Hope that Turkish bald ibis will provide a boost for Middle East population
August 2013. Following a successful breeding season for the semi-wild Northern Bald Ibis population at Birecik in Turkey, six of the birds were released as part of a trial re-introduction in late July.
A dedicated team first caught up all the birds for the annual ringing/check of the birds at the Birecik ‘Kelaynak' breeding station run by the Turkish Ministry of Nature Protection and National Parks, and six were selected for release in the hope that they would survive and migrate. Three were fitted with satellite transmitters, and to reduce the chance of persecution, their bright rings were replaced with much less conspicuous ones. Four of the birds were 2013 juveniles, and in addition, two one-year old birds were also released.
Migrated very close to Palmyra
For the first two weeks, the birds remained very close to the breeding station, feeding at a number of local sites in the area, as well as taking supplementary food provided. This week, however, excitement mounts as five of the birds have departed south, and the intriguing news is that they have stopped off very close to Palmyra in Syria, where the remaining wild population there has this year sadly declined to just one individual.
Whether the birds will stay in the area or continue their ‘migration' further south will be discovered from the satellite tags. The work was recommended as a priority at last year's inaugural meeting of the AEWA International Working Group for Northern Bald Ibis, held at Jazan in Saudi Arabia and by the International Advisory Group for Northern Bald Ibis. Several partners are involved in the work in addition to the Turkish Ministry, with satellite tags provided by Doğa Derneği (BirdLife in Turkey), with Prince Albert II of Monaco Foundation and RSPB (BirdLife in the UK) support.