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, 30 November 2013

Jurong Bird Park raises awareness on shrinking native bird population

The population of rare native birds in Singapore is shrinking due to urbanisation and diminishing habitats. To raise awareness on how the public can help to protect them, the Jurong Bird Park has organised its very first Native Birds' Day on November 23 and 24.

SINGAPORE: The population of rare native birds in Singapore is shrinking due to urbanisation and diminishing habitats.

To raise awareness on how the public can help to protect them, the Jurong Bird Park has organised its very first Native Birds' Day on November 23 and 24.

The Bali Mynah, which is endemic to Bali, is among the rarest birds in Singapore. Another rare bird is the Oriental Pied Hornbill - with fewer than 100 left in Singapore.

It's that bird off the news! BBC studio invaded by tiny WREN that perches behind presenter (and yes, she tweeted about it later)

An inquisitive bird hit the headlines when it flew into a busy TV studio and perched itself - next to a newsreader.

This is the moment viewers of a live BBC news bulletin were sent in to a flap when a bird (ringed) flew into the studio and landed on a monitorRegional BBC presenter Alison Johns was in the middle of a live breakfast bulletin when the feathered visitor landed on a monitor just behind her.
The bird, believed to be a wren, remained in shot for several seconds before Ms Johns handed over to the weather forecast.

The TV anchor had no idea it was right behind her but as soon as she was off air staff captured the creature and carefully released it into the wild.

Ms Johns, a reporter and presenter for West Country-based BBC Spotlight, tweeted a still of the bird afterwards, saying: 'Unexpected guest with me in @BBCSpotlight studio this morning!'

Animal Rights Group Alleges Cruelty At Minn. Turkey Farm

November 26, 2013 4:23 PM

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Before you place a turkey at your table, one animal rights group wants you to know how some turkeys are allegedly being treated at a Minnesota farm.

The video released by Compassion Over Killing (COK) features a hidden camera investigation at a farm they claim is Hargin Inc. in Starbuck, Minn.

“This is where about 25,000 female turkeys are locked these large massive, cruel and filthy sheds,” Erica Meier, executive director of COK, said.

Friday, 29 November 2013

Extinction threat for Ireland’s iconic birds

24 NOVEMBER 2013
SOME of Ireland’s most iconic bird species are in dramatic decline with one-in-eight now deemed to face an extinction threat.

The warning came as a major ornithological conference in University College Cork (UCC) heard that the species decline has occurred despite the greatest conservation effort in Irish history.

The threat is now so severe that, within the next 10 years, some of Ireland’s moved loved bird species may vanish from the island altogether.

Some species have seen their numbers plummet by almost 80pc in 25 years.

Species now under greatest threat include the Curlew, the Corncrake, Barn Owl and the Yellowhammer.

3 volunteer artists help Norfolk zoo protect birds

NORFOLK Artists are using their skills to help reduce the risk of birds flying into animal exhibit windows at the Virginia Zoo in Norfolk.

Three volunteers created artwork using reflective bird tape at the zoo’s tiger pool and otter-gibbon viewing areas.

The Virginia Zoo has been working with Old Dominion University to study the correlation of different patterns of bird tape to bird strikes on windows.

The species of bird that concerns zoo officials is the yellow-rumped warbler. The bird tape will be removed at the end of the month when the birds’ migration period ends.

'Bird Man' Nabbed in Illegal Avian Import Scheme

Israeli man stopped by import inspectors at Ben Gurion Airport trying to smuggle 40 Zebra Finches into Israel.
By David Lev
First Publish: 11/24/2013, 3:40 PM

An Israeli who returned from a trip to Holland was stopped by customs inspectors at Ben Gurion Airport Sunday morning – when he was found trying to smuggle 40 Zebra Finches into Israel.

The traveler walked through the “green lane” on his way into the passenger terminal, indicating that he did not have anything for the customs inspectors to check, and owed no duty on the items he was bringing into the country.

Yellow-breasted bunting 'endangered' as Guangdong diners refuse to stop eating it

It's a delicacy sold for a few dozen yuan amid hushed tones in certain markets and restaurants in Guangdong province. Sellers turn away customers who do not speak the local dialect - anyone caught can be fined as much as 100,000 yuan (HK$126,400).
Despite the threat of penalties, the market for yellow-breasted bunting, a migratory bird that flies from Europe to China for the winter, thrives on the mainland. Conservationists say poaching to supply the demand is a leading cause of the sharp decline in the protected species' numbers over the past decade.

The bird was today listed as endangered by the main global body that categorises the survival status of the planet's species, the International Union for Conservation of Nature. The union has two higher categories - critical and extinct in the wild - before a species is deemed extinct.

Thursday, 28 November 2013

'Extinct' South Island kokako could still be alive

A claimed sighting of the South Island kokako, a bird declared extinct six years ago, has fuelled hopes the species could still be alive.

Is the South Island kokako extinct? Maybe not. Painting by Jean Gabriel PretreAdvocacy group Forest and Bird said a sighting of the bird by two people near Reefton in 2007 had recently been accepted by the Ornithological Society's Records Appraisal Committee, which monitors the status of rare and endangered birds.
Before the Reefton sighting, the last accepted sighting of a South Island kokako was in 1967.

Te Ara Encyclopaedia of New Zealand says the kokako's haunting, evocative call is unlike any other bird's.

Robot Penguin Spy Cams Capture Rare Moments

A penguin couple attempting to stage a “chick-napping” after losing their own baby. Another penguin flipping its tail under to keep its egg from freezing. A hungry predator that thought it had picked up dinner instead inadvertently became the first bird to capture an aerial-view shot.

These are just some of the incredibly rare penguin moments caught on cameras filmmakers hid inside life-sized animatronic penguins and then placed among colonies of the real marine birds. There are 17 species of penguin worldwide and these robots look and move like the real thing.

Video: Pensthorpe crane recovers from pioneering eye surgery

Life had become a blur for the crane whose fuzzy vision had kept him in captivity. Experts were baffled by the Eurasian crane’s unusual behaviour which saw him spend a lot time on his own and lose weight.
As a result, the three-year-old bird was kept at the Pensthorpe Conservation Trust (PCT), near Fakenham.
After a specialist eye examination, however, it was discovered that he had cataracts in both eyes and a decision was made to operate on him.
Now, he has become the first crane in the UK known to have been successfully operated on for cataracts and is enjoying a new lease of life.

Wednesday, 27 November 2013

Human Expansion Is Leaving Osprey of Canaries Cornered

Nov. 21, 2013 — A team of scientists from the GOHNIC Association in the Canary Islands has concluded in a study that human expansion could be one of the main causes of the precarious situation of ospreys in the archipelago, a species at risk of extinction.

The osprey, an endangered bird species, has sparse spawning stock in the Canaries. Researchers from the Ornithology and Natural History Group of the Canary Islands (GOHNIC) have studied the areas in which non-migratory ospreys (Pandion haliaetus) on these islands currently choose to nest and which ones they used in the past, in order to assess both their density and their habitat selection.

Barn owl nestlings recognise their siblings' calls

Barn owl nestlings recognise their siblings' calls, according to researchers.

Instead of competing aggressively for food, young barn owls are known to negotiate by calling out.

A team of scientists in Switzerland discovered that the owlets have remarkably individual calls.

They suggest this is to communicate each birds' needs and identity in the nest.

The findings were announced in the Journal of Evolutionary Biologyby Dr Amelie Dreiss and colleagues at the University of Lausanne, Switzerland.

Climate threatens Galápagos bird

The effects of climate change in the Galápagos Islands are posing a severe threat to one of the world’s rarest seabirds, a decade-long historical study led by a University of Queensland researcher has revealed.
Stubblefield_Photography_cormorant_shutterstockThe unique flightless cormorant, Phalacrocorax harrisi, is found only on the coasts of two Islands in the Galápagos archipelago and relies on cold, nutrient-rich water provided by the Equatorial Undercurrent.

These heavy, flightless, diving birds evolved from a light, flying ancestor due to the absence of predators and abundance of in-shore sea food in the isolated Galápagos region.

Red List for Birds 2013: Number of Critically Endangered birds hits new high

By Martin Fowlie, Tue, 26/11/2013 - 07:38

The number of bird species listed as Critically Endangered has reached an all-time high with the release of this year’s Red List for birds by BirdLife International.

White-winged Flufftail Sarothrura ayresi, a secretive and unobtrusive sub-Saharan bird, is the latest species to join the growing list of those on the very edge of extinction. Destruction and degradation of its high altitude wet grassland habitat, including wetland drainage, conversion for agriculture, water abstraction, overgrazing by livestock and cutting of marsh vegetation, have driven it to this precarious state. Urgent action is now needed in both Ethiopia and South Africa to better understand the species’ ecology and to address these threats and save it from extinction.

Tuesday, 26 November 2013

Great Lakes Waterfowl Die-Offs: Finding the Source

Nov. 24, 2013 — A deadly menace stalks the loons, gulls, and other water birds of the Great Lakes region: Type E botulism, a neuromuscular disease caused when birds eat fish infected with toxin-producing bacteria. Cases of the disease are on the rise, killing approximately 10,000 more waterfowl in 2007 than when it was first reported in 1963.

To understand die-off origin and distribution, ocean engineers from the Florida Atlantic University (FAU) Institute for Ocean Systems Engineering in Dania Beach, Florida are using their expertise in experimental hydrodynamics. They have teamed with the U.S. Geological Survey to help develop a novel way of tracking waterfowl carcasses to determine the source of lethal outbreaks that infect fish eaten by waterbirds.

How the unflappable albatross can travel 10,000 miles in a single journey

Scientists believe they have finally worked out how the mighty albatross – a seabird capable of travelling 10,000 miles in a single journey and circumnavigating the globe in 46 days – manages to fly without expending almost any energy.

People have long wondered how this master of the skies manages to stay aloft for long periods without flapping its enormous wings, which can reach up to 3.5 metres across.

Various theories were developed but researchers now believe they have cracked the problem after attaching highly sensitive GPS trackers to a group of 16 wandering albatross, one of the largest species, in the Indian Ocean.

The Secrets of Owls' Near Noiseless Wings

Nov. 24, 2013 — Many owl species have developed specialized plumage to effectively eliminate the aerodynamic noise from their wings -- allowing them to hunt and capture their prey in silence.

A research group working to solve the mystery of exactly how owls achieve this acoustic stealth will present their findings at the American Physical Society's (APS) Division of Fluid Dynamics meeting, held Nov. 24 -- 26, in Pittsburgh, Pa. -- work that may one day help bring "silent owl technology" to the design of aircraft, wind turbines, and submarines.

Monday, 25 November 2013

Feathered Menace: Wild Turkeys Threatening Suburbia

They chase and frighten people, block roads and cause motorcyclists and bicyclists to crash--sometimes fatally. Then, adding insult to injury, they poop on your lawn.

They are wild turkeys—the birds Ben Franklin so admired that he wanted them to be America's national symbol, rather than the eagle. Oh, if Ben could only see them now.

Wildlife officials in virtually every state tell the same tale: Decades ago, wild turkeys were an endangered novelty. Then, partly due to the efforts of state wildlife departments to save them, they got a leg up. Now, by one estimate, there are in excess of 6 million of them nationally.

Boston Magazine reports that in the city's suburbs turkeys "strut around in gangs." In recent years, says the magazine, "ill-tempered turkeys have attacked cars, cops and plate-glass windows with disastrous results."

Rescued Greater Adjutant Stork released in the wild

A Greater Adjutant Stork, rescued and rehabilitated by locals and conservationists, was today released in the wild here. 

The stork, named 'Arshiya' by her rescuers, was released at Boragaon by the Assam State Zoo Divisional Forest Officer Chandan Bora at an initiative of 'Aaranyak', a conservation organisation, in cooperation with the Bombay Natural History Society (BNHS) and College of Veterinary Science, Khanapara. 

"We are very proud to be a part of the bird's rehabilitation and Assam State Zoo team is committed for such endeavour in future," Bora said after releasing the bird. 

Boragaon is a popular feeding habitat of this stork. 

Falcon found at Dunbar

The Scottish SPCA is seeking the owner of a saker falcon found at Dunbar.

Scotland’s animal welfare charity was called to rescue the bird after a member of the public spotted it at Thorntonloch Caravan Park on Thursday (November 14). A rope attached to its legs had become entangled in a fence.

The bird is now in the care of the charity’s National Wildlife Rescue Centre in Fishcross, near Alloa.

Sunday, 24 November 2013

Make golden eagle Scotland’s national bird - RSPB

IT WAS once one of the most persecuted birds of prey in the country.

But conservation charity RSPB Scotland has launched a major campaign to have the golden eagle named as Scotland’s national bird, taking its place alongside the lion rampant, Saltire and the thistle as emblems of Scotland.

The bird of prey, whose image is already used on company logos, place names and ancient burial sites, was recently named the nation’s favourite in a competition run by Scottish Natural Heritage and VisitScotland to vote for Scotland’s favourite wild animal. The raptor attracted almost twice as many votes as the red squirrel in second place.

RSPB Scotland has now launched an online petition, fronted by leading wildlife cameraman Gordon Buchanan, which the conservation charity plans to submit to Scottish ­ministers. The petition urges ministers to formally designate the species as a national symbol.

Farmers to survey health of Dorset's bird population

10:00am Wednesday 20th November 2013 in News By Rene Gerryts

It's important to know how birds are faring

UK farmers are being asked to take a health test – not for themselves but for the country’s bird population.

The Game & Wildlife Conservation Trust has just launched its ‘Big Farmland Bird Count’ which will ask all farmers and gamekeepers to take part to help determine how bird species are faring.

Jim Egan from the trust said: “Farmers and gamekeepers are vital in helping to ensure the future survival of many of our most cherished farmland bird species such as skylark, yellowhammer, corn buntings and wild grey partridges.

White hawk recuperates at Tamarack after injury from trap

BY DANA MASSING, Erie Times-News

SAEGERTOWN -- An uncommon-looking bird is recuperating at Tamarack Wildlife Rehabilitation and Education Center after being caught in a raccoon trap.

The red-tailed hawk, which is unusual because it is almost completely white, was taken to the center near Saegertown and underwent surgery on Nov. 8. It is receiving hydrotherapy while wildlife rehabilitators determine whether it will be able to return to the wild.

"The hawk is doing very well," Carol Holmgren, Tamarack's executive director, said.

The hawk was caught in the trap and found Nov. 3 in the Saegertown area, Holmgren said. She said the trapper immediately arranged for the bird to be admitted to Tamarack.

Saturday, 23 November 2013

Audubon and Pew: Florida’s Coastal Birds Could Face Threat to Food Supply

Researchers Recommend Protecting Small Fish as a Vital Food Source

Tallahassee, FL.—Already pressured by a steady loss of habitat, many of Florida’s imperiled and iconic coastal waterbirds are vulnerable to declines in small fish that are necessary for their survival, according to a report by Audubon Florida and The Pew Charitable Trusts.

“Fins and Feathers: Why little fish are a big deal to Florida’s coastal waterbirds”examines the crucial link between birds and the diverse array of small fish that are a critical food source. Declines in the populations of these fish, known alternatively as forage fish, prey fish or baitfish, could threaten imperiled birds such as Brown Pelicans, Roseate Spoonbills, Black Skimmers and Reddish Egrets, according to the report.

“In Florida, our environment is directly linked to our quality of life and our economy,” said Julie Wraithmell, Audubon’s director of wildlife conservation. “This report shows how important baitfish are to Florida’s coastal birds, environment, communities and economy. Fisheries policy must consider the ecological and economic vitality that hinges on these smallest of fish.”

With BTO study showing changing spread of UK birdlife - what’s in your garden?

The spread of Britain’s bird population has been revealed in more detail than ever before after the results of an ambitious volunteer project were released.

Using information provided by more than 40,000 volunteers from every corner of Britain and Ireland in the last four years, the British Trust for Ornithology’s (BTO) Bird Atlas 2007-11 has mapped the habits of all the UK’s birds in winter and the breeding season.

Bird alarm: Great tits use 'predator-specific' calls

Great tits use different alarm calls for different predators, according to a scientist in Japan.

The researcher analysed the birds' calls and found they made "jar" sounds for snakes and "chicka" sounds for crows and martens.

This, he says, is the first demonstration birds can communicate vocally about the type of predator threatening them.

Friday, 22 November 2013

Dyfi ospreys' £1.4m observatory nearing completion

A two-storey wildlife observatory is nearing completion at the home of one of only two known pairs of breeding ospreys in Wales.

The 360 degree wooden structure is being built at the Cors Dyfi nature reserve near Machynlleth, Powys, with help of nearly £1.4m worth of grants.

The site will open all-year round when work on the observatory finishes instead of its current five months.

Its Dyfi Osprey Project attracted 31,000 visitors this year.

The first osprey chick in the Dyfi valley for 400 years hatched in 2011 and this year two chicks hatched.

Invasive Sparrows Immune Cells Sharpen as They Spread

Nov. 20, 2013 — When invasive species move into new areas, they often lose their natural enemies, including the microbes that make them sick. But new research from evolutionary biologists at the University of South Florida has found that adjustments in the immune system may help house sparrows, one of the world's most common bird species, thrive in new areas.

In research published this week in Proceedings of the Royal Society B, Biological Sciences, Associate Professor Lynn Martin and Assistant Professor Aaron Schrey from Armstrong Atlantic State University found that on the molecular level, the immune systems of house sparrows at the edge of the species' range in Kenya were more attuned to finding dangerous parasites than birds from older sites in the same country. These differences may help keep invading birds from becoming sick in new areas where pathogens are more likely novel.

Nightingale site gains protection

November 2013: The future of the nightingale, one of Britain’s rarest birds, looks brighter with the good news that Lodge Hill in Medway, north Kent has been declared a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) by Natural England

This site is home to more than one percent of the UK’s total population of nightingales, a bird which has declined in the UK by 46 per cent since 1995. Lodge Hill – part of which is a former military engineering school – has also been protected for its nationally-important grassland and ancient woodland.

Thursday, 21 November 2013

Trust aims to bring back rare birds to Staffordshire

A wildlife trust is aiming to bring back rare bitterns to Staffordshire by spending £25,000 on buying a quarry.

Staffordshire Wildlife Trust wants to buy 130-acre (5.2 sq km) Tucklesholme Quarry, near Barton-under-Needwood, and turn it into a nature reserve.

According to the RSPB, bitterns disappeared from Britain in 1886

The birds began to reappear in 1910 and their numbers picked up, before declining again. In 1997, there were just 11 males

Grahame Madge, RSPB spokesperson, said more was now known about the birds' habitats and efforts were being made to encourage stable inland breeding populations

So far the trust, which has been fundraising since early November, has raised £18,000 for the project.

The trust believes bitterns, which were once extinct in Britain, have not bred in the county for more than a century.

Birds of prey seize the day in battle with gulls

Associated Press

BREA, Calif. (AP) - As trucks disgorged garbage and bulldozers pushed the trash into neat rows, Daniel Hedin stood in the middle of the dump and scanned the gray sky for dirty birds. When a small flock of seagulls drifted in, he looked at the falcon perched on his wrist.

"You ready, baby girl? Hup! Hup!" he said, and blew a whistle.

Zoe exploded into the air, swooping low before rising into a stiff wind to scatter the nervous gulls. Mission accomplished. She returned to Hedin's gloved hand for a reward of raw pigeon meat.

"The ground and the sky can be covered in gulls," Hedin said, stroking Zoe's breast feathers. "For these people operating heavy machines, it's like operating in a blizzard."

The Olinda Alpha landfill has declared war on the nuisance birds, but rather than using air cannons or high-tech scarecrows, it's fighting fliers with fliers. The dump on a plateau high above suburban Orange County is part of an explosion in falconry for profit in recent years, with one-time hobbyists launching their raptors into the skies above vineyards, farms, landfills, shopping complexes and golf courses nationwide.

A hand-reared sandpiper travels 8,000km

November 2013; A rare hand-reared spoon-billed sandpiper has been spotted for the first time in the wild, more than 8,000km from where it was released in Russia.

Twenty-five of the critically endangered birds have been raised over two years by an Anglo-Russia conservation team on the Russian tundra, before being released to join their wild-born counterparts in migrating to South-East Asia. However until now it was unknown whether any would be spotted until they return to Russia to breed aged two-years-old, so the news one has been seen in Thailand, on the coast near Bangkok, and another in southern China was welcomed.

Wednesday, 20 November 2013

The Little Dodo of Samoa

Illustration of the little dodoThe Mauritian dodo is the iconic emblem for both island conservation and extinction, sadly one of the birds lost from the Mascarene archipelago. One might often wonder how this strange bird could have originally been descended from a pigeon, but in Samoa we find the tooth-billed pigeon (Didunculus strigirostris), otherwise known as the little dodo, or locally the Manumea. This strange pigeon is the only member of its genus (a measure of evolutionary uniqueness), and is also the national bird of Samoa.

Heron put down in Thirsk after shotgun wound

A heron has had to be put down after a shotgun pellet shattered the bird's wing, North Yorkshire Police said.

The injured bird was found by the side of the road in Dalton, near Richmond, on Tuesday and was taken to a wildlife haven in Thirsk for treatment but it could not be saved.

An X-ray showed a shotgun pellet had shattered its wing and two pellet wounds to the bird's body.

Herons are protected under the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981.

The Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB) said anyone who kills a heron could face a fine or even a prison sentence.

Zoo's Hope of Love Connection Soars with New Resident

The Denver Zoo recently welcomed a new resident, dubbed Andy D., to their Andean condor exhibit. The 22-year-old joined resident condor Evita under the recommendation of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums, Species Survival Plan with the hope that sparks will fly between the two condors and the two will have chicks. So far things seem to be going pretty well between the two.

Tuesday, 19 November 2013

More land breeding birds recorded

An increase in the number of onshore breeding birds over almost two decades has been hailed by the Environment Minister.

The overall population of land-based birds, known as terrestrial birds, rose by 12% between 1994 and 2012, according to figures published by Scottish Natural Heritage (SNH).

The largest increase was among woodland birds, up 56%, while t he abundance of farmland birds has risen 10% since the mid-1990s.

But upland birds fared less well, with populations declining by 18%, the figures show.

The reasons for the changes are not clear, although improved weather during the 2011 breeding season may have helped bird populations recover from the harsher winters of 2009 and 2010.

Plymouth couple lose battle to keep 35 rare, expensive pigeons

The City Council ruled that the 35 birds violate an ordinance on domestic animals. Their owners had argued that the rare specimens are simply harmless pets.

In the latest metro area flap over whether pigeons are pests or pets, a Plymouth couple have been ordered to get rid of 35 rare and expensive pigeons.

Vera and Valeriy Partyka argue that the brown and white birds, which cost as much as $2,000 each and were shipped from places like Germany and Iran, are no different from pets like their hamsters or cat.

But the City Council disagreed Tuesday night, giving the couple six months to remove the birds, which they’ve had for more than a decade.

National bird monitoring programme in the works

Before scientists, government officers and bird enthusiasts can properly conserve important Virgin Islands bird species, they have to get a handle on which birds are here and where they nest, feed and breed. 

To that end, the Conservation and Fisheries Department launched Birds of Paradise this week. The programme partners individual birders with officers from the CFD, other government agencies, and non-governmental organisations like the Jost Van Dykes Preservation Society and the Caribbean Youth Environmental Network.

Monday, 18 November 2013

Spain: Court acquits accused in tanker disaster

MADRID (AP) — A Spanish court on Wednesday acquitted all three people charged in the sinking of the Prestige oil tanker off Spain's northwestern coast 11 years ago, which triggered a major environmental catastrophe.

Judge Juan Luis Pia said the court found no criminal responsibility in the sinking and absolved the three defendants — the ship's Greek captain, his first officer and the former director general of Spain's Merchant Marine — of crimes against the environment. The captain was found guilty of disobeying authorities during the crisis, however.

Dartford pigeon found with wings glued together in 'wicked' act of cruelty

1:39pm Wednesday 13th November 2013 in News By Tim MacFarlan, Bexley and north Kent reporter 

The pigeon was found covered in bits of paper and cardboard.

A PIGEON has been found wandering around Dartford town centre with its wings apparently glued together in a "wicked" act of cruelty.

A group of schoolchildren spotted the sticky bird at just before 9am this morning outside recruitment agency Premier Work Support in the High Street.

The youngsters asked employees there for help and they managed to catch the clearly distressed pigeon before cleaning it up as best they could and putting it in a box.

An RSPCA inspector arrived to deal with the bird whose feathers could not even be separated so firmly were they stuck together.

Crane breeding center crowded as birds age

OKAYAMA – The Okayama Prefectural Nature Conservation Center in the town of Wake, known for having the nation’s largest population of Japanese cranes, has been wrestling with overcrowded breeding facilities as the birds age.

Officials say that the unexpected longevity of the Japanese cranes, also known as red-crowned cranes, in the center is affecting their reproductive ability.

According to the prefecture, building new breeding facilities may be difficult due to budgetary constraints.

Sunday, 17 November 2013

USDA uses chemical to reduce Grand Island starling population

The U.S. Department of Agriculture treated starlings on Tuesday in Grand Island using DRC-1339, which will assist in reducing the starling population, according to a press release from City Hall.

The chemical used is bird-specific, and harm to any animal other than the target species is not anticipated, the press release said. The targeted birds will die 24 to 36 hours after eating the treated feed and will often be found at their roosting locations.

The use of the chemical is only effective during the fall and winter months, when large flocks consistently feed in one location. During the spring and summer months, the birds are less likely to congregate in large numbers as they feed in local fields and on grain and insects, making treatment applications nearly impossible, according to the press release.

People who find deceased starlings on their private property can dispose of the birds in trash containers. The USDA recommends using gloves or a bag when picking the starlings up.

Those who are physically unable to dispose of the birds can call City Hall at 385-5444, extension 260, to make arrangements for cleanup. The city will only offer this service if a resident is incapable of the collection and disposal of the birds.

Wind farm tries to minimize bird deaths

GREAT FALLS, Mont. (AP) — An operations center in California can shut down wind turbines 1,200 miles away in Montana in fewer than 30 seconds when the flight patterns of golden eagles and other raptors indicate a potential collision in the making.

The quick response is possible because of tracking radar, "detect and deter" cameras and human spotters called "bio-monitors" deployed at Rim Rock Wind Facility in Montana's Glacier and Toole counties.

Greg Copeland of San Francisco-based NaturEner USA, the owner, says the combination of technology and trained avian biologists form a tiered alert system that's proving to be effective, so far, at preventing the turbine blades from striking birds.

"We think this three-layered system provides the best kind of protections that have been deployed anywhere in the United States," Copeland said.

The 189-megawatt wind farm with 126 turbines is Montana's largest.

It's located near the Kevin Rim, a series of sandstone cliffs 20 miles northwest of Shelby.

Golden eagles, ferruginous hawks and other species nest in the rocky outcroppings, and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and Montana Audubon previously have raised concerns about the location of the wind facility in prime raptor habitat.

Himachal sets up first bird ringing station

SHIMLA: A bird ringing station, where a ring will be put on birds' legs to study their migration pattern in the western Himalayas, has been set up by the state wildlife wing in the Great Himalayan National Park (GHNP) in the Kullu Valley, officials said here on Sunday. 

The ringing station, first of its kind in Himachal Pradesh, has been opened at Sairopa, located on the outskirts of the national park and some 250 km from here, assistant conservator Satpal Dhiman told IANS. 

He said the station has so far put metallic rings on 260 birds of different species. "Each bird has been given a unique number and Bombay Natural History Society (BNHS) stamp," he said. 

One of the richest bio-diversity sites, the Great Himalayan National Park is home to the elusive and critically endangered western tragopan, along with four other spectacular pheasants, the snow leopard and the mighty Himalayan brown bear. 

Saturday, 16 November 2013

In Britain, Game of Cat and Mouse Breaks Out Over Monk Parakeet

Authorities Move to Eliminate an Invader, But Supporters Rally to Its Defense

LONDON—Nobody knows how these birds got here from their Latin American homeland, or how they survive in a climate more suited to hot drinks and rubber boots than to tropical wildlife.

But the government considers Britain's feral monk parakeets—estimated population: between 55 and 87—a menace that requires radical control measures.

British authorities have compiled a long rap sheet of parakeet offenses, alleging that they are a potential threat to fruit crops and public safety. The Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs, or Defra, is worried that the large, communal nests the birds sometimes build on electric pylons could cause power cuts. Not making life easier for the parakeets is their neighbor-rumbling screech.

Rare Malabar trogon sighted in Kotagiri jungle

Ooty: The sighting of Malabar Trogon (Harpactes fasciatus), an attractive, rare and elusive bird, in the Kotagiri jungles has delighted bird watchers.  The jungles around Kotagiri appear to be the perfect habitat for this rare bird to thrive and breed. Known to be a very shy bird, Malabar Trogon is a difficult subject for avian enthusiasts.

To capture it on a camera also demands extreme patience as lensmen would have to sit for days on end to sight them and then photograph them. K.Vijay, a well-known name in bird watching and avian photography in the hills who is also the executive committee member of the Nilgiris wildlife and environment association, recently spotted a couple of Malabar Trogons in the jungles in the Kunjappannai sector in Kotagiri hills. Recounitg his experience, he said the bright red-coloured birds are one of the spectacular avian wonders that are rarely sighted in the hills. 

Incredible 'gannet cam' video captures birds' eye view at Pembrokeshire colony

12 Nov 2013 06:12

Researchers attached miniature cameras to some of the gannets nesting at Grassholm in Pembrokeshire with stunning results.
Scientists in Pembrokeshire have captured incredible footage which show what it’s like to fly with the UK’s largest seabird.
Researchers from The University of Exeter and the RSPB working on the island nature reserve of RSPB Grassholm in west Wales, attached miniature cameras to some of the gannets that nest there with stunning results.
Researcher leader Dr Steve Votier from the University of Exeter’s Environment and Sustainability Institute has been carrying out research of gannets on the tiny island of Grassholm for the last eight years.

Friday, 15 November 2013

Fears for swans after diesel spill in city park

ANIMAL welfare officers have expressed their fears for the health of a bevy of swans after a diesel spill in a Dublin park.

An investigation was launched after a pipe carrying the fuel burst close to Stardust Memorial Park in Coolock.

Six birds are feared to have swallowed a quantity of diesel.

The Dublin Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals today confirmed that its officials removed three of the swans from the infected pond.

They will be cared for in a DSPCA centre for six weeks before being returned to their natural habitat.

$1000 reward for information leading to capture of a pest bird

The reward for sighting information that leads to the capture of an invasive pest bird - the red-vented bulbul - has been increased from $300 to $1000.

Red-vented bulbuls can cause significant damage to fruit and vegetable crops and are known to chase and attack other birds. The Ministry for Primary Industries, Department of Conservation (DOC) and Auckland Council are working together to track and eradicate the red-vented bulbul confirmed to be in Auckland.

On October 10, a reward of $300 was offered to anyone providing information leading to the capture of a red-vented bulbul by the response team working to eradicate this pest bird, which comes from Asia.

"The reward has raised awareness of the red-vented bulbul that’s been sighted throughout Auckland," says DOC spokesperson Liz Brooks. "We’ve had more than 70 calls about possible sightings since we offered the $300 reward, a month ago, but are still working to capture one of these birds."

Bird Flu Vaccine Successful on First Human Test

Scientists have successfully tested a bird flu vaccine on humans for the first time. This, coupled with the quick vaccine production process, is a milestone in fighting the deadly virus.

The mortality rate of the bird flu is around 30 percent of the infected patients. China had recorded 45 fatalities and 137 infections of the bird flu H7N9 since October. According to the World Health Organization, the H7N9 doesn’t show any signs of human transmission but this does not mean that the virus cannot go through changes in its inherent qualities to allow infection through human contact.