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.

Saturday, 24 January 2015

Large bird found on the run in West Moors

First published Friday 23 January 2015 in News
Last updated 09:18 Friday 23 January 2015by Katy Griffin, Reporter

A LARGE bird was found on the run in the West Moors area of East Dorset.

Large bird found on the run in West MoorsThe RSPCA is trying to track down the owner of the Rhea, which was found yesterday (Thursday).
The large bird, similar to an ostrich, was found roaming in the area, and appears to be well and uninjured but no one has been able to get close enough to be sure.

The rhea was found trapped between two lines of fencing and after being carefully herded to safety, is now being held on a farm in the area.

RSPCA staff are monitoring the bird while searching for where it might have come from and are very keen to reunite it with its owner as soon as possible.

RSPCA animal welfare officer Sue Brooks said: “I’ve been an officer for over ten years and I’ve never seen a rhea in the area! We’ve had wallabies before, but this is a new one.

Rare and endangered species feature in Megamalai's first-ever bird survey

THENI: The first-ever bird survey in Megamalai wildlilfe sanctuary in Theni district recorded 198 bird species, including 26 migrant bird species. The sanctuary- which is relatively new compared to other sanctuaries in the region- shares its boundaries with Srivilliputhur grizzled squirrel sanctuary and Periyar tiger reserve in Kerala. It is rich in flora and fauna, ranging from shrub forests to evergreen forests and also hosts a variety of birds, mammals, reptiles and butterflies.

Between November 15 and 16, expert bird watchers had carried out a bird survey in the sanctuary, setting up 14 camp sites. Teams of bird watchers, each consisting of an expert and an assistant, covered the whole sanctuary. They recorded a total of 172 resident species. Among these, the red-whiskered bulbul was spotted in all the 14 camp areas, followed closely by the grey jungle fowl which was seen in 12 sites and the spotted dove, southern coucal, white-cheeked barbet and purple-rumped sunbird in 11 areas.

RSPB - Big Garden Birdwatch weekend- 24-25th January

Throats slit, Florida pelicans dying in serial slashings

By Letitia Stein

TAMPA, Fla. (Reuters) - Brown pelicans with slit throat pouches have been washing up this month in south Florida, triggering community outcry as authorities investigate what they suspect are serial slashings.

About 10 birds have died, and another four were injured, according to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission. The culprit apparently used a knife to slit the large gullets beneath their beaks, spokesman Robert Dube said.

The birds use the oversized pouches to swallow fish skimmed from the water. Once slashed, they can starve to death.

"It's a slow, agonizing death for these animals," Dube said.

The maimed pelicans have been turning up around the lower Florida Keys, located in the southernmost part of the state.

Friday, 23 January 2015

The bird runner


Running more than 10 000km for environmental issues close to his heart – with one journey spanning almost the full breadth of Canada – was not enough for Dave Chamberlain.

The athlete and former scuba-diving instructor will now be lending his talents to saving the critically endangered white-winged flufftail in a run from Dullstroom to Johannesburg.
“This species is one of those ‘hidden gems’ with a population found in Mpumalanga, Free State and KwaZulu-Natal – and the next closest group found nearly 4 000km away in Ethiopia. That’s fascinating,” Chamberlain told Daily News this week.

The birds have been found in high altitude wetlands in KZN, including Franklin Vlei, Penny Park, Hebron near Kokstad, Ingula and Murphy’s Rust near Ladysmith, as well as a single record from Mfabeni in the St Lucia area.

Chamberlain’s new six-day, 281km adventure starts on February 1. He will cover on average about 50km a day, pulling a trailer containing his food supplies. He will use the trailer as a makeshift shelter at night.

The Pretoria man said environmental issues were something he was passionate about, having spent considerable time under water in various oceans around the world.

“We must look after what we have and do what we can to protect it. Think about what goes into a migration. Some animals travel thousands of kilometres and we take that for granted,” he said.

Rare bird sighted in Rajapalayam


Broad-tailed Grassbird.jpgDuring the Pongal bird count, a team of birder spotted the Broad-tailed grass bird, which is endemic to the Western Ghats.

A group of young birders have spotted the Broad-tailed grass bird near a reservoir on the outskirts of Rajapalayam during the Pongal bird count.
On the final day of the count on January 18, the team, led by birder and wildlife photographer Sharan Venkatesh spotted this rare bird, which is endemic to the Western Ghats.

“We sighted just this bird among the prinias [small insectivorous birds]. It looked different. Initially, we were not sure what bird it was. After photographing it, we came to know that it was a rare sighting,” says Sharan, a final year student at the Thiagarajar College of Engineering, Madurai.

The four-member team, comprising Sankar, Pranav and Lokesh, all members of the Wildlife Association of Rajapalayam (WAR), also sighted Osprey, Striated heron, Orange-headed ground thrush and Yellow-footed green pigeon among 150-species of birds identified in the count.

More than 1,400 sign up for Big Farmland Bird Count

Thursday 22 January 2015 5:30

More than 1,400 farmers across the country have signed up to the second Big Farmland Bird Count.

The event, led by the Game & Wildlife Conservation Trust (GWCT), will take place from 7-15 February.

It aims to help farmers and gamekeepers record the effect on farmland bird numbers of any conservation schemes on their land, such as supplementary feeding or growing wild bird seed crops and game cover crops.

Jim Egan, from the GWCT’s Allerton Project, said: “It is crucial that farmers understand how these vital ‘greening’ measures are helping some of our most rapidly declining birds and importantly, what species are benefiting from these measures.