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 31 May 2015

Gelderland uses ‘neck breaker’ to kill geese at €13.50 a bird

Society May 29, 2015 

Gelderland provincial council has given a €22,000 contract to a small pest control company to kill 1,600 geese using a controversial method of breaking the birds’ necks. Despite the cost of €13.75 per bird, no-one has seen if or how the method works and the province does not plan to check up on the work or animal welfare issues, the AD reports. The contract has been awarded to a company named V&T, based in Leerdam but details about how the neck breaker will work are sketchy. The method, known as cervical dislocation, involves snapping the birds’ necks one by one. According to the local broadcaster Omroep Gelderland, the bird’s neck is placed between two blocks and then broken, resulting in a ‘stress-free and painless death’.

Read more at Gelderland uses ‘neck breaker’ to kill geese at €13.50 a bird 

American Bird Conservancy: Hundreds of thousands of birds could be collateral damage of bigger wind turbines

Posted: Saturday, May 30, 2015 12:15 am

BY MICHAEL PARR | 2 comments

When the Department of Energy released a report last week championing the construction of larger, more-powerful wind turbines, the wind industry unsurprisingly greeted the news with enthusiasm.

By extending the “hub-height” of turbines up to 360 feet, the chief executive of the American Wind Energy Association said, wind energy could expand to all 50 states.

Less ardent was the association’s response to well-documented concerns over the half-million birds that die each year from collisions with existing turbines: Some migrating birds, a spokesman said, fly too high to be harmed by rotor blades.

Indeed. Some birds do fly very high in the sky. But far more travel at the very altitudes that would put them at greatest risk of colliding with these taller turbines. The risk is especially high during spring and fall, when migrating birds take to the skies in billions, many traveling vast distances between their wintering and breeding grounds.

A new report this month from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service calls into question the wind industry’s assertion that birds fly well above wind turbines’ rotor blades. Using radar, researchers examined fall migration at two locations in Michigan. They found that the greatest density of birds and bats migrating at night occurred from 300 to 500 feet above ground. That’s almost directly at hub-height for the new generation of giant turbines.

Rules aim to protect imperiled bird's habitat in 10 states

Associated Press

CHEYENNE, Wyo. (AP) - Interior Secretary Sally Jewell revealed plans Thursday to preserve habitat in 10 Western states for an imperiled ground-dwelling bird, the federal government's biggest land-planning effort to date for conservation of a single species.

The proposal would affect energy development. The regulations would require oil and gas wells to be clustered in groups of a half-dozen or more to avoid scattering them across habitat of the greater sage grouse. Drilling near breeding areas would be prohibited during mating season, and power lines would be moved away from prime habitat to avoid serving as perches for raptors that eat sage grouse.

Some will say the plans don't go far enough to protect the bird, Jewell said.

"But I would say these plans are grounded in sound science - the best available science," she said at a news conference on a ranch near Cheyenne.

Sage grouse are chicken-sized birds that inhabit grass and sagebrush ecosystems in 11 states from California to the Dakotas. The rules would not apply to a relatively small area of habitat in Washington state. The bird's numbers have declined sharply in recent decades, and some environmentalists warn they are at risk of extinction.

Saturday 30 May 2015

Pakistani 'spy pigeon' arrested in India

A pigeon has been arrested by police in India on suspicion of being a spy from Pakistan.

The bird was seized on Thursday after being spotted carrying a "stamped message" on its body.

The message was written partly in Urdu, the official language of Pakistan. It also contained a Pakistani phone number, according to reports.

The bird was discovered by a 14-year-old boy in the village of Manwal, around two miles from the border.

He took it to the nearest police station where the bird was X-rayed.

First Red Data Book on Birds


Minister of Environment and Tourism, Hon. Pohamba Shifeta, in a statement issued last week said that since independence, Namibia has been building a platform of environmental and conservation policies and legislation that balances the needs of people today and those of future generations by promoting and safeguarding a healthy and productive environment. Getting this balance right is to achieve Sustainable Development.

“Getting policies and laws in place, however, is just the start of the process. To make an impact on the ground and to achieve the necessary environmental and conservation objectives within the broader sustainable development goal requires a range of tools. Accurate information is essential. So are clear strategies and action plans. Red Data Books play an important role in providing detailed analysis at the species level using agreed international criteria, compiling key up-to-date information and making firm recommendations for conservation,” said the minister.

This Red Data Book on the birds of Namibia is the first comprehensive Red Data Book for Namibia. It has assessed the conservation status of all 677 recorded species rating them from “Least Concern” (i.e. not considered to be under any threat), through “Near Threatened”, “Vulnerable”, “Endangered”, “Critically Endangered” and “Nationally Extinct”.

Friday 29 May 2015

Public raises alarm about ineffectiveness of some Montagu's harrier conservation measures

May 28, 2015
Plataforma SINC
A citizen science program reveals the protection measures for the Montagu's harrier in the cereal crop season in France to be ineffective if nests are not protected to decrease predation after harvesting. A new study proposes fencing off the nests as a way of mitigating the damage and optimizing conservation efforts in different areas.
Continued ...

Birds, not just mammals, copy yawns

Date: May 28, 2015

Source: Springer Science+Business Media

Summary: Have you ever caught yourself yawning right after someone else did? The same happens to budgies. Biologists have just noted that contagious yawning also occurs between members of a bird species. Contagious yawning was previously thought only to occur between humans, domestic dogs, chimpanzees and a type of rodent aptly called the high-yawning Sprague-Dawley rat.

Keep your her-on, Prime Minister

An avian security breach at 10 Downing Street should make us glad we do not face the venemous intrusions familiar in Australia

9:00PM BST 28 May 2015

Everyone, or everyone of normal human sympathies, was interested by the photograph of a stray heron that yesterday wandered into the entrance hall of 10 Downing Street. Wild animals seldom do take refuge indoors, let alone within such important doors.

Photo: Ramsay Jones
Birds may in any case be unintentionally subversive, living in their own world, close to ours but quite separate from it for the most part. Luckily, though, a rook down the chimney or a heron in the hall is about as bad as it gets in Britain. Not for us the funnel web under the loo seat or the alligator on the putting green.

Yesterday’s incident is unlikely to trigger a wave of invading herons. Unlike the tits that used to peck the tops off milk bottles or the sparrows that plague Italian cafe tables, herons have no reputation for mass trespass. Don’t panic, should be the response, or keep your her-on.

Thursday 28 May 2015

'Huge milestone' for Scotland's white-tailed eagle population

The number of white-tailed eagles in Scotland has reached 100 breeding pairs, marking a "huge milestone" for the re-introduction of the species.

The birds, also known as sea eagles, were absent from the UK for nearly 60 years until the reintroduction programme began in 1975.

It is now 40 years since the first young white-tailed eagles from Norway were released on Rum and 30 years since the first wild chick fledged on Mull in 1985.

The reintroduction programme run by RSPB Scotland and Scottish Natural Heritage (SNH), formerly the Natural Conservancy Council, released 82 young eagles over ten years on Rum.

Rare birds are thriving and multiplying on spoil islands in Tampa Bay

TAMPA - Motoring out from the industrial, not-so-scenic shore of Tampa Bay, Mark Rachal of the Audubon Society takes us to a place off limits to people, dogs -- anything without wings.

"There are no raccoons, no bobcats, no cats they have to worry about," said Rachal.

From pelicans, to roseate spoonbills, to white ibises, this spoil island called the Alafia Bank was formed by the dumping of millions of tons of sand and sludge dredged from the bottom of Tampa Bay to create deep shipping channels. The spoil island has since been given back to nature and has become a magnet for nesting shore birds.

"We estimate about 10,000 pairs of white ibis are on the Alafia Bank this year, probably the largest colony in the state right now," Rachal said.

Wednesday 27 May 2015

3D-Printed Eggs Fool Birds into Caring for Imposters (VIDEO)

3D printing has been moving forward by leaps and bounds and now, scientists have used it to create something a bit unusual: artificial eggs. Researchers have printed the eggs in order to test how birds identify and reject the eggs that invading "brood parasites" sometimes sneak into their nests.

Brood parasites are birds that don't build nests of their own. Instead, they slip their eggs into the nests of other species. Then, the parents may raise the invading chicks at even the expense of their own. In some species, this has led to a sort of evolutionary arms race in which host parents get better and better at identifying and rejecting eggs while brood parasites have become more adept at mimicking the eggs of their host species.

Federal Program Allows Killing of Half a Million Protected Migratory Birds a Year

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Being a bird of “conservation concern” or even the oldest bird species on the continent is not enough to avoid being slaughtered under a little-known federal program that authorizes the killing of half a million birds a year.

The Center for Investigative Reporting’s Reveal looked into the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s “depredation permit” program, which allows businesses, farmers and others to kill members of more than 300 species of migratory birds each year. The body count during a recent three-year period totaled 1.6 million birds, or just over 500,000 a year.

Brown-headed cowbird (photo: Wikipedia)
Two-thirds of all the birds killed were brown-headed cowbirds, red-winged blackbirds, common grackles and Canada geese. The rest of those killed included upland sandpipers, barn owls, wood ducks, lesser yellowlegs, snowy owls, roseate spoonbills, curlew sandpipers, red-throated loons, great blue herons, white and brown pelicans, cedar waxwings, robins, belted kingfishers, mourning doves, red-tailed hawks, American kestrels, turkey vultures, mallard ducks and sandhill cranes, North America’s oldest bird species.

Some of the birds “are struggling to cope with habitat loss, climate change and other threats and are classified by the government as ‘birds of conservation concern,’” according to Reveal’s Rachael Bale and Tom Knudson. “These include upland sandpipers, lesser yellowlegs, roseate spoonbills and red-throated loons, who, because of declining populations, could be on their way to the endangered species list.”

Birds shake nuts to choose the best ones

May 23, 2015

Chuck Bednar for – @BednarChuck

Cracking a nut is difficult, so how do animals make sure that they don’t waste effort on a snack that winds up being tiny or rotten?

In research published recently in the Journal of Ornithology, an international team led by experts from the Seoul National University’s Laboratory of Behavioral Ecology and Evolution watched a group of Mexican Jays (Aphelocoma wollweberi) living in Arizona to see how they selected nuts from a feeder and if they had any tricks that helped them avoid getting bad ones.

They found that the birds may be able to “weigh” nuts, and possibly even “listen” to them as they handle the nuts in their beaks. The study authors spent several hours observing the behavior of the jays as they delicately broke open the shells of hundreds of peanuts, changing the contents and presenting them to the birds to see if the creatures could tell the difference.

Sound plays a role in the evaluation process

The researchers conducted a series of experiments, including one in which some of the peanuts presented to the jays were empty. Even though the pods looked identical on the outside, “we noticed that after picking them up the birds rejected the empty ones and accepted the full peanuts, without opening them,” said corresponding author Dr. Sang-im Lee of Seoul National University.

In another experiment, the birds were presented with two different nuts that looked the same, but had a one gram difference in weight. This revealed that the jays were able to distinguish between the two, and they favored the heavier nuts.

Researchers then took peanuts of different sizes and equalized their weight. The authors found that jays preferred the smaller peanuts, even though the two pods weighed the same. Researcher Dr. Elzbieta Fuszara explained that the birds could tell that the larger pods did not weigh as much as they should and rejected them on this basis.

Tuesday 26 May 2015

Kansas logs first sighting of tropical piratic flycatcher

May 24, 2015 

Piratic flycatcher.jpgKANSAS CITY, Missouri — A small bird that's typically found hundreds of miles away in Mexico and South America apparently made its way to western Kansas, watchers say, giving the Sunflower State a couple of possible firsts in the birding world.

The piratic flycatcher, a migratory bird that nests as far away as Argentina, has been seen as far north as New Mexico, Texas and Florida. But it never had been reported in Kansas until earlier this month, said Mike Rader, wildlife education coordinator for the Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism.

If the May 8 sighting at Scott State Park by Chris Lituma, a research associate at the University of Tennessee's Institute of Agriculture, is confirmed by the Kansas Bird Records Committee of the Kansas Ornithological Society, it would be the most northerly sighting of the bird, Rader said.

Bird put down after hit with arrow

May 26 2015 at 08:56am 
By Mercury reporter 

Durban - In the wake of a hadeda’s being horribly injured in a shooting incident involving an arrow, the Kloof and Highway SPCA has urged parents to teach their children to be responsible when using “toys” and not to use innocent animals as targets.

The SPCA’s spokesperson, Lisa Gadd, said that on Friday they received a call from a Kloof resident who had seen an injured hadeda in their garden.

She said inspectors went to the area and found two hadedas, one of which was seriously injured.

“One hadeda flew away as they approached, but the injured bird battled to move and was only able to fly as high as waist height,” he said.

Gadd said the inspectors caught the injured hadeda and took it to the Kloof and Highway SPCA clinic.

“An arrow was protruding from the bird’s torso and had penetrated right through. The arrow measured 75cm in length. Unfortunately the bird could not be saved,” she said.

Monday 25 May 2015

Rare albino sparrow spotted in Australia

The albino was photographed at Sanctuary Lakes near Melbourne, but it is not expected to survive long with its snowy white plumage making it stand out to birds of prey.
POSTED: 25 May 2015 15:16

SYDNEY: A rare pure white sparrow has been spotted in Australia, leaving ornithologists all aflutter Monday (May 25).

The albino was photographed at Sanctuary Lakes near Melbourne, but it is not expected to survive long with its snowy white plumage making it stand out to birds of prey.

Bob Winters, a birdwatching expert and environmental educator, photographed the animal after being alerted to its presence by a friend. But it wasn't an easy task.

"It's a very nervous animal, understandably, so I had to try for quite a few days to get some photos," he told AFP, adding that pure white sparrows had been seen globally only "once in a blue moon".

Australian media said there had been a handful of confirmed sightings of the bird across the world, including one reported in Britain in 2010.

ISIS takeover pushes rare bird to brink of extinction

The caretaker of the nearly-extinct northern bald ibises was forced to flee after Islamic State took over Palmyra.

The rare northern bald ibis could soon be extinct as a result of the Islamic State takeover of the ancient Syrian town of Palmyra, according to a report by the BBC on Monday. Three extremely rare ibises were kept in captivity in the central-Syrian city. Their condition has been unknown since the caretakers were forced to flee the town after Islamic State militants stormed the city on May 20. 

A search is also underway for an important fourth, female bird, named Zenobia. The Society for the Protection of Animals in Lebanon said that she is the only one of the birds to know the ibises's winter migration route to Ethiopia. A $1,000 reward is being offered for anyone with leads on the Zenobia's location. They say that without her, the birds kept in captivity would not be able to be released.

Little bittern at RSPB Lakenheath Fen: delight at first sighting in Suffolk since 1979

By Cambridge News | Posted: May 23, 2015

By Paul Brackley

A little bittern has drawn birders from far and wide to RSPB Lakenheath Fen.

The rare bird has not been spotted in Suffolk since 1979. It is found elsewhere in Europe, but is a very rare visitor to Britain - with typically only one or a few sightings a year. It is only known to have nested in Britain twice: once at Ham Wall nature reserve in Somerset and once in Yorkshire in 1984.

The little bittern - a member of the heron family and, at about the size of a moorhen, considerably smaller than a bittern - was first seen at RSPB Lakenheath Fen on May 16. It was heard making its distinctive and bizarre 'barking' call and seen climbing up some reed stems before making a brief flight.

The search for the little bittern was really a game of cat and dog as it was barking almost non-stop - David White, RSPB communication officer

The sighting prompted many birders to turn up expectantly on May 17, to no avail. But it was back on May 20, when it was heard barking intermittently in a part of the reserve known as New Fen North triangle, between Mere Hide and Joist Fen viewpoint.

David White, communications officer for the RSPB, wrote in his May 21 blog, which is featured in the News each Wednesday: "Well, after listening to it barking for around three hours last night, I am pleased to say that I saw the little bittern last night at around 8.30pm!

"The search for the little bittern was really a game of cat and dog last night as it was barking almost non-stop between 5.30pm and 8.30pm. I based myself on the northern side of the triangle and the bird did sound like it was very close. It was seen on the southern edge of the triangle slightly later but all we saw of it was the reeds shaking and not the bird itself!

"We went round to the southern side of the triangle where there were more pairs of eyes. The bird was seen again by several people as it "flopped" across the channel (this was the description we got!) As the light faded, we eventually saw it in flight east over the triangle at around 8.35pm. Success! It was great to see this special bird which was not only a first for the reserve, but the first record of this species in Suffolk since 1979."

Sunday 24 May 2015

Male Java sparrows may 'drum' to their songs

May 20, 2015
Male Java sparrows may coordinate their bill-clicking sounds with the notes of their song. Birds may communicate using both vocalizations and movement, as for instance occurs during courtship displays, but scientists' understanding of how they coordinate their movements with the sounds they produce is limited. To further investigate birds' communicative and musical abilities, the authors of this study looked into the vocalizations and bill sounds associated with singing in the Java sparrow, a song bird.
Continued ...

I'll sue RSPB for libel after charity's incompetence and misleading ads, says former cricketer Sir Ian Botham

Sir Ian has threatened legal action against the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds
Claims the 126-year-old organisation has accused him of illegally killing birds of prey
Six months ago in Mail on Sunday, he launched a sweeping attack on teh leadership of the RSPB, saying it was a 'dictatorship' 

PUBLISHED: 00:40, 24 May 2015 | UPDATED: 12:23, 24 May 2015

Sir Ian Botham has threatened legal action against the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds, claiming the 126-year-old organisation has accused him of illegally killing birds of prey.

Lawyers for the England cricket legend sent a stern letter to the charity after comments it made on the BBC last week about him. Sir Ian, who fronts You Forgot The Birds – a grassroots campaign by farmers and conservationists who want to force RSPB reform – says the claims are completely untrue.

'I was more than a little annoyed when the RSPB accused me on the BBC of illegally killing birds of prey,' he writes in today's Mail on Sunday. 

'Have they heard of the law of libel? I don't take kindly to being lied about and my lawyers – who make me look like a pussycat – have written to the RSPB.'

Six months ago in The Mail on Sunday, Sir Ian launched a sweeping attack on the leadership of the RSPB, saying it was a 'dictatorship' that had betrayed bird lovers and the species it was meant to save.

In the past couple of weeks the 59-year-old has renewed his battle against the charity, in particular fighting its demands for the licensing of grouse moors.

Birds of the Ice Age give clues how today's birds will adapt

May 21, 2015
Bournemouth University
A new study focusing on the birds of the Ice Age has shed light on the long term response of birds to climate change.
The study, published in PLOS ONE, has revealed that many of the birds were larger at this time reflecting the richness and greater productivity of the environment in the Ice Age.
Conducted by Bournemouth University's John Stewart alongside research from Roger Jacobi, a picture emerges of an unusual mix of birds in one space and a distinct Neanderthal Dawn Chorus.
John Stewart said, "During the Ice Age just over 40 thousand years ago in the north of England Neanderthals were living in an environment which included extinct animals like woolly mammoths, woolly rhinos and cave hyenas as well as the more familiar horses and reindeer. These mammals are well known to science and many studies have illuminated the spectacular fauna that lived at this early stage. Not so well known are the birds."

Thursday 21 May 2015

Rare Trumpter Swans Visit Taltree Arboretum & Gardens


Two trumpeter swans have flown in to Taltree Arboretum & Gardens’ wetlands, joining the resident mated pair that live at Taltree year-round. The visiting trumpeter swans flew in on Sunday, May 11 and have been spotted by visitors around the wetlands on Taltree’s Bluebird Trail.

The swans have been considered rare or completely extinct in most of the United States by the early 20th century. Their population has increased enough to remove them from the endangered species list. They have not been able to sufficiently grow their population in the Great Lakes region due to an increase in competition for habitat by the non-native mute swan.

“To have a pair of these rare birds join our residents is very exciting. The last time we had a visitor was three years ago when our birds were new to Taltree,” said Stephanie Blackstock, Interim Executive Director at Taltree Arboretum & Gardens.

RSPB calls for swift action!

Posted on: 16 May 2015

The public have been asked to help the RSPB build up a clearer picture of the number of Common Swifts across the country.

Swifts travel around 12,000 miles every year from Africa to Britain and Ireland to feed and breed. They are aerial acrobats, swooping high through the skies with distinctive scythe-shaped wings. In fact, they are such adept fliers that they eat and sleep on the wing, not touching the ground unless they are nesting.

Common Swifts like to nest in the cracks and crevices of buildings, high up in the eaves. They pair for life, meeting up each spring at the same nest site which is ‘renovated’ and reused year after year. Unfortunately, as old buildings are fixed up or demolished, these sites are often lost which means that it can be difficult for a displaced pair to find a suitable replacement site in time to lay eggs and raise a brood, before it’s time to head back to warmer climes in August.

The population of swifts in the UK has declined dramatically in recent years and, as a result, the species is now Amber-listed (of medium conservation concern). In order to help them, the RSPB wants to know where they’ve been seen and where they're nesting.

Hen Harriers: the bird of prey that could soon become extinct

Suspicions are high and time is limited. The hen harrier, which could become Britain's national bird next month, is dying out. But what, or who is responsible? Joe Shute investigates

7:05AM BST 16 May 2015

Thursday afternoon in the Forest of Bowland and since the previous evening there have been no sightings from the hen harrier nest hidden halfway down the fell. A volunteer who stayed up all through the night keeping a telescope trained on the site is now asleep, and four of us sit on the open heather for the day shift, staring out across the valley towards a steep ravine – known in Lancashire parlance as a clough.

Suddenly, a hen harrier appears, scything along the top of the moorland ridge.These birds of prey are known as sky dancers for their elaborate aerial displays and as it dives down its grey plumage flashes off the black boggy earth. It is a male, and not the one who is supposed to be providing food for the nesting female, but still those present breathe a sigh of relief as we watch the bird swoop. A glimpse – any glimpse – is at least proof this fragile population hasn’t yet been wiped out altogether.

Wednesday 20 May 2015

Griffon vultures are exposed to high concentrations of lead in their diets

Date: May 19, 2015

Source: Plataforma SINC

Summary: Because of their position on the food chain and their dietary habits, Griffon vultures from the Iberian Peninsula are exposed to accumulation of heavy metals in their tissues. A study reveals that, due to their diets, wild populations of Griffon vultures in Catalonia show the presence of a high amount of lead, which affects their immune systems and reproductive function.

Bird migration changes on Fair Isle revealed

A major survey into bird migration from Africa over the past 60 years has revealed substantial changes in behaviour.

The Fair Isle bird observatory has recorded bird migration at its station between Shetland and Orkney since 1938.

A new initiative - the Fair Isle migration project - has now analysed records from the sanctuary since 1955.

The study has also revealed changes to the times of the year the birds are migrating.

The research has concluded spring migration has happened much earlier in recent years for many species, such as the swallow, which is arriving up to three weeks earlier than the birds did in the 1950s.

For other species, such as the willow warbler, spring migration has occurred much later.

Tuesday 19 May 2015

Hundreds of birders flocked to Chicago's Montrose Harbor over the weekend in hopes of catching a glimpse of a species so rare that it nearly went extinct.

The Kirtland's warbler has been on the federal endangered species list since 1967, was once known to nest only in a small area of Michigan and has been seen in Illinois just a few times in the past two decades.

Kim Ainis, of Chicago, learned of the sighting Saturday through the Illinois Birders Exchanging Thoughts email listserv. When she saw the bird was still reported to be present Sunday at the harbor's Magic Hedge, she grabbed her binoculars and headed out.

Robot owls decode bird alarm calls

Tuesday, May 19, 2015 - 2:30pm

Using taxidermied, robotic birds of prey, scientists are exploring the nuances of bird warning calls and how they’re transmitted across the landscape, The New York Times reports. At one time, scientists thought that birds’ alarm calls were short-lived and produced to warn other nearby birds of imminent danger. Now, it’s possible that the calls could be spread across the landscape, picked up by various species of birds and passed through a forest at more than 160 kilometers per hour. The calls themselves could even be detailed enough to signal the difference between a pygmy owl or Cooper’s hawk. Even other species such as squirrels and chipmunks may eavesdrop on the calls and understand, at least somewhat, that the chirps signal an approaching predator, the scientists say. 

Petar Yankov: Many interesting bird species have appeared in past days in Poda protected

area19 May 2015 | 18:24 | Radio FOCUS – Burgas

FOCUS: Could you tell us what interesting bird species visitors to the Poda protected area can see this season?

Petar Yankov: There are many interesting bird species that have come in the past days to the Poda protected area, which is managed by the Bulgarian Society for Protection of Birds. 12 greater flamingos flew over the northern part of Poda 2 days ago and almost perched. Unfortunately, there was a poacher’s boat in the Bay of Soros, which they flew over several times and attempted to perch but continued to fly in a northern direction. I suppose they headed towards Lake Atanasovsko, where they could also find very favourable conditions. The greater flamingo is not the only exotic bird returning to Poda. We have watched a bird which disappeared from Bulgaria as a nesting one in 1995 for over a month near the centre of the Bulgarian Society for Protection of Birds. This is the red-crested pochard, which is very beautiful, especially males. We watched two couples and seeing them with their young in days or weeks would be great news. This means the species returned and makes nests after being absent for nearly 20 years.

Monday 18 May 2015

APPEAL: Can you help police track down the person who killed a Peregrine Falcon in Staffordshire?

By Staffordshire Newsletter | Posted: May 18, 2015
A PROTECTED bird of prey has been found shot dead in North Staffordshire.

The Peregrine Falcon was found on May 7 at an undisclosed location.

Police are urging anyone with information to get in contact.

Sergeant Mark Joynson from Staffordshire Police said: "Peregrine Falcons are a rare species which means the birds, their nests, and eggs, are fully protected under the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981. It is a criminal offence to intentionally or recklessly kill, injure or take a Peregrine, or to disturb it whilst nesting.

"Officers are working closely with colleagues at the RSPB and inquiries into this incident are ongoing."

RSPB Intelligence Officer Helen Mason said: "Peregrines are magnificent birds and to shoot one is not only cruel, but needless and selfish.

"It has taken decades for the Peregrine population to recover from the devastating effects of pesticide contamination in the latter half of the last century, and yet we still find them targeted year on year by people who hold a grudge against them. The RSPB is offering a £1,000 reward for information leading to the conviction of the person responsible."

"Birds have fundamental rights,can't be kept in cages"

New Delhi, May 17 (PTI) Birds have the fundamental right to "live with dignity" and fly in the sky without being kept in cages or subjected to cruelty, Delhi High Court has said while holding that running their trade was a "violation of their rights".

Justice Manmohan Singh expressed anguish that instead of being allowed to fly free, they were "exported illegally to foreign countries without availability of proper food, water or medical aid".

"I am clear in mind that all the birds have fundamental rights to fly in the sky and all human beings have no right to keep them in small cages for the purposes of their business or otherwise," the judge said.

The high court issued notice to Delhi Police as well as the bird owner, Md Mohazzim, and sought their responses by May 28.

The high court made the observations and issued the orders while staying the direction of a trial court which had allowed some birds to be released to the same person from whom they were rescued on his plea.

The trial court order was stayed on a plea by NGO People for Animals, which had challenged the release of birds into custody of owners without hearing the NGO which had freed the birds.

3 nesting male hen harriers vanish in Lancashire

Three nesting male hen harriers have vanished in Lancashire in unexplained circumstances and Lancashire Police and the RSPB are appealing for any information that could uncover the fate of these rare upland birds of prey. The RSPB is also putting up a £10,000 reward for any information which leads to a conviction.

The first of the birds disappeared from its nest on the United Utilities Bowland Estate about a month ago and a further two males on active nests have not been seen since last 30 April. 

In the case of the first nest, a young male arrived almost immediately and took the place of the vanished bird, thereby securing the safety of the eggs. The other two nests were not so fortunate; in the absence of males to provide them with food, the females were forced to abandon their eggs, resulting in the failure of both nests. 

Hen harriers are England’s most threatened breeding bird of prey with only four successful nests in the whole country last year, two of which were on the United Utilities Bowland Estate. 

With the number of breeding birds so low, the failure of the two nests will have a serious impact on the hen harrier’s future in England. 

The disappearance of the birds leaves just one active nest remaining in the Bowland Estate, putting the future of hen harriers in England even further in jeopardy. 

Sunday 17 May 2015

Birdwatchers keep a beady eye on Minster’s nesting peregrine falcons

First published Saturday 16 May 2015 in News

A pair of peregrine falcons are now sitting on eggs in York Minster.

The news that these protected species are incubating eggs in York’s medieval cathedral comes after months of speculation.

Wildlife experts have been eagerly looking for signs that the pair might have finally laid after noticing them mating there throughout the spring.

But wildlife artist Robert Fuller noticed the male and female engage in what he described as a ‘nest change over’, and said there was definitely a clutch of eggs in the bell tower.

“I saw the male hunting over the main tower of the Minster. He caught a pigeon, partially plucked it ready to present to the female and then circled the tower calling until the female came out. He passed the pigeon to her and then flew into the nest in order to take over incubating,” he said.

Fears grow that invasive bird species may cause havoc here

TODAY reports: Destructive Quelea birds have landed in Singapore and nature lovers are calling for action to be taken to protect local biodiversity. 
By Neo Chai Chin, TODAY
POSTED: 15 May 2015 08:59

Red-billed Quelea (Quelea quelea) (6040990915).jpgSINGAPORE: Recent sightings of a destructive non-native bird species have alarmed some bird enthusiasts here, who have urged a relook of import policies for invasive species.

They fear that the Red-billed Quelea - sometimes referred to as “feathered locusts” as it damages crops and lives in huge flocks - will wreak environmental havoc by affecting native bird species here, if their numbers grow.

Friday 15 May 2015

1,000 people drawn to North Norfolk after rare bird spotted

10:21Friday 15 May 2015

An estimated 1,000 people descended on the North Norfolk coast after a rare bird was spotted in the sand dunes.

Carduelis citrinella.jpgWithin hours of the citril finch being discovered in Burnham Overy on Sunday, 500 people were on the beach.
Normally Citril Finches are found in alpine areas of Europe so the sighting of this male bird proved to be a big draw for bird watchers from across the country.

This is the first sighting of a citril finch in mainland Britain.

The RSPB’s area manager Rob Lucking estimates that the 1,000 people visited the Titchwell reserve during Sunday and Monday.

He said: “It caused a lot of excitement.

“I have seen one in France but never thought I would see on in Norfolk.

Global Big Day logs more than half the world's bird species in one day

Posted on: 15 May 2015

The Global Big Day event organised by the Cornell Lab of Ornithology recorded 5,950 species worldwide.

Thanks to the worldwide birding community, 9 May was an historic day – the first Global Big Day for bird conservation. More than 13,000 birders in 127 countries joined the Cornell Big Day team by entering their sightings into eBird, and achieved a worldwide total of more than 5,950 species on a single day – more than half of the world’s bird species!

More than 800,000 bird observations were uploaded to eBird on the day. The numbers are still rising, and you can explore the live results here If you went birding on 9 May and haven’t entered sightings yet, it’s not too late – head on over to, and perhaps the total can eventually reach 6,000 species?

Across Britain, 60 birders have submitted 146 checklists so far, logging 182 species of birds. In England, Lincolnshire reported more species than any other county with 108. Norfolk was the runner-up with 100, and sightings were entered from 25 additional counties. Scotland topped Wales by a significant margin, with 103 species versus Wales’s 44.