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 12 June 2013

Sedgwick County Zoo part of project to save endangered birds

By Deb Gruver
The Wichita Eagle
Published Sunday, June 9, 2013, at 8:15 p.m.

Scott Newland, the Sedgwick County Zoo's curator of birds, recently returned from Guam for a conservation project. He's holding a Marianas fruit dove, an endangered bird that's been eradicated from some Pacific islands due to invasive species. (May 22, 2013)
Scott Newland, Sedgwick County Zoo's curator of birds, holds a Marianas fruit dove while doing fieldwork for the Mariana Avifauna Conservation Project.
Courtesy of Toledo Zoo

The Marianas fruit dove is one of the endangered birds being helped by the Mariana Avifauna Conservation Project.

It’s not every bird that gets to stay in a hotel suite on a tropical island.

But the birds of the Mariana Avifauna Conservation Project are not just any birds.

They’re critically endangered, and the Sedgwick County Zoo is helping to increase their numbers on the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, which are in the western Pacific Ocean between Hawaii and the Philippines.

The zoo’s curator of birds, Scott Newland, recently returned from field work on the islands as part of a project involving several zoos that are members of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums.

“It’s amazing,” he said of the field work. “You can see the immediate impact of the work we’re doing.”

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service began studying local birds on the islands in the 1990s.

“When they got done with their census work, they discovered that not every species of bird was on every island. There was no rhyme or reason,” Newland said.

The culprit turned out to be a brown tree snake introduced to the islands during World War II, when the military brought in equipment that had been stored in Australia and New Guinea.

“They think the snake was a stowaway,” Newland said. “The local population saw the birds were tanking.”

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