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.

Friday, 18 April 2014

BIRD ESCAPES: Large rhea bird on the loose around east Hertfordshire

- last updated Mon 14 Apr 2014

A village in east Hertfordshire is on the lookout after a large bird similar to an emu was seen wandering in the fields.
The rhea went missing from its owner four weeks ago in Brent Pelham - it is around four feet tall and has been spotted several times, but, with it being able to hit speeds of 40 miles per hour, so far no-one has been able to catch it.

Ray Murdoch caught sight of the bird on a bike ride through Nuthampstead. He managed to take a few photos before it ran off.

Bird health check offers encouragement

Published on the16April 

The results of a survey to gauge the health of winged wildlife on farms show that “huge” conservation efforts by Yorkshire farmers are paying off, environmental experts say.

Sightings of birds were voluntarily recorded at 28 farms in the region as part of the Game and Wildlife Conservation Trust’s first Big Farmland Bird Count.

More than 6,000 hectares of farmland was monitored in Yorkshire, and over 4,400 birds were spotted during a seven-day period in February. In total, farmers across England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland noted 116 different species. Starlings were seen at more than 40 per cent of farms and were the most abundant bird recorded.

Otherwise, in Yorkshire, the most populous species included the fieldfare, jackdaw, lapwing, linnet, rook and woodpigeon.

Govt 'careless and callous' about threatened birds

Wednesday, 16 April, 2014 - 16:07

The National Government is increasing the threat to two of the world’s most threatened and unique birds by opening up Victoria Forest Park to petroleum drilling, the Green Party said today.

Scientists have recently published a ranking of the 100 most evolutionary distinct birds under threat from extinction. The birds on this list are of special conservation concern; they have no close relatives that share their DNA and are truly irreplaceable. Two birds on this list, the kaka and the south island wren, known in New Zealand as the rock wren, live in Victoria Forest Park which the Government has just opened up for petroleum exploration.

"The National Government is proposing to allow petroleum exploration in the habitat of two of the world’s most unique and threatened birds, the rock wren and the kaka," said Green Party conservation spokesperson Eugenie Sage.

"The kaka and rock wren are irreplaceable birds species on the edge of extinction and yet the National Government is increasing the risk to their existence, rather than protecting them.

Conservation Funds Granted To Patoka River

On March 26, the Migratory Bird Conservation Commission approved $61.3 million in funding to protect, restore and enhance more than 205,000 acres of wetlands and associated uplands in the United States, Canada and Mexico. Of that, approximately $6.5 million will go toward projects in the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s Midwest Region.

In Indiana, the Patoka River NWR Expansion has been granted $1 million with a $2.1 million matching fund amount. This project focuses on wetland and upland habitat protection, restoration and enhancement within Patoka River National Wildlife Refuge. Project activities will provide important migration, wintering and breeding areas for waterfowl, benefit rare and endangered species of wildlife and fish associated with large river ecosystems, improve water quality and help stimulate local economies through recreation on project lands.

“Conservation of our nation’s wetlands is critical to protecting our wildlife, watersheds, coastal communities and important economic activities,” said Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell, Chair of the Commission. “Wetlands not only are home to hundreds of species of migratory birds, but they also provide us with clean water, act as buffers against storms, support our vibrant coastal fishing industries, and provide unique opportunities for outdoor recreation.”

CRUELTY TO BIRDS: Owl would you like it? Terrified bird who got stage fright on 'cruel' Britain's Got Talent

Rocky the eagle own performed during Birmingham live audition
His terrified appearance has seen RSPCA criticise the show
More than 11m saw Rocky on stage on Britain's Got Talent on Saturday

PUBLISHED: 22:30, 13 April 2014 | UPDATED: 09:57, 14 April 2014

Frozen on the spot amid booming music and dazzling lights, an apparently terrified owl has to be coaxed to perform on Britain’s Got Talent.

Rocky the eagle owl’s stressed appearance during live auditions has left the ITV show facing accusations of animal cruelty.

The RSPCA said it was ‘very disappointed’ that producers had subjected the bird to the ordeal, while scores of viewers criticised the decision.

More than 11million saw Rocky nervously take to the noisy, theatrically lit stage shortly after the episode started on Saturday night.

Owner Andrew Charlton led the owl out in front of apparatus usually used by dogs in agility contests before the judges, led by Simon Cowell, and a theatre audience of 2,000.

DHEC wants SC residents to collect dead birds


The Greenville NewsApril 16, 2014 

Birds that could be infected with West Nile virus

GREENVILLE, SC — If you see a dead bird, South Carolina’s health department wants you to pick it up, with gloves on of course.

The state wants citizens to collect birds that recently died to help the Department of Health and Environmental Control monitor the spread of West Nile virus in South Carolina this year.

The virus begins to show up in mid-March and normally lasts through November, DHEC says.

If you spot a dead blue jay, crow, house sparrow or house finch, you should put on gloves or use double layers of plastic bags to pick it up and take it to local collection stations, said Chris Evans, an entomologist with DHEC’s Bureau of Laboratories.

West Nile is carried through the bird population, but mosquitoes that feast on birds can spread the virus to humans, Evans said.

Read more here:

Thursday, 17 April 2014

WATCH: Victoria’s hummingbird live cam a big hit with online audiences

By Yuliya Talmazan Global News

A live stream of a hummingbird nest in Victoria is attracting hundreds of bird watchers, and the man behind it is now being courted by BBC to help produce a documentary about the tiny birds in Alaska.

Bird photographer Eric Pittman has been observing hummingbirds in his Victoria backyard for years.

A bird that Pittman and his wife affectionately named Sweetiebird was the first one he photographed.

Sweetiebird went on to raise six generations of chicks in his backyard.

“She just kept on making nests, so she stayed in my yard, and I kept photographing the birds,” says Pittman.

Sweetiebird has since passed away, and has been replaced by Flower, who has had two chicks in Pittman’s backyard that have fledged just 10 days ago and are now the stars of the live stream that broadcasts their daily life to hundreds of people.

Pittman says when he first set up his live cam four years ago, he got half-a-million views.

In all, Pittman filmed about 60 hummingbird nests from egg to flight.

“The nest is the size of a golf ball, and the egg is the size of a coffee bean. When the chicks hatch, they are like a raisin. It is really difficult to photograph, but that is the challenge and that is what I like about it.”