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.

Wednesday 25 July 2018

Effort to preserve lory population shows success

Long-term project to protect endangered birds by starting new colony helps save species

Date:  July 18, 2018
Source:  San Diego Zoo Global

A long-term plan to preserve the Rimatara lorikeet by restoring an extirpated population of the species on a neighboring island that is free of predatory ship rats is demonstrating the importance of this kind of protective program for the sustainability of endangered bird species. A case study published in the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) report Global Reintroduction Perspectives: 2018 -- Case Studies from Around the Globe sums up the results of an effort that began in 2000.

"The important thing about any conservation program is the ability to demonstrate that a species can be saved over the long term," said Alan Lieberman, retired director of field conservation programs for the Institute for Conservation Research, San Diego Zoo Global. "It is easy to get excited during the initial steps, but you don't know if you have succeeded until a decade or so later. In this case, we started with 27 birds captured on Rimatara and then translocated to Atiu Island, and we now have a population of well over 300."

The Rimatara lorikeet is considered to be an endangered species by BirdLife International and IUCN. Although originally distributed over the Cook and French Polynesia islands, its numbers were severely reduced and it disappeared in prehistoric times from most islands due to hunting for its bright red feathers.

Blue and ultramarine lories have been extirpated, as ship rats have invaded more islands in French Polynesia. The last natural population of the Rimatara lorikeet could easily be destroyed if ship rats invaded Rimatara, via cargo or a shipwreck. Nearby Atiu had similar habitats to Rimatara and was still free of ship rats, so it was an obvious choice for the establishment of a reserve population.

In a warming climate, Arctic geese are rushing north

Date:  July 19, 2018
Source:  Cell Press

As Arctic temperatures continue to rise, migratory barnacle geese have responded by speeding up their 3,000-kilometer migration in order to reach their destination more quickly with fewer stops along the way, according to new evidence. Unfortunately, the birds' earlier arrival isn't making as much of a difference as one might expect.

As Arctic temperatures continue to rise, migratory barnacle geese have responded by speeding up their 3,000-kilometer migration in order to reach their destination more quickly with fewer stops along the way, according to new evidence reported in Current Biology on July 19. Unfortunately, the birds' earlier arrival isn't making as much of a difference as one might expect. That's because, when the geese reach their Arctic breeding grounds after an accelerated marathon flight, they must take extra time to refuel their own bodies before laying eggs.

As a result of this recovery period, barnacle goose chicks continue to hatch too late to take advantage of early spring foraging opportunities. The new study shows that fewer of them are surviving long enough to leave their mothers' sides and make the trek on their own. The findings suggest that the birds are in trouble unless they start heading north for the Arctic earlier in the year, as opposed to speeding up their travel along the way, the researchers say.

Ibis that was extinct in wild taught to migrate by following aircraft

Birds bred in captivity led on three-week migration south from Germany by human ‘foster parents’

Denise Hruby in Überlingen, Germany
Fri 20 Jul 2018 16.00 BSTLast modified on Mon 23 Jul 2018 08.19 BST

Leaning out of an ultralight aircraft, Corinna Esterer turns toward a flock of peculiar black birds soaring just a few metres away. “Come, come ibis,” she yells through her megaphone. Drawn by Esterer’s voice, the birds dart to the aircraft, and follow it to a field overlooking Lake Constance in southern Germany. Once on the ground, the ibis flock to Esterer. To the birds, the young woman is their parent.

For more than 300 years, the northern bald ibis has been extinct in the wild in central Europe, with small populations surviving only in zoos. But recently, it has celebrated a slow but steady comeback thanks to human foster parents who have shown the birds how to migrate south by leading the way in ultralight aircraft.

This year is the fifth time the team has taken young birds that hatched in captivity on a three-week migration across the Alps to their wintering grounds in Tuscany.

“It really is pioneering, the first [example] of its kind in which we have reintroduced a bird species with the help of human-led migration,” said Johannes Fritz, the head of the project. Fritz has spent most of his career trying to bring the ibis back. “Granted, they are not very beautiful, but [they are] charismatic,” he said.

Counting crows: Vancouver college maps thousands of attacks

Tool launched in response to dive-bombing birds documents 2,500 attacks since 2016

Ashifa Kassam in Toronto
Fri 20 Jul 2018 09.32 BSTLast modified on Sat 21 Jul 2018 19.48 BST

It was a crow fiercely protecting its nest – and repeated complaints of it dive-bombing and swooping – that prompted the idea.

“Just about every day someone would come in and say: ‘I got smacked in the back of the head,’ or ‘Mary got smacked in the back of the head,’” said Jim O’Leary, a teacher at Langara College in Vancouver, Canada.

“I was thinking to myself: I know crows are smart but we’re pretty smart too. Isn’t there something that I can do about this?”

The result was CrowTrax, an online tool that since 2016 has documented about 2,500 crow attacks in the Metro Vancouver region, nearby Victoria and around the world.

O’Leary, who teaches a course on geographic information systems (GIS), initially envisioned the site as a way to show his students how such systems could be used to map and store spatial data.

“But it kind of took on a life of its own. Because most people really don’t care about GIS; they just care about crows,” he said.

Within hours of launching the site, reports began pouring in. About 1,000 anecdotes came in during the site’s first year, and 1,500 the next year.

Sunday 22 July 2018

LED lights reduce seabird death toll from fishing by 85 percent

Date:  July 11, 2018
Source:  University of Exeter

Illuminating fishing nets with low-cost lights could reduce the terrible impact they have on seabirds and marine-dwellers by more than 85 per cent, new research has shown.

A team of international researchers, led by Dr Jeffrey Mangel from the University of Exeter, has shown the number of birds caught in gillnets can be drastically reduced by attaching green battery-powered light-emitting diodes (LEDs).

For the study, the researchers compared 114 pairs of gillnets -- which are anchored in fixed positions at sea and designed to snare fish by the gills -- in fishing waters off the coast of Peru.

They discovered that the nets fitted with the LEDs caught 85 per cent fewer guanay cormorants -- a native diving bird that commonly becomes entangled in nets -- compared with those without lights.

Coupled with previous research conducted by the same team, that showed LED lighting also reduced the number of sea turtles caught in fishing nets by 64 per cent, the researchers believe the lights offer a cheap, reliable and durable way to dramatically reduce the capture and death of birds and turtles, without reducing the intended catch of fish.

The research is published in the Royal Society journal Open Science on Wednesday, July 11 2018.

Lead author Dr Mangel, from the Centre for Ecology and Conservation at the University's Penryn Campus, said: "We are very encouraged by the results from this study.

Read on  

Piping plovers want people to get off their lawn

Date:  July 4, 2018
Source:  American Ornithological Society Publications Office

A new study in The Condor: Ornithological Applications presents negative associations between anthropogenic disturbance (human recreational use of beaches, coastal modifications) and Piping Plovers on their non-breeding grounds. Shorebirds are one of the most threatened bird families in the world. Numerous studies have shown the negative impacts of humans on these birds, whether it be large-scale (e.g., habitat loss, climate change) or small-scale (e.g., ATV use, running with pets, flying kites). This research indicates that there are direct consequences of disturbance. Most Piping Plover research has focused on the breeding season in an attempt to directly influence population numbers, however this study argues that efforts are required throughout the year in all locations to assist Piping Plover conservation.

Concern about flame-retardant metabolites in bald eagles raised in new study

Date:  July 11, 2018
Source:  Indiana University

Scientists have raised concerns for decades about toxic chemicals in the environment that accumulate in the tissues of birds, fish and other animals. New research from Indiana University that examined bald eagles suggests that's only part of the story.

A study led by IU environmental scientists finds that chemicals used in flame retardants, plasticizers and other commercial products are broken down through the process of metabolism into other compounds. Researchers say not enough is known about the dangers posed by those compounds, known as metabolites.

"Most of these flame retardants and related chemicals can be readily metabolized," said Marta Venier, a scientist in the IU Bloomington School of Public and Environmental Affairs and one of the authors of the study. "The issue here is that, in some cases, the metabolites can be more toxic than the parent compounds."

The study was published in Environmental Science & Technology. Authors, in addition to Venier, are William Stubbings, Jiehong Guo and Kevin Romanak of the School of Public and Environmental Affairs and Kendall Simon and William Bowerman of the University of Maryland, College Park.

Financial incentives create critical waterbird habitat in extreme drought

Recent California drought caused severe impacts on Central Valley wildlife and habitat

Date:  July 12, 2018
Source:  Point Blue Conservation Science

New research shows how financial incentive programs can create vital habitat for waterbirds, filling a critical need in drought years. Researchers used satellite images to evaluate two issues: 1) the impact of the 2013-2015 drought on waterbird habitat in the Central Valley; and, 2) the amount of habitat created by incentive programs.

Projections by climate scientists suggest that severe droughts may become more frequent over the next century, with significant impacts to wildlife habitat. Fortunately, new research from scientists at Point Blue Conservation Science and The Nature Conservancy shows how financial incentive programs can create vital habitat for waterbirds, filling a critical need in drought years.

Between 2013 and 2015, the Central Valley of California sustained an extreme drought, dramatically reducing wildlife habitat. The area is recognized as of hemispheric importance for waterbirds, which use flooded agricultural land and wetlands as habitat. Under two innovative financial assistance programs, farmers are provided with an incentive payment to flood their fields at key moments to create habitat for waterbirds. Until this research, the landscape effects of these incentive programs had not been rigorously studied.

Friday 20 July 2018

After 80 years away, Norfolk corncrakes are making a comeback

PUBLISHED: 17:07 13 July 2018 | UPDATED: 17:07 13 July 2018

After an absence of 80 years, corncrakes are being returned to the Norfolk countryside – and farmers are playing a crucial role in the breeding project which aims to spark this secretive bird’s resurgence. CHRIS HILL reports.

Amid the “hoot” of the tawny owl and the shrill “peewit” of the lapwing, a strange rasping call can be heard across Norfolk meadows during these long summer nights.

And every time this unlikely song rings out, it signals a success for a breeding project aiming to bring an endangered farmland bird back to its traditional East Anglian habitat.

Corncrakes were once widespread throughout the UK, but their numbers declined catastrophically during the 20th century due to the mechanised and earlier mowing of grass crops – destroying the tall vegetation which is the bird’s spring nesting habitat.

Conservationists say the species has been extinct in East Anglia for more than 80 years.

Bird of prey on the loose in Co Armagh

The PSNI has issued an appeal for help identifying a bird of prey on the loose in Co Armagh.
Police received a call from a concerned member of the public that a bird of prey had appeared in her field.

"It has a leather strap on its leg and may belong to someone," a PSNI spokesperson said. 

"Any info on this birdie, call 101 ref 1557 05/07/2018."

Belfast Telegraph Digital

Are we ignoring 'second-class' birds for the 'charismatic'?

By Ciarán DunbarBBC News NI

Wildlife expert Chris Packham once caused a stir by suggesting that conservation efforts should focus on protecting habitats of all wildlife, rather than focusing on "famous" animals.

The BBC presenter asked if efforts to preserve "t-shirt animals" were harming wider conservation efforts.

A recent study suggested many people are unaware that animals they consider as "charismatic" 

Does the huge media interest in such species as the curlew or the corncrake harm conservation work with other species?

Some campaigners believe so, but others involved in conservation say that resources, including money, given to help well-known animals benefit all wildlife.

Not-so-famous grouse
John Leech, of the Irish Red Grouse Association, is based in south Galway, the site of the bird's largest population in Ireland.

Licensed hunters killing birds in droves across Rahim Yar Khan

Published: July 9, 2018

RAHIM YAR KHAN: Licensed hunters are taking advantage of the seasonal migration of birds and hunting well beyond the permitted numbers. They are preying on birds such as Talair, green parrots, Lali and wild birds, locals in villages told Express News. They blamed the mafia for the activity.

Villagers said lenient wildlife laws were allowing hunting groups to take advantage of the situation and hunt native birds in excess. After profiteering from green parrots, which have virtually disappeared over the years, hunters are killing Lali, another native bird that can be seen in the open around the region.

They maintained that the hunters extend long bird traps in the fields to catch snakes and Lali, a bird whose meat is in large demand in the food and restaurant industry. They revealed the hunters usually operate in remote areas so that they can get a large catch without being noticed.

Thursday 19 July 2018

Neuroscientists uncover secret to intelligence in parrots

Study shows evidence of convergence in bird and primate evolution

Date:  July 3, 2018
Source:  University of Alberta

University of Alberta neuroscientists have identified the neural circuit that may underlay intelligence in birds, according to a new study. The discovery is an example of convergent evolution between the brains of birds and primates, with the potential to provide insight into the neural basis of human intelligence.

"An area of the brain that plays a major role in primate intelligence is called the pontine nuclei," explained Cristian Gutierrez-Ibanez, postdoctoral fellow in the Department of Psychology. "This structure transfers information between the two largest areas of the brain, the cortex and cerebellum, which allows for higher-order processing and more sophisticated behaviour. In humans and primates, the pontine nuclei are large compared to other mammals. This makes sense given our cognitive abilities."

Birds have very small pontine nuclei. Instead, they have a similar structure called the medial spiriform nucleus (SpM) that has similar connectivity. Located in a different part of the brain, the SpM does the same thing as the pontine nuclei, circulating information between the cortex and the cerebellum. "This loop between the cortex and the cerebellum is important for the planning and execution of sophisticated behaviours," said Doug Wylie, professor of psychology and co-author on the new study.

Birds eat 400 to 500 million tons of insects annually

Along with spiders, insectivorous birds play a vital role in consuming insects that would otherwise destroy forests or crops

Date:  July 9, 2018
Source:  Springer

Birds around the world eat 400 to 500 million metric tonnes of beetles, flies, ants, moths, aphids, grasshoppers, crickets and other anthropods per year. These numbers have been calculated in a study led by Martin Nyffeler of the University of Basel in Switzerland. The research, published in Springer's journal The Science of Nature, highlights the important role birds play in keeping plant-eating insect populations under control.

Nyffeler and his colleagues based their figures on 103 studies that highlighted the volume of prey that insect-eating birds consume in seven of the world's major ecological communities known as biomes. According to their estimations, this amounts to between 400 and 500 million tonnes of insects per year but is most likely to be on the lower end of the range. Their calculations are supported by a large number of experimental studies conducted by many different research teams in a variety of habitats in different parts of the world.

"The global population of insectivorous birds annually consumes as much energy as a megacity the size of New York. They get this energy by capturing billions of potentially harmful herbivorous insects and other arthropods," says Nyffeler.

Forest-dwelling birds consume around 75 per cent of the insects eaten in total by birds which make up about 300 million tonnes of insects per year. About 100 million tonnes are eaten by birds in savanna areas, grasslands and croplands, and those living in the deserts and Arctic tundra. Birds actively hunt insects especially during the breeding season, when they need protein-rich prey to feed to their nestlings.

Further, the researchers estimated that insectivorous birds together only have a biomass of about three million tonnes. Nyffeler says the comparatively low value for the global biomass of wild birds can be partially explained through their very low production efficiency. This means that respiration takes a lot of energy and only leaves about one to two percent to be converted into biomass.

To help save northern spotted owls, we need to prevent kissing cousins

Date:  July 4, 2018
Source:  American Ornithological Society Publications Office

Biologists present a study on a Northern Spotted Owl pedigree, consisting of almost 14,200 individuals over 30 years, which determined inbreeding varies across the species' range. Selection against inbreeding based on decreased future reproduction, fewer offspring, and overall survival of individuals was also supported. These results indicate that Spotted Owl conservation efforts need to address owl breeding more. Another implication of this work is the need to increase genetic diversity to prevent further population decline.

Rainy weather predicts bird distribution -- but climate change could disrupt it

Date:  July 11, 2018
Source:  American Ornithological Society Publications Office
Understanding what environmental cues birds use to time their annual migrations and decide where to settle is crucial for predicting how they'll be affected by a shifting climate. A new study from The Auk: Ornithological Advances shows that for two species of flycatcher, one of the key factors is rain -- the more precipitation an area receives, the more likely the birds are to be there during the non-breeding season.

Tulane University's Maggie MacPherson and her colleagues combined field techniques with species distribution models to investigate which environmental factors drove the migrations of Eastern Kingbirds and Fork-tailed Flycatchers. Using geolocators, devices that record a bird's daily location based on day length, they could track where individuals of each species went. The two species share similar behavior and habitat requirements, but differ in their range and migration strategies, and these strategies were compared to determine the influence of temperature, precipitation, and primary productivity (the amount of "green" vegetation). Precipitation turned out to be one of the most important predictors of their distribution, particularly in the non-breeding season.

Wednesday 18 July 2018

It's go time for Hawaiian bird conservation, and luckily there's a playbook

Date:  June 27, 2018
Source:  American Ornithological Society Publications Office

A new study in The Condor: Ornithological Applications presents some of the best guidance to date on the priorities and actions that can be taken to help Hawaii's endemic birds. Hawaii's ecosystems, including its native bird populations, are struggling. Of the 21 species of forest birds left on the islands, almost two thirds (12 species) of are endangered or threatened. The current conservation status of the wildlife and vegetation on the island is almost entirely attributable to humans. The actions needed to stabilize or reverse these trends need stronger support and coordination, however funding and resources are limited. This new paper lays out a plan to better guide and empower conservation efforts for Hawaiian birds.

Eben Paxton of USGS Pacific Island Ecosystems Research Center and colleagues synthesized the key points that came out of a collaboration of more than 60 stakeholders in Hawaiian bird conservation. The focus is on actionable research and management approaches that can be employed today. Habitat loss, invasive plants, non-native predators, and introduced diseases were identified as the largest threats to Hawaiian birds. Climate change is projected to exacerbate all threats. Given limited resources, the stakeholders decided on eight main priorities as well as several actions specific to the island of Kauai. In addition to helping Hawaii and its birds directly, the goal of this collaborative report is to make Hawaii a model for other areas of the world, especially islands, that are in need of strong conservation efforts.

Common cranes 'here to stay' after recolonising eastern England

Model predicts population of UK’s tallest bird could double within 50 years after its return to the east of England following a 400-year absence

Press Association
Tue 17 Jul 2018 06.01 BST

Common cranes which recolonised eastern England less than 40 years ago after a 400-year absence are now here to stay, research has found.

There could be as many as 275 breeding pairs of the UK’s tallest bird within 50 years, scientists at the University of Exeter, the RSPB and the Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust (WWT) predict.

Cranes were lost from the UK as a breeding bird in the 16th century as a result of hunting and the drainage of large areas of wetlands, but some returned to the east of England in 1979.

Conservationists supported the small population, but they breed slowly and their numbers remained low over the next two decades, leaving the population at risk of disappearing again if hit by problems such as disease.

A new population model, published in a paper in the journal Animal Conservation, found that an important part of the growth in numbers until 2010 were new arrivals from continental Europe.

Gulls in Devon and Dorset 'showing signs of drunkenness'

RSPCA has collected a large number of gulls exhibiting signs of disorientation, confusion and loss of balance

Khadija Kothia
Fri 6 Jul 2018 18.48 BSTLast modified on Mon 9 Jul 2018 09.06 BST

Gulls in Devon and areas of Dorset have been portraying signs of drunkenness, the RSPCA has said.

The animal welfare charity has collected a large number of gulls exhibiting signs of disorientation, confusion and loss of balance. The first incidents were reported on 21 June.

“We have had a number of these come through over the last couple of weeks. At first the birds look like they have botulism but then, after vomiting, most seem to recover,” said Jo Daniel, an RSPCA inspector.

The charity is urging local alcohol producers, distilleries and breweries to check their waste is secure and that it cannot be accessed by wildlife.

David Couper, an RSPCA vet who has treated a number of gulls at the charity’s West Hatch centre in Taunton, Somerset, said: “Sadly a few of the birds have died but most of them have made good recoveries and have been released after a few days in our care.

“I’d like to urge any local vets who see birds coming in with similar symptoms not to euthanise them but to give them a chance to recover from the effects of the alcohol.”

If you build it, the birds will come -- if it meets their criteria

Date:  July 11, 2018
Source:  American Ornithological Society Publications Office

A study published in The Condor: Ornithological Applications presents a case study on how bird surveys can better inform conservation and vegetation restoration efforts. Previous conservation methods have emphasized plants as the key to recreating habitat preferred by a sensitive animal. However, this study shows that there's more to the coastal sagebrush habitat of California Gnatcatchers than just having the right plants present. Abiotic components such as topography and soil are important drivers of the biotic components, including plants, which pair together to make the complete ecosystem these birds need. Given this more complete perspective, future conservation efforts would be wise to consider all of the variables that make up an animal's habitat.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service's Clark Winchell and Colorado State University's Paul F. Doherty, Jr., set out to find a way to improve the traditional "single-species -oriented" conservation plan. They used bird survey data to more accurately identify favorable habitat for California Gnatcatcher occupancy and discovered that as the ratio of coastal sagebrush increased from 10% to 40%, the probability of colonization and presence of these birds tripled. The amount of openness in the sagebrush habitat also correlated with the birds' occupancy probability (30-40% openness was ideal for the birds). Elevation and soil texture also influenced suitable habitat, with lower elevations and loam or sandy loam soils most preferred. Winchell and Doherty also found that the gnatcatchers preferred southern aspects, shallow slopes, and inland areas over other options. Being so detailed and using such a fine scale allowed more specific areas to be identified as suitable for gnatcatchers. Thorough research such as this will better aid conservation efforts, both by informing where restoration might be most successful and by providing restoration targets.

Friday 13 July 2018

Trump Administration Moves to Strip Endangered Species Protections From Threatened Western Songbird

Immediate Release, June 26, 2018
Contact: Michael Robinson, (575) 313-7017,

Agricultural, Mining Interests Push to Delist Yellow-billed Cuckoo

SILVER CITY, N.M.— The Trump administration announced today it may end federal protection for the western yellow-billed cuckoo even as delays mount in conserving the species’ habitat and the threatened bird’s numbers continue to fall.

songbird is threatened with extinction as its streamside habitat has dried up from agricultural water withdrawals and development of its streamside homes. But livestock and mining interests in Arizona and an extreme property-rights group in Texas pushed the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to review the bird’s status.

“The last thing the yellow-billed cuckoo needs is to lose its federal protection,” said Michael Robinson, a conservation advocate with the Center for Biological Diversity. “After flying a thousand miles from South America, these migratory birds need healthy rivers to nest and feed alongside. The Trump administration should protect their nesting grounds, not abandon them to polluters.”

The western population of the yellow-billed cuckoo was first identified as needing federal protection in 1986. The Center submitted a scientific petition to list it under the Endangered Species Act in 1998, but it did not gain protection until 2014, and the Service still hasn’t protected critical habitat for the rare bird.

“Trump’s ongoing delay in protecting the cuckoo’s habitat is bad enough,” Robinson added. “Stripping this remarkable bird of its Endangered Species Act safety-net would leave our cottonwood groves silent and make the waters that sustain them even more vulnerable to diversion, extraction and despoliation for short-term profits.”

In its announcement today, the Fish and Wildlife Service rejected the industry’s claim that the western population of the cuckoo was not sufficiently different from the more common and secure eastern population, which is not federally protected. But the Service said it would review whether the cuckoo used more habitat than was thought.

The yellow-billed cuckoo once thrived along nearly every water body in the contiguous United States, but its western population has been devastated by dams, livestock grazing, water withdrawals, river channelization and development.

Today the bird survives in scattered locations in small numbers, including along California’s Sacramento, Eel and Kern rivers; the Colorado, Gila, Verde and San Pedro rivers in Arizona; New Mexico’s Gila and Rio Grande rivers; and in scattered locations in Colorado, Idaho, Nevada, Texas, Wyoming and Utah. Historically it was common from the shores of Lake Washington in Seattle to the mouth of the Colorado River.

The cuckoo is a visually striking bird with a long tail with flashy white markings. It is also referred to as the “rain crow” for its habit of singing right before storms. It breeds in streamside forests of cottonwood and willow.

The cuckoos are one of the few species that can eat spiny caterpillars, such as tent caterpillars, which the adult birds and their chicks gorge on in the spring and summer before flying to South America in the late summer

The Center for Biological Diversity is a national, nonprofit conservation organization with more than 1.6 million members and online activists dedicated to the protection of endangered species and wild places.


Endangered plovers face new threat: snowy owls

By NAINA RAO • JUN 26, 2018

A new predator has emerged for a little shorebird in our region, the piping plover.

Snowy owls often spend time out on Great Lakes beaches in the winter. It’s a good habitat for them. But something unexpected happened this year.

Vince Cavalieri is the piping plover coordinator with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

“It became very apparent early this year that there were a lot of snowy owls still being seen,” he says.

He says the owls hung around later than usual.

“This is the first time I’ve seen snowy owls this late into the season in these kinds of numbers and also it’s the first time we know that piping plovers were predated by snowy owls,” says Cavalieri.

This is a problem because piping plovers are an endangered species. There are fewer than 80 nesting pairs in the Great Lakes region.

Oldest recorded Little Tern

On Monday the first chicks fledged at the only Little Tern colony in Wales, from the few nests that survived Storm Hector in mid June.

Prof David Norman, who has ringed the chicks at Gronant beach for decades, as a member of Merseyside Ringing Group, recently caught a bird he first ringed there in July 1993.

At almost 25 years of age, this appears to be the oldest Little Tern ringed anywhere in the world, and it’s still producing chicks!

Volunteers at Gronant have installed live-streaming cameras from a couple of nests. With Denbighshire Council wardens they are also starting a programme of diversionary feeding to provide a local pair of Kestrels with an alternative food source to fledging terns.

The first signs of autumn wader migration came with Spotted Redshanks at RSPB Conwy and at Connah’s Quay , where up to three Great White Egrets have been feeding.

Thursday 12 July 2018

Albino kingfisher chick draws birding community to East Coast Park

JUL 3, 2018, 10:07 PM SGT

SINGAPORE - A rare albino kingfisher chick is shooting to mini-stardom among the birding community here, after it was spotted last Wednesday (June 27) by wildlife observers at East Coast Park.

While white-collared kingfishers are common in Singapore, the sighting of an albino one was the first for many watchers, said observers.

The bird first flew into the public eye on Facebook pages such as the Nature Society (Singapore) group, and has made regular appearances online since.

Volunteers wanted for rare bird study on isolated N.S. islands

Applicants must be prepared for long hours, rustic accommodations, physical exertion and severe weather

Frances Willick · CBC News · Posted: Jul 03, 2018 12:00 PM AT | Last Updated: July 3

It could be a trip of a lifetime or your worst nightmare: being stuck on an isolated island for weeks at a time with no running water or electricity, rustic shared accommodations and potential exposure to extreme weather.

The volunteer application for a study on rare birds warns applicants of the position's challenges: "If you cannot take isolation, communal living, long hours, physical exertion, bugs, the heat, the cold, irregular supplies of fresh food, or primitive working conditions, this may not be the right job for you."

Researchers from Oxford University and Acadia University are travelling to Seal Island and Bon Portage Island to study why rare birds end up off the coast of mainland Nova Scotia and whether they make it back to their fall migration destinations.

Lucinda Zawadzki, a PhD student at Oxford, explains that since rare birds are by definition infrequent visitors, "nobody really has an understanding of why or how they get here."

Vulture chicks and rare bird eggs seized at Heathrow airport

Man arrested and bailed after discovery of 19 eggs from South African birds of prey

Press Association
Fri 29 Jun 2018 13.44 BSTLast modified on Fri 29 Jun 2018 17.05 BST

Two vulture chicks and more than a dozen eggs containing rare and endangered species have been seized at Heathrow airport.

Border Force officers confiscated 19 eggs, two of which had hatched, from a man who had arrived on a flight from South Africa.

While the exact species have not yet been identified, the eggs, which had been concealed in a body belt, were from South African birds of prey including vultures, eagles, hawks and kites, the Home Office said.

Border Force specialist officers identified that the eggs were protected under the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species. The chicks and eggs were being cared for at a specialist facility, the Home Office said.

The man, 56, was arrested and bailed pending further inquiries. The investigation has been passed to the National Crime Agency.