral Associate, San Diego Zoo Global.

“We are beginning to observe behaviors that appear to be responsive to the changes and threats available in natural habitat and we are working on evaluating this scientifically to see if the birds’ rich behavioral repertoire is being recovered now that they have been reintroduced into the forest.” said Joshua Pang-Ching, Research Coordinator of the San Diego Zoo Global’s Hawai‘i Endangered Bird Conservation Program. Some of these behaviors include foraging on native fruits, searching for insects within bark of native trees, and interacting with ʻIo,  which is their natural predator.

Taranaki's kōkako population continues to grow

Taranaki's kōkako population is slowing climbing, with four more of the endangered birds making the region home over the past week.

Released into the Parininihi Forest, near Urenui, the new residents are a part of a catch and release operation in which 20 kōkako will be taken from the Rangitoto Ranges, on the northern edge of Pureora Forest Park, King Country, and relocated to the area this month.

Leading the efforts, Tiaki te Mauri o Parininihi Trust, responsible for bringing the rare bird back to rural Taranaki after a near 20-year absence, hopes to one day have 500 kōkako living at Parininihi.

And according to trust chair Davis McClutchie, they are well on their way.

Eighteen years after the last kokako, named Tamanui, was moved from Parininihi to a captive breeding programme run by the Department of Conservation (DOC), 12 of his descendants were brought to the national forest in May last year.

Davis said the additional 20 kōkako marked an important milestone for the Ngāti Tama-led trust and are critical in building a genetically healthy and robust kōkako population.

But he said the programme was bigger than just Parininihi.

 "As we strengthen and expand our pest control work and increase native populations, biodiversity corridors can be created connecting our work to other projects", Davis said.
Volunteer Phil Andrews, of Shell Taranaki, will be on the ground helping with the catching this week. 


New potential mate for Cairngorms osprey EJ

10 April 2018

The most successful breeding female osprey at an RSPB Scotland reserve has been seen with a new potential mate.

Known as EJ, the female returned to the RSPB's Loch Garten reserve in the Cairngorms for her 15th breeding season after migrating from west Africa.

But Odin, her partner of nine years, has not returned after disappearing mid-season last year.
Reserve staff have been blogging about a new male bird seen with EJ at her nest.

EJ returned to the nest last month and has been defending the site against rival birds.

Take a gander: Dutch drivers warned over boom in geese population

Hundreds of geese spotted in grasslands around roads in east Netherlands, with some birds swooping into paths of vehicles

Daniel Boffey in Brussels
Wed 18 Apr 2018 15.09 BSTLast modified on Wed 18 Apr 2018 17.57 BST

The emergence of the Netherlands as the most popular place in Europe for geese has prompted an urgent call for Dutch drivers to watch out for hundreds of birds breeding on the grassy junctions and motorways verges.

More than 500,000 geese are in the country in the warmer months, and 2.5 million overwinter there, amounting to a 95% increase on the numbers counted in the 1960s.

The Netherlands’ intensive farming and temperate climate make it the best country for geese in Europe, according to the Sovon Dutch centre for field ornithology, the organisation responsible for surveying bird populations.

The population boom, however, is not without problems. Roadside grasslands are particularly attractive to breeding birds because of their the abundance of clover leaves and protection from predators.

Hundreds of geese have been spotted off roads in Gelderland in the east of the country and elsewhere. Others have been swooping down into the paths of cars and lorries, presumably seeking to protect their offspring. A stretch of road in the town of Opheusden, in Gelderland, reported four collisions in a week.

Monday, 23 April 2018

PICTURES: RSPB warns against feeding red kites after toddlers Giulia and Luca Viarnaud, from Marlow, attacked in Higginson Park

10th April

People are being warned not to feed red kites after two toddlers were left with cuts when a bird swooped in and tried to snatch their sandwiches at a park in Marlow.

Giulia and Luca Viarnaud, aged five and three respectively, were enjoying their lunch in Higginson Park with mum Emily when the bird of prey dived at the children and tried to steal their sandwiches.

It went to Giulia first and, when it was unsuccessful, pounced on Luca’s lunch, managing to take it away.

Emily said her daughter was left with a scratch to her head as a result and she is now worried about letting her children play outside

Police appeal for information on missing satellite-tagged sea eagle in Perthshire

POLICE yesterday appealed for information after a young satellite-tagged white tailed eagle vanished in suspicious circumstances in Perthshire.

PUBLISHED: 22:19, Wed, Apr 18, 2018 | UPDATED: 22:34, Wed, Apr 18, 2018

The sea eagles transmitting tag stopped working last month

The female, named Blue X, was the offspring of the first breeding pair of sea eagles reintroduced to Scotland’s east coast as part of the scheme to re-establish the majestic birds after they were wiped out a century ago.

It fledged from a nest in Tentsmuir Forest, Fife, in July 2017, but its tag suddenly stopped transmitting last month in Glen Quaich, south of Aberfeldy.

Police and RSPB Scotland, along with gamekeepers from surrounding estates, launched a search for the missing raptor and its tag, but neither has been found.

A Police Scotland spokeswoman said: “A joint search took place following the RSPB report that the bird was missing but no trace was found and the disappearance of this bird remains unexplained.

“Police Scotland appeals for anyone who may have information about the disappearance of this bird to call 101 or Crimestoppers.”