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, 30 January 2017

RSPB tags rare geese at Ynyshir reserve due to decline

By Steffan Messenger BBC Wales Environment Correspondent
16 January 2017

Electronic tags have been fitted to one of Europe's rarest birds to understand its dramatic decline at a Powys reserve.

The RSPB estimates the population of Greenland white-fronted geese at Ynyshir has fallen by 83% since 1990.

The research project is being funded by Welsh Government.

It comes after a decision by ministers in August not to implement an outright ban on shooting the rare birds caused controversy.

Their movements will be monitored in real time, helping the charity and other partners to understand their needs and put conservation measures in place.

It is hoped the scheme will contribute towards international efforts to boost numbers of the threatened species.

The global population of Greenland white-fronted geese is estimated to be 18,879 - the lowest recorded since spring 1985 - and a marked decline on the last estimate of 20,797 in spring 2014. 

The birds, which breed in Greenland, migrate in spring and autumn through south and west Iceland to wintering grounds in the British Isles.

The majority head for Ireland and western Scotland.

Red kites are believed to be breeding in Kent again after 150 years

By jane_bakowski  |  Posted: January 15, 2017

Strong signs that red kites, which died out in England almost 150 years ago, are breeding in Kent have been welcomed by the RSPB.

Reports of sightings of the dazzling bird, unmistakeable with its forked tail and angled red wings tipped with black, are pouring in from all over the county . Although unable to confirm that there are breeding sites in Kent, spokesman Tim Webb said: "The county does have the right habitats and conditions so it's amazing the birds haven't spread sooner from their stronghold in the Chilterns."

Hunted down as "vermin" for many years, red kites were declared extinct in England in 1871. A few survived in remote parts of Wales, but even by the 1960s, by now protected, numbers were tiny.

Since being re-introduced to various parts of the UK, however, red kites have begun to thrive. No longer on the endangered species list, the large, graceful birds of prey are frequently spotted soaring above the M4 motorway. They are also often seen in the Midlands and North. However it has taken them some years to reach Kent, which is why birdwatchers are so excited.

"I saw one above my house in Paddock Wood the other day," said gardener Trevor Davies. "It was a wonderful sight, it is s

Sunday, 29 January 2017

Saving Hawaii's endangered birds

Thursday, January 19th 2017, 7:57 pm GMT
Thursday, January 19th 2017, 7:57 pm GMT

By Grace Lee, Sunrise Anchor

There is an effort to save some of Hawaii's endangered birds. Leading the charge is Doctor Lisa Crampton who is Project leader for the Kauai Forest Bird Recovery Project. She appeared on Sunrise to talk about the upcoming documentary that will air on KFVE on January 21, 2017 at 6:30pm and then again on January 22, 2017 at 9:30pm. Here is the press release from the Department of Land and Natural Resources:

People and Passion Combine to Prevent Species Extinction
(Honolulu) – The latest DLNR & You television special, The Endangered Forest Birds of Hawai‘i, documents the efforts of dozens of organizations and hundreds of people across the state to halt the extinction of critically endangered forest birds.

DLNR Chair Suzanne Case said, “We hope this show brings the serious plights of these native birds into our homes.  When you see a tiny ‘Akikiki (Kaua‘i honeycreeper) in the forest or hear the call of the native crow, the ‘Alala, it reinforces why so many people are undertaking some pretty extraordinary steps to reverse the downward trend of numerous forest bird populations.  The birds have long been part of Hawai‘i’s natural landscape, and culturally they’ve been revered for centuries by Native Hawaiians.”

Photographed over the course of nearly two years, “The Endangered Forest Birds of Hawai‘i, transports you deep into the Alaka’i Plateau on Kaua‘i, where the Kaua‘i Forest Bird Recovery Project (KFBRP) is working with numerous partners to try and save three endangered species of tiny birds on the brink of extinction (‘Akikiki, ‘Akeke’e, and Puaiohi). Dr. Lisa “Cali” Crampton, the KFBRP Project Leader commented, “The most recent estimate for the number of ‘Akikiki is 450 birds, give or take fifty.  The worst thing that could happen is for any of these forest birds to join the list of twenty-three endemic bird species that have gone extinct since 1778. All of our partners and everyone working to reverse these trends are excited to show viewers around Hawai‘i some pretty astonishing projects underway to save these amazing forest dwellers and their native homes.”

The show chronicles some of these remarkable projects and the people working in some really tough environments, toward the common goal of preventing further population reductions and ultimately extinction.  In one segment you can watch as a staffer from San Diego Zoo Global climbs a freely suspended ladder, 40-feet in the air, to collect marble-sized eggs from a treetop nest in an ?ohi?a tree. Another segment is dedicated to “The ‘Alala Project,” which for several decades has worked tirelessly toward the reintroduction of captive-raised ‘Alala, back into the Pu’u Maka?ala Natural Area Reserve on Hawai‘i Island. You’ll see, first-hand, the tremendous amount of work being done by a broad collaboration of federal, state and non-profit partners to be sure the birds continue to exist and thrive in their natural habitats.