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.

Tuesday, 21 October 2014

Farmer convicted of killing vultures

October 20 2014 at 09:16am 
By Kieran Legg

For some of the people working tirelessly to look after the Cape vulture s dwindling population, the sentence is nothing more than a slap on the wrist.

Cape Town - An Eastern Cape farmer has been convicted of killing 46 endangered vultures after the birds feasted on a poison-laced sheep’s carcass he had left outside to kill a pack of stray dogs.

Last week he was sentenced to a year in prison, suspended for five years, and ordered to pay more than R20 000.

For some of the people working tirelessly to look after the Cape vulture’s dwindling population, the sentence is nothing more than a slap on the wrist. Conservationists are now calling for laws around the use of poison and the protection of animals to be re-evaluated to save the birds from extinction.

In December last year, Armand Aucamp – a 34-year-old farmer with a plot of land in the province’s Molteno district – had laced a sheep’s carcass with the insecticide carbofuran.

Rehabiliting the endangered Crane in east Africa

Once a flourishing species, Crane numbers have fallen 80% in Rwanda. A new initiative looks to rehabilitate the birds and return them to the wild

Olivier Nsengimana

The Guardian, Tuesday 21 October 2014 11.34 BST

Only the other day I saw a man walking through the wealthier part of town with two grey crowned-cranes tucked under his arms wrapped in blankets, probably looking for a potential buyer. I remember, as a child, going to fetch water and hearing the sound of the grey crowned-cranes.

They foraged in the marshes at the bottom of the hill I lived on – beautiful, long-legged birds with their golden crests and their head-bobbing dance. I’d go to get water, and I could hear their booming calls. Sadly, they are no longer there. These days you’re more likely to see one strutting around a garden or the grounds of a hotel than you are in the wild. What few people realise is that they are endangered, and it is illegal to poach or sell the birds.

People cut the feathers so that they can’t fly away, and sometimes even break their wings. It’s ironic in a way, because in Rwanda people prize the birds as a symbol of wealth and longevity, and yet most of the birds die in captivity, due to stress, injuries and malnutrition. They die without ever breeding. The crane population has fallen by around 80% in the past 45 years and, with only a few hundred left in the wild, the International Union for Conservation of Nature has put the bird on the endangered list. It is for this reason that I decided to act.

Later supper for blackbirds in the city: Artificial light gives birds longer to forage for food

October 20, 2014

Helmholtz Centre For Environmental Research - UFZ

Artificial light increases foraging time in blackbirds. Birds in city centers are active not just considerably earlier, but also for longer than their relatives in darker parts of the city. The study showed that artificial light has a considerable influence on the activity times of blackbirds in the city and therefore on their natural cycles.

Monday, 20 October 2014

Canaport LNG faces charges for bird kill

Environment Canada accuses company of violating laws that protect sensitive and threatened species

By Neville Crabbe, CBC News Posted: Oct 20, 2014 6:29 AM AT Last Updated: Oct 20, 2014 6:29 AM AT

A large number of red-eyed vireos were among the estimated 7,500 migrating songbirds killed by the flare at Canaport LNG in Saint John. (Courtesy of the Migration Research Foundation)

Canaport LNG faces three charges after an estimated 7,500 songbirds flew in to a gas flare at the Saint John plant last September, CBC News has learned.

Kate Shannon, a company spokesperson, confirms Canaport was informed of the charges late last week.

The charges include two alleged violations of the Migratory Birds Convention Act and one from the Species at Risk Act. Each violation carries a maximum fine of $1,000,000 for an indictable offence.

Shannon said the company is considering its options.

"We're currently reviewing the charges as we just received them on Thursday and we will respond in due course," she said.

The charges come one year after federal enforcement officers carried out search warrants at Canaport LNG.

At the time, uniformed Environment Canada officers were monitoring people entering and leaving the facility, but it's unclear what evidence or items were seized.

The real-life road runner: Huge rhea bird has been on the loose on British streets for TWO YEARS foiling all attempts to catch it

Common Rhea, native to South America, spotted in the English countryside
Giant bird was photographed near the RAF Odiham base, in Hampshire
Flightless birds can go up to six feet tall and weigh up to four stone
The Rhea, nicknamed Ron, has been on the loose for two years 

PUBLISHED: 10:09, 20 October 2014 | UPDATED: 11:38, 20 October 2014

An ostrich-sized bird that is capable of disembowelling a human with its claws has been seen roaming around the English countryside.

The South American rhea, which stands six feet tall and can run at 40mph, has been on the run for two years foiling all attempts to catch it.

The giant flightless bird, which has six-inch claws and could kill with a single blow, was photographed by Steve Lynes near the RAF Odiham base in Hampshire.

Climate change alters cast of winter birds

Date: October 17, 2014

Source: University of Wisconsin-Madison

Summary: Over the past two decades, the resident communities of birds that attend eastern North America’s backyard bird feeders in winter have quietly been remade, most likely as a result of a warming climate.

Scale of declines of UK migratory birds wintering in Africa revealed

October 17, 2014

BirdLife International

The migration of millions of birds across the face of the planet is one of nature's greatest annual events. Every spring some species move in one direction, while every autumn those same species move in the opposite one, very often linking continents. Although these migration patterns are as regular as the seasons, monitoring is revealing that, for some species, fewer birds are making the journey each season as the populations of these birds, including species nesting in the UK, are declining rapidly.