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.

Monday, 16 January 2017

Israel’s national bird spotted in Kerala

A rare migratory bird, Hoopoe, has been sighted at Kayamkulam. The bird belonging to an endangered species, is characterised by a crown of feathers and a cry ‘oop, oop’, from which it derives its name.

The migratory bird is a rare sight in Kerala, says Harikumar, a bird watcher, who, along with Srimon, Secretary of Alappuzha Natural History society, had spotted the bird at the TKMM College grounds.

Hoopoe is the national bird of Israel. Its features include black and white stripes on its wings and tail. Its flight resembles that of a giant butterfly.

“It is a dryland species found outside Kerala, mostly in Tamil Nadu. The sighting in Alappuzha is rare. Two years ago, a Hoopoe was found at Nooranad,” he said.


Israel’s 500 million birds: The world’s eighth wonder

German journalist and photographer Thomas Krumenacker was amazed by the bird migrations he witnessed in Israel. He couldn’t help but write the book on the subject.
By Zafrir Rinat Jan 13, 2017
read more:

Migratory birds love Israel, now Israel is out to lure bird-watchers
Israel has best bird conservation record in the region
In Pictures Flights of fancy: Bird migration in Israel's Hula Valley

A working visit to Israel by German journalist and photographer Thomas Krumenacker 11 years ago changed his life. After witnessing the seasonal migration of birds here, he made his hobby something much more serious. The result: his book “Birds in the Holy Land,” which has just come out in German and English.

The work was published with the help of the Hoopoe Bird Foundation, founded by Rachel and Moshe Yanai and administered by the Society for the Protection of Nature in Israel. Krumenacker lives in Berlin but visits Israel often. He follows the birds from the heights of Mount Hermon to the Gulf of Eilat.

The book’s photos and accompanying text show why birds’ migration along the length of the country has been termed “the eighth wonder of the world.” In a short period, more than 500 bird species pass overhead, and almost every year a new species not seen before in Israel is observed.

read more:

Sunday, 15 January 2017

Alien bird risk from pet trade

By Helen Briggs BBC News

13 January 2017

The trade in caged birds poses a risk to native species if the pets escape into the wild, UK researchers say.

They identified almost 1,000 species of bird introduced into new areas by human activity over the past 500 years.

More than half of these arrived after 1950, probably driven by the trade in exotic birds.

Global demand for parrots, finches, starlings and other exotic birds has soared.

"Areas that are good for native birds are also good for alien birds," said Prof Tim Blackburn, of University College London and the Zoological Society of London, who worked on the study.

"It's a worry because aliens may threaten the survival of native species."
Alien birds Image copyright SPL Image caption The ring-necked parakeet is now a common sight in London
Ring-necked Parakeets: introduced from the Asian subcontinent, these birds are now common living wild in and around the south-east of England, where they can compete with native species for food and breeding sites
Ruddy ducks: a cull was ordered in the UK after ruddy ducks from North America were found to be breeding with native European ducks

The first wave of introductions happened in the mid-19th Century as Europeans, predominantly the British, deliberately moved game birds such as duck, geese, grouse and pheasants into new territories.


'More awareness about birds species today through citizens' participation'

Vijay Singh | TNN | Jan 14, 2017, 06.38 PM IST

MUMBAI: There is much more awareness today about the vivid bird species in and around Mumbai region, thanks to informative online blogs, books and also enthusiastic citizens participation in events like bird count, bird watching among others. As the Bombay Natural History Society (BNHS) gears up for its pan-India bird count on January 15 by inviting nature lovers and naturalists to participate by registering via Google Earth, veteran bird watcher and author, Sunjoy Monga, is releasing an in-depth nature guide called `Birds of the Mumbai region

Read on

Friday, 13 January 2017

Bird species vanish from UK due to climate change and habitat loss

Rising temperatures and crop farming mean birds are disappearing from parts of England, says study, while butterflies and dragonflies are faring better

Damian Carrington

Wednesday 11 January 2017 06.00 GMT Last modified on Wednesday 11 January 2017 08.44 GMT

Climate change has already led to the vanishing of some bird species in parts of England, where intensively farmed land gives them no room to adapt to warming temperatures. The revelation, in a new scientific study, contradicts previous suggestions that birds are tracking global warming by shifting their ranges.

The research found that birds that prefer cooler climes, such as meadow pipits, willow tits and willow warblers, have disappeared from sites in south-east England and East Anglia, where intensive crop growing is common.

“Birds are facing a double-edged sword from climate change and declines in habitat quality,” said Tom Oliver, at the University of Reading, who led the new study. “In England, birds really look like they are struggling to cope with climate change. They are already being hit with long-term reductions in habitat quality and, for the cold-associated birds, those losses are being further exacerbated by climate change.”

“Climate change is with us, here and now, and its effects on wildlife are increasingly well documented,” said Mike Morecroft, principal climate change specialist at Natural England, and part of the research team.

Simon Gillings, at the British Trust for Ornithology, and another member of the research team, said: “Intensive [land] management is making it harder for cold-associated birds to find cool corners of sites, or to disperse away from warming regions.”

But Oliver noted that showing the impact of climate change on wildlife is affected by the availability of good habitats means action can be taken: “We are not completely at the mercy of climate change.” Creating larger natural areas in strategic places will help species cope with a changing climate, the scientists said.


Rare bird dies at Washington National Zoo

By Martin Weil January 10

However anyone defines a rare bird, one of the feathered flyers residing at the National Zoo seemed to fit the bill. According to the zoo it was one of only 146 members of its species in the entire world.

Given that small population, it was easy to believe that, as the zoo said, of all the birds and beasts in its collection, the bird, a Guam Kingfisher, belonged to the “most endangered species” there.

On Saturday, the zoo said, the bird died. He was 17 years old, the zoo said, making him a survivor among survivors, a long-lived member of the small band who were his avian brethren.

In the words of the announcement made Monday by the zoo, he was “geriatric for his species.”

In Washington, this Guam Kingfisher made his home at the zoo’s Bird House. Before coming to the zoo in July of 2013, he had been spending his blue-backed time at the Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute in Front Royal, Va.

Members of the species often measure about 10 inches in length, with a prominent, pointed bill that is as long as two inches.

Although the kingfisher had enjoyed a longer life in which to display his cinnamon- colored belly than many of his species, his death was nevertheless sad, the zoo said.

He was not the only Guam kingfisher at the zoo or the Front Royal facility. A report in Smithsonian magazine a little more than five years ago, placed the population at the two places at 10. It noted that at the time of its 2011 publication, two new ones had just been born at the conservation institute.


Thursday, 12 January 2017

The Poor Bustard! Court Order Protecting Endangered Bird Flouted

Manon Verchot
Yesterday, 12:27 pm

Two new windmills have popped up near Desert National Park despite a court order for construction to stop.

The turbines, built not far from Jaisalmer, are in the flight path of the Great Indian Bustard, a critically endangered species with around 200 individuals left. Construction was supposed to be halted until an Eco-Sensitive Zone was demarcated.

The Great Indian Bustard was almost poached to extinction over the past four decades. Though the birds are still hunted for sport in Pakistan, a hunting ban in India has managed to protect 140 bustards in Rajasthan.

The government set up a Rs 12 crore project to save the bustard, which they launched in 2015. Late last year, 11 chicks successfully hatched in Dessert National Park, bringing the number up to 151.

But the new windmills threaten to undo this progress. Conservation activists say the bustards could be killed by the windmill blades, and that the noise made by these mills disturbs the birds.