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.

Sunday, 22 January 2017

The Montserrat Oriole is no longer Critically Endangered


Icterus oberi.jpgBy Shaun Hurrell & Sarah Havery, 20 Jan 2017

This article was first published in the December issue of BirdLife The Magazine. Subscribe via iTunes/Android to easily support our conservation work.

With two thirds of its suitable forest habitat completely destroyed, the population of Montserrat Oriole Icterus oberi dramatically declined after a series of volcanic eruptions during the late 1990s, and suffered from the impact of invasive species. Here's how RSPB (BirdLife in the UK) and partners turned things around.

Found on the southern part the UK Overseas Territory of Montserrat Island in the Caribbean, the Soufrière Hills volcano is one that is certainly not extinct. Many cannot forget the vicious phreatic eruptions that started in 1995: smoke, steam and lava bellowed out of the tiny Lesser Antillean island, wiping out villages, destroying much of the island’s lush forest and gradually burying the capital city, Plymouth, under mudflows.

Years after the tragedy, the island’s 5,000 inhabitants became accustomed to the smell of sulphur as they continued their lives beyond the “exclusion zone” of relative safety. But with two thirds of its suitable forest habitat completely destroyed, the population of Montserrat Oriole dramatically declined. Regular ash fall and subsequent dry years then reduced this endemic bird’s survival and productivity.

Continued

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