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.

Thursday 4 May 2017

Albatrosses counted from space

By Jonathan Amos BBC Science Correspondent

Scientists have started counting individual birds from space.

They are using the highest-resolution satellite images available to gauge the numbers of Northern Royal albatrosses.

This endangered animal nests almost exclusively on some rocky sea-stacks close to New Zealand’s Chatham Islands.

The audit, led by experts at the British Antarctic Survey, represents the first time any species on Earth has had its entire global population assessed from orbit.

The scientists report the satellite technique in Ibis, a journal of the British Ornithologists' Union.

It is likely to have a major impact on efforts to conserve the Northern Royals (Diomedea sanfordi).

Ordinarily, these birds are very difficult to appraise because their nesting sites are so inaccessible.

Not only are the sea-stacks far from NZ (680km), but their vertical cliffs mean that any visiting scientist might also have to be adept at rock climbing.


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