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.

Tuesday, 23 February 2016

Pesticides poisoning birds in the Balkans

By Marko Tucakov, Thu, 11/02/2016 - 16:35

You may think that bird species of the Least [conservation] Concern on the European Red List of Birds are not threatened because of the name of the category they are in. However, this doesn’t mean they don’t face serious, often man-made threats to their survival that must be addressed.

The White-tailed Eagle is one such bird. Native to Serbia and its neighbouring East European and Central Asian countries, the Serbian population of the species has been growing: it reached 125 pairs in 2016. The annual growth rate of the species is about 50 birds across Serbia, only five of which reach sexual maturity and reproduce in monogamous couples, according to Serbian researchers. So losing even one bird is a big loss.

Since 2009, 33 White-tailed Eagle carcasses have been found in Serbia. The culprit? In a majority of the cases: pesticide poisoning.

Poison problems
The bodies of most poisoned White-tailed Eagles and other affected species such as theCommon RavenCommon Eurasian Buzzard and Black-billed Magpie were found close to poisoned baits (mainly cattle carcasses intended for predators like Golden Jackals and Red Foxes).

The majority of the cases was recorded around Gornje Podunavlje and Karađorđevo, two nature reserves in the northwest that host a large concentration of White-tailed Eagles – almost 30 breeding pairs and more than 100 individuals in the winter.   

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