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, 27 December 2012

Bewick's swans: Baby boost for threatened birds


Northwest Europe's threatened Bewick's swan population has been boosted by a bumper year for chicks.

Numbers of the bird have declined dramatically since the 1990s.

Up to 7,000 Bewick's swans usually migrate to the UK, arriving in October and flying back to Russia in March.

But surveys this year show the number of young among these wintering flocks has risen to 17.6%, compared to an average of around 10% over the past 10 years.

Ornithologists have reported an overall average of 14% young swans in flocks across northern Europe, the highest since 2001.

"It really is fantastic to see so many cygnets arriving back. They have certainly been few and far between in recent years," said Julia Newth from the Wildfowl and Wetlands trust (WWT).

Bewick's swans travel 2,500 miles (4,000km) from their breeding grounds within the Arctic tundra in Russia to spend the winter in the warmer British Isles and other parts of northern Europe, such as the Netherlands and Germany.

The smallest swan in Europe, Bewick's swans are distinguishable from fellow migrant whooper swans by their size and small yellow blob on their black beaks, rather than the whooper's yellow wedge.

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