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.

Monday 28 January 2013

Biologist says NMI has healthy bird population

THE commonwealth has a healthy bird population, but the help of the community is still needed to maintain it and help with reforestration efforts.

Shelly Kremer, a wildlife biologist at the CNMI Division of Fish and Wildlife, was yesterday’s guest speaker at the Rotary Club of Saipan meeting at the Hyatt.

She said Saipan, Tinian and Rota have more bird species compared to Guam and this helps in the reforestration process.

Kremer said birds help in reforestration as seeds that pass through the digestive tracts of birds have more of a chance to grow into trees.

Showing photos of houses and yards on island that were bare from lack of trees, Kremer said birds will not stay where there are no trees.

“Our birds are resilient, but they need our help,” Kremer said.

She is urging members of the community to do their landscaping with the wildlife in mind, making backyards and the general environment friendly for the birds.

Kremer said the CNMI has a lot of endemic bird species, or those not found anywhere else in the world: Rota White Eye, Mariana Crow, Tinian Monarch, Rufous Fantail, Golden White Eye, White-throated Ground Dove, Micronesia Megapode, Mariana Swiftlet, Saipan Bridled White-eye, Nightingale Reed Warbler and the Mariana Moorhen.

Kremer said among the birds that were introduced and are not native to the islands are the Black Drongo, Orange-Checked Waxbill, Island Collared Dove, and the Eurasian Tree Sparrow.

She urged the Rotarians to test their own backyards to check how bird-friendly they are. She said one will know how bird friendly one’s backyard is by the kind of birds that are found there.

“We are urging the community to plant more trees and keep the islands bird-friendly,” Kremer said.

In a Power Point presentation, she enumerated the functions and benefits of trees including water conservation, livelihood, food, beauty, medicines, shelter, oxygen, run-off reduction, carbon storage, noise barriers, flood prevention, paper production, wildlife, soil production, heat reduction, culture, water and air cleaning, fuel and erosion reduction.

Trees that are good for birds are gaogao or tiger claw, ahgoa or false elder, sumak, agatelang, lulujut, alum, aphoghating, nunu or banyan, papaya, guava, nanaso and manzanita.

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