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, 16 February 2018

Experts try to determine what killed 32 rare trumpeter swans in Iowa

Associated PressPublished 3:17 p.m. CT Feb. 9, 2018

The remains of a trumpeter swan are being analyzed in hopes of solving the mystery of what killed 32 of the rare birds in western Clinton County.

The Quad-City Times reports a hunter found remains of the birds on Jan. 30 in a privately owned wetland area. Most of the birds had been scavenged but at least one full carcass remained and it along with partial remains were sent to the Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory at Iowa State University.

Mark Roberts, of Clinton County Conservation, called the discovery "shocking."

Trumpeter swans, North America's largest waterfowl species, were once on the brink of extinction but thanks to a decades-long effort now have an estimated population of more than 63,000 adult birds.

Birds vanishing fast from Mumbai, reveals study

Analysis of Mumbai BirdRace data from 2008 to 2017 reveals drastic decline in bird sightings
MUMBAI Updated: Feb 01, 2018 10:17 IST

Snehal Fernandes
Hindustan Times

Degradation and loss of habitats to make way for construction in and around Mumbai has led to a significant decline in sightings of birds in the past 10 years, revealed an analysis of bird sightings logged during the Mumbai BirdRaces between 2008 and 2017.

A drastic decline in sightings was recorded at the Sanjay Gandhi National Park (SGNP) from 101 in 2008 to 52 in 2017. this was followed by Uran (179 to 79) and Phansad Wildlife Sanctuary (102 to 46). In the past two years, eight species have neither been sighted nor heard at the SGNP alone. While six species have not been recorded at any of the seven locations visited during the bird race.

“Birds are important for the ecology because they help in pollination and seed dispersion and maintain water table in forests,” said H N Kumara, senior scientist, conservation biology, Salim Ali Centre for Ornithology and Natural History, Tamil Nadu. “Bird races help in spreading awareness and can work as a stepping stone for citizen science movements, which can lead to large-scale scientific monitoring of birds across the country to help in their conservation.”
The 14th Mumbai BirdRace will be held on February 4 with 260 bird enthusiasts, including 20 children, participating in the event.

Is This the Year the Florida Grasshopper Sparrow Goes Extinct?

With just a few dozen left in the wild, things don’t look good for these critically endangered birds. But a captive-breeding program could help save them.

January 31, 2018 - by John R. Platt
Mary Peterson, USFWS

This year the United States could experience its first bird extinction in more than three decades.
That’s the warning from the scientists and conservationists working to protect the critically endangered Florida grasshopper sparrow (Ammodramus savannarum floridanus). Once common in the grasslands of central Florida, this geographically isolated subspecies has experienced a catastrophic population decline since the 1970s, mostly due to habitat loss and degradation. Although the tiny birds have been protected by the Endangered Species Act since 1986, their numbers have continued to fall — to the point where recovery now seems next to impossible. A survey last year found that just 22 females and 53 males remained in the wild — and that was before 2017’s hurricane season and record-setting winter cold snaps.

“Extinctions really happen,” warns Paul Reillo, zoologist and president of the Rare Species Conservatory Foundation in Loxahatchee, Fla. “This is going to be North America’s next extinct bird if we do nothing.”

Conservation efforts by Turkish ministries boosts number of endangered ibis by 6 times

February 1, 2018

The number of endangered northern bald ibis in Turkey have almost multiplied by six in the past 16 years, thanks to conservation efforts by the Ministry of Forestry and Natural Resources, and the Ministry of Environment, reports said Thursday.

According to a statement released by the ministry of forestry, the number of northern bald ibis, also known as Geronticus eremita, increased to 240 in 2017 from just 42 in 2001.

Some 47 endangered birds were born last year alone, the ministry added.

In cooperation with the ministry of environment and the ministry of forestry, a semi-wild colony was established in southeastern Şanlıurfa province's Birecik district to prevent the extinction of the northern bald ibis.

Here, the birds were put under protection after the breeding season to prevent migration, which usually takes place in July or August.

The Minister of Forestry and Water Works, Veysel Eroğlu, said that the ministry started using tracking devices on birds in 2008 to observe their migration patterns.

Raptors guarding Mexico City’s airport to ward off ‘bird strikes’

FEB 2, 2018

MEXICO CITY – Far from the crowds of passengers, lines and passport control, Madison spreads his wings on the side of a runway at Mexico City’s international airport, the busiest in Latin America.

He is one of several peregrine falcons deployed to prevent “bird strikes” — a hazardous collision between birds and planes that can have dangerous and even catastrophic consequences.

In 2009, for instance, a U.S. Airways jet had to ditch in the Hudson River in New York after a flock of birds took out its engines. In January this year, a Mexico-bound KLM flight made an emergency landing after hitting birds on takeoff in the Netherlands.

“It’s dangerous. Birds don’t mix with planes. They can hit a turbine,” Oscar Chavez, a 26-year-old who is one of the biologists handling the falcons, told AFP.

Each day, Madison and another peregrine falcon named Ilse are on duty at the airport, which sees 44 million passengers pass through it each year.

Duck faeces shed light on plant seed dispersal

Date:  February 5, 2018
Source:  British Ecological Society (BES)

Mallards are among the most abundant and widespread duck species in the world, yet little attention has been paid to date to their role in spreading plant seeds. A new study in the Journal of Ecology reveals a number of plants that were not previously known to be part of the diet of waterbirds.

Thursday, 15 February 2018

Two rare whio ducks arrive at Rotorua's Rainbow Springs

2 Feb, 2018 5:30am

A pair of endangered whio have just landed at Rotorua's Rainbow Springs.

The breeding pair of native blue ducks were welcomed by Ngāi Tahu Tourism, owner of Rainbow Springs, which is thrilled to have them.

This is the first time the attraction has had whio in residence.

Whio are found only in New Zealand, and are rarer than some species of kiwi.

They are classified as endangered, with an estimated population of 2000 to 3000 birds.

The pair have come from the Isaac Conservation and Wildlife Trust in Peacock Springs, Canterbury, and will be housed in a large aviary with kaka and sacred kingfishers.

Rainbow Springs wildlife programme manager Mark Paterson said it was exciting, not just for Rainbow Springs, but for all of Rotorua.

"These are so rare, you never get to see them. For me, what's most exciting is having the opportunity to contribute to conservation of the species.