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, 21 August 2017

Jackdaws flap their wings to save energy

Date: August 11, 2017
Source: Lund University

Summary:
For the first time, researchers have observed that birds that fly actively and flap their wings save energy. Biologists have now shown that jackdaws minimize their energy consumption when they lift off and fly, because the feathers on their wing tips create several small vortices instead of a single large one. The discovery could potentially be applied within the aeronautical industry.

In search of Edwards' pheasant: Almost extinct?

Genuinely extinct or just not worth looking for? Scientists set out to discover just how endangered certain species are

Date: August 17, 2017
Source: Newcastle University

Summary: Scientists say we need to improve our information about little-known species to reduce the risk of one going extinct just because no-one is interested in looking for it.

Sunday, 20 August 2017

Stress in the nest can have lifelong effect

Date: August 16, 2017
Source: The Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU)

Summary:
Why do some sparrows hatch six chicks while others don’t hatch any? How does upbringing affect the remainder of their lives? Physiological stress in the nest can actually affect birds’ DNA and possibly their lifespan.

4,200 yo bird found 'perfectly preserved' in ice (PHOTO)

Published time: 5 Aug, 2017 22:56Edited time: 6 Aug, 2017 16:12

A frozen 4,200-year-old redwing thrush has been found perfectly preserved in Norway. The bird, whose age was determined through carbon tests, was dissected to determine if the bird’s organs have also survived the test of time.

The thrush was discovered by a warden with the Norwegian Nature Supervisor Agency on the edge of a snow bank in the Oppdal mountains, according to Jorgen Rosvold, a researcher with the Norwegian University of Science and Technology, who spoke to NRK.

“That it is 4,000 years old is absolutely fantastic,” said Rosvold. “We have never opened and seen how a 4,000 year-old bird looks inside,” he added.

Researchers initially believed the bird to be no more than a few hundred years old, and now believe it flew over Norway’s skies thousands of years ago. It’s also thought the bird was caught and killed by a wolverine or fox.

“It was probably caught by a wolverine or a fox. We know that wolverines use ice to store food during the summer. So this thrush may have been put in the ice by a wolverine and has only been found again now,” Rosvold said.#

Friday, 18 August 2017

Amateur collectors in Japan discover country's first and oldest fossil diving bird

August 8, 2017

During a walk near a reservoir in a small Japanese town, amateur collectors made the discovery of their lives - the first and oldest fossil bird ever identified in their country.

After sharing their mysterious find with paleontologists at Hokkaido University, brothers Masatoshi and Yasuji Kera later learned the skeletal remains were that of an iconic marine diving bird from the Late Cretaceous Period, one that is often found in the Northern Hemisphere but rarely in Asia. The remarkable specimen - which includes nine skeletal elements from one individual, including the thoracic vertebrae and the femoral bones - is being heralded as the "best preserved hesperornithiform material from Asia" and to be "the first report of the hesperorinthiforms from the eastern margin of the Eurasian Continent."

Identified as a new species, it has been named Chupkaornis keraorum - Chupka is the Ainu word used by indigenous people from Hokkaido for 'eastern,' and keraorum is named after Masatoshi and Yasuji Kera, who discovered the specimen. The bird would have lived during the time when dinosaurs roamed the land.



Hen harriers at risk of extinction have rallied in Northumberland

Dean Kirby
Monday August 7th 2017 

Hen harriers fighting for survival have rallied despite fears they are on the brink of extinction in England. Ten chicks have hatched in Northumberland, according to conservationists who say three out of five nesting pairs in the county produced young this year. i told in June how hen harrier numbers have fallen by 204 pairs in the last 12 years to just 545 – a decline of more than 27 per cent – with just a handful of territorial pairs now remaining in England. Hen harriers are still facing an uphill battle to re-establish themselves in the uplands of England. Andrew Miller, chairman of the NHHPP The RSPB has warned that the iconic bird is under “severe threat” from extinction, with illegal killing a “significant factor” behind the diminished numbers. 

The Northumberland Hen Harrier Protection Partnership said the arrival of the chicks was a positive step in efforts to re-establish them. After another very poor season for hen harriers elsewhere in England, with no successful breeding attempts. Andrew Miller, head of programmes and conservation at Northumberland National Park and chairman of the partnership, said: “Hen harriers are still facing an uphill battle to re-establish themselves in the uplands of England. ”However, with the positive support of all our partners including landowners, ten young birds have successfully fledged. Working together and using the latest scientific techniques is also increasing our knowledge of this amazing species.“ Hen harriers were driven to extinction in mainland Britain during the 19th century. Despite making a comeback, the species has remained rare, with a breeding population under 1,000 pairs making it vulnerable.

Thursday, 17 August 2017

200 gulls shot dead this year after city decides on lethal crackdown

August 4, 2017

ALMOST 200 seagulls – including 30 chicks – have been shot this year after a Scottish city decided to take lethal measures over a plague of aggressive birds.

After trying everything from noise deterrents, plastic owls, anti landing systems and netting, Dundee City Council have taken to using deadly force in a bid to control the birds.

Not only have pest controllers shot down almost 200 gulls in just eight months – they have also removed 401 gull eggs.

Under the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981, it is illegal to kill, injure or remove any wild birds including seagulls.

Ibis Revival Helps Town Take Flight

- Midori Aoki

A wild bird once thought to be extinct is making a comeback in inland China. The endangered crested ibis' population is now in the thousands. Its revival is also hatching economic spinoffs in the area.

"The crested ibis is known for its beautiful color. In China, we believe that it brings luck and beauty," says Photographer Li Ping.

For more than 2 decades, Li has dedicated his life to capturing photos of the endangered crested ibis. He wants to raise awareness about the rare species.

"In order to save the crested ibis, more people need to know about it. We need to understand that saving the bird also means protecting the environment," says Li.

The wild bird used to live in East Asia and the Russian Far East. But its population plunged as human development encroached on the bird's habitat. At one point, researchers thought the crested ibis was extinct.

Wednesday, 16 August 2017

How do birds get their colors?

The role of melanins in creating complex plumage patterns in 9,000 species

Date: August 5, 2017
Source: University of Chicago Press Journals

Summary:
Birds exhibit an extraordinary diversity of plumage pigmentation patterns. It has been overlooked, however, that complex patterns can be produced only with the contribution of melanins because these are the only pigments under direct cellular control.

Mystery surrounds disappearance of rare bird of prey

16 August 2017 at 10:32am

A rare bird of prey that breeds in Norfolk has gone missing in mysterious circumstances.

Sally, a Montagu's harrier, is fitted with a satellite tag. However, this stopped transmitting a signal on Sunday 6 August.

The RSPB says this is unusual because satellite tags are highly reliable and will continue transmitting signals even when a bird is dead.

Sally is paired with another Montagu's harrier called Roger. They are the only pair of Montagu’s harriers left in eastern England and one of only four pairs in the UK.

Sally and Roger have successfully bred in Norfolk for the past two seasons. This year they raised three juveniles.

Monday, 14 August 2017

Protecting the Nest from the Parasitic Pin-tailed Whydah

EMILY HEBER

The Pin-tailed Whydah, a parasitic bird, could put native Antilles and Hawaiian island species at risk.

The word “parasite” often brings to mind an image a small worm, but sometimes, parasitic species are not what you imagine. Such is the case for the Pin-tailed Whydah, which is one of only about 100 parasitic bird species in the world.

The Pin-tailed Whydah (Vidua macroura) is native to sub-Saharan Africa where it is known for its bright orange beak, black and white body, and the long tail-feathers they grow during mating season. The distinct coloration of this species has led to their introduction throughout the world via the pet trade. Although such proliferation might seem harmless, the Pin-tailed Whydah’s unique parasitism makes it dangerous to native species if it is accidentally or purposefully released into the wild.


Set nets killing 'hundreds' of penguins each year - Forest & Bird


9:02 am on 4 August 2017 
Eric Frykberg, Transport, Energy & Resource Infrastructure Reporter

Hundreds of penguins are likely dying in fishing nets each year, conservation group Forest & Bird says.

It said the birds, including the endangered hoiho / yellow-eyed penguin, were dying after being unintentionally snared in set nets moored close to the coast.

The group said material gathered from the Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) under the Official Information Act showed 14 penguin deaths occurred in the year from October 2015 to October 2016, but this was just the tip of the iceberg.

Thirteen of these were reported by MPI observers but only 3 percent of boats had MPI observers onboard, so the real number of penguin deaths had to be higher, it said.

Forest & Bird chief executive Kevin Hague said this was not good news.

"It looks as if the fishing industry is killing hundreds of penguins in set net fisheries and almost none of it is being reported," he said.

That was because there was no mechanism to determine how many were dying.

Sunday, 13 August 2017

Grouse moors actually protect rare birds, study shows

Sarah Knapton, science editor 7 AUGUST 2017 • 12:01AM


Grouse moors owners have hit back at claims that shoots harm wildlife by commissioning a report showing rare birds are thriving on their land.

Last week Chris Packham called for an end to grouse shooting labelling the sport ‘moorland vandalism’ and criticised gamekeepers for killing hen harriers - Britain’s rarest bird of prey - to prevent them from eating chicks.

The RSPB also claims that intensive land management practices, such as burning and drainage of peatlands, tracks and the use of veterinary medicines and killing of mountain hares to reduce the incidence of disease in grouse, harm wildlife.

But a new study commissioned by a dozen grouse moors, and undertaken by Newcastle and Durham Universities which surveyed 18 moorland estates across England and Scotland between April and June this year, found some birds were flourishing.

Great White Egrets breed at Holkham Nature Reserve

PUBLISHED: 17:33 07 August 2017 | UPDATED: 17:33 07 August 2017


Holkham Nature Reserve has welcomed another rare bird to its list of species, after three young Great white Egrets hatched at the reserve this year.

Throughout the 19th century, these birds were killed across Europe for their ornate feathers, used in the hat trade, and for much of the 20th century the species was under threat, and restricted to wetland areas in Eastern Europe.

Friday, 11 August 2017

Rare species of butterflies and birds spotted in Kodaikanal

KODAIKANAL,AUGUST 07, 2017 08:05 IST
UPDATED: AUGUST 07, 2017 08:46 IST

The Nilgiri Tit butterfly, a rarely spotted species, was sighted on the Kodaikanal hill during a birds and butterfly survey conducted in Kodaikanal forests by forest officials and members of various voluntary organisations in the State.

A team comprising 45 volunteers spotted 14 species of butterflies and 11 rare birds. Ten groups conducted the survey in 30 places.

On the whole, the teams spotted 90 birds and 136 butterfly species, of which 11 were rare species, including Nilgiris wood pigeons, owls, grassland birds wood peckers and 14 rare species of butterflies, including Nilgiri Tit, Palni Four-ring, Palni Fritillary, Common Mime, Nilgri Clouded Yellow and Lesser Gul.

Common Sergeant, Blackvein Sergeant, Clipper, Red spot Duke, Indian Red Admiral, Blue Admiral, Common Tinsel, Indian Awlking Orange Striped Awlet were other butterfly species spotted in Kodaikanal.

Similarly, spot-belled eagle owl, Nilgiri wood pigeon, Crested goshawk, Rufous-bellied eagle, Nilgiri Pipit, White-bellied Short wing, Orange headed thrush, Bay-backed shrike, Rufous wood pecker and Common flave back were some birds spotted.

Rare black-crowned night herons breed for the first time in the UK

A PAIR of extremely rare birds have bred in the UK for the first time, conservationists have revealed.
PUBLISHED: 00:01, Wed, Aug 2, 2017 | UPDATED: 16:37, Wed, Aug 2, 2017

Two adult black-crowned night herons and two recently fledged juveniles are now roosting at a nature reserve in Somerset.
The discovery was made by bird watchers at the Somerset Wildlife Trust’s Westhay Moor national nature reserve and Graham Hall was able to photograph the night herons.

It is thought the adults either bred there or at the nearby Avalon Marshes site.

Experts said night herons were extremely rare in the south of England and only around a dozen had been spotted in Somerset since the 1800s.

Continued

Thursday, 10 August 2017

How camouflaged birds decide where to blend in

July 31, 2017

Animals that rely on camouflage can choose the best places to conceal themselves based on their individual appearance, new research shows.

The camouflage and concealment strategies of various animal species have been widely studied, but scientists from Exeter and Cambridge universities have discovered that individual wild birds adjust their choices of where to nest based on their specific patterns and colours.

The study looked at nine remarkably hard-to-see ground-nesting bird species (nightjars, plovers and coursers).

"Each individual bird looks a little bit different, and we have shown that they can act individually," said project co-leader Professor Martin Stevens, of the Centre for Ecology and Conservation on Exeter's Penryn Campus in Cornwall.

"This is not a species-level choice.

"Individual birds consistently sit in places that enhance their own unique markings, both within a habitat, and at a fine scale with regards to specific background sites."

The study, carried out in Zambia, showed that individual birds chose backgrounds that enhanced their camouflage to the visual systems of their main predators - being better matched to their chosen backgrounds than to other places nearby.

Sandwich Terns breed at Minsmere for first time in four decades

One of Suffolk’s rarest breeding birds, the Sandwich Tern, may be making a comeback after breeding successfully this year at the RSPB’s Minsmere nature reserve for the first time in almost 40 years.

The Sandwich Tern is a very white ‘sea tern’ with a black cap and bill with a yellow tip, which distinguish it from other terns. It feeds mainly on sandeels and small fish, and many of its surviving UK breeding colonies are on nature reserves.

Before the 1970s, a large colony of Sandwich Terns nested on Minsmere’s famous ‘Scrape’ – a shallow manmade lagoon dotted with islands – but since the last successful nesting attempt in 1978 they have only tried to nest occasionally and without success, until now.
This year, seven pairs of Sandwich Terns settled to breed on the East Scrape, successfully rearing four chicks so far. They are thought to be the only Sandwich Terns to breed in Suffolk this year.

21st July


FOSSILS OF UNKNOWN SONGBIRD SPECIES DISCOVERED IN 12,000-YEAR-OLD VOLCANO


BY JANICE WILLIAMS ON 7/27/17 AT 5:11 PM


Hundreds of years ago, various species of Bullfinch songbirds took flight and lived among the Azores archipelago, a group of nine major islands in the Atlantic Ocean about 900 miles away from Portugal. A number of the small bird species, known for their short and wide beak, were wiped out following Portuguese colonization of the archipelago in the 1400s. However, scientists recently found fossils of a new species of the Bullfinch songbird in a 12,000-year-old volcano on the Azores’ Graciosa Island.

An international team of researchers led by paleontologist Josep Antoni Alcover, from the Mediterranean Institute for Advanced Studies, discovered the bones of the new extinct songbird species, Pyrrhula crassa, while excavating an enclave where lava once flowed within the volcano. Despite the small number of bones the scientists found, the remains discovered were sufficiently distinctive enough for the researchers to classify the songbird within its own unique species.

The report of the finding, published in the journal Zootaxa on Wednesday, focused specifically on how the team analyzed morphology of the bird’s beak to determine the new species—and its relatively large size. The researchers noted that the Pyrrhula crassa skull remains they found were significantly bigger than the skulls of other songbirds that once roamed the Azores, and of current living species of the bird. They also found the Pyrrhula crassa wing length to be bigger than the average songbird, suggesting this may have allowed it to fly in a way similar to that of larger birds living on São Miguel Island.



Wednesday, 9 August 2017

The legend of Poūwa: ancient myths of New Zealand’s black swan confirmed by fossil DNA


July 27, 2017 4.50am BST

A tall, bulky and probably near-flightless black swan once roamed New Zealand. But it was hunted to extinction not long after people arrived during the late 13th century, and then replaced by its Australian cousin.

Our research, based on ancient DNA and morphology, shows that the New Zealand species — dubbed Poūwa — was unique and genetically separate from the Australian species.
Poūwa was heavier and larger, a bit like an All Blacks rugby player, and it was well on the way to becoming flightless when it became extinct.

A potted history of the black swan
The black swanCygnus atratus, is a quintessential Australasian bird. Until their first voyages to Australia, 18th century European explorers assumed that all swans were white.
By the time Europeans arrived in New Zealand, there were no black swans. But naturalisation societies introduced Australian birds from Victoria during the 1860s.
At the same time, black swan bones were being found in fossil and archaeological deposits in New Zealand and the Chatham Islands. Scientists concluded that the Australian black swan formerly inhabited the New Zealand region but that the local population had been hunted to extinction. Until recently, this was still the prevailing view.


Buzzard off! Cyclist films his daily ride to work along a country lane where he faces a constant threat of aerial attack from a DIVE-BOMBING bird of prey

Aidan Williams is dive-bombed by a Buzzard bird every time he takes the route 
The bird is thought to be protecting a nest on the road near Sandon in Staffs
Aidan claims that he is only targeted when cycling alone down the quiet lane

PUBLISHED: 21:40, 31 July 2017 | UPDATED: 22:42, 31 July 2017


This is the moment a buzzard was captured dive-bombing a cyclist as he rides down a quiet country lane.

Cyclist, Aidan Williams claims he is regularly attacked every time he takes the route in Sandon, near Staffordshire.

In the video he can be seen cycling as he waits for the bird to make its daily swoop.


Read more and see video: 


Can birds predict weather?


2017-08-02 06:02

IN this day and age weather predictions are made digitally with many having their own special weather forecasting website or television channel to get the weather report for the next day or so.

But how were forecasts made in the good old days?

Some of the natural weather forecasters were:

• If the rooster crows on going to bed,
You may rise with a watery head. 
• If birds fly low, expect rain and a blow.
• Birds on a telephone wire predict the coming of rain. ?
• One crow flying alone is a sign of foul weather; but if crows fly in pairs, expect fine weather.
• When chickens pick up small stones and pebbles and are more noisy than usual, expect rain.
• Roosters are said to clap their wings in an unusual manner, and hens rub in the dust and seem very uneasy when rain is coming.
• When fowls collect together and pick or straighten their feathers, expect a change of weather.
• Hawks flying high means a clear sky. When they fly low, prepare for a blow.
• When seagulls fly inland, expect a storm.
• When fowls roost in daytime, expect rain.
• Birds singing in the rain indicates fair weather approaching.
• If crows fly in pairs, expect fine weather; a crow flying alone is a sign of foul weather.
• When domestic geese walk east and fly west, expect cold weather.

Source  

Monday, 7 August 2017

VIDEO: Rare albino sparrow spotted in Perthshire garden


July 12 2017, 6.58amUpdated: July 12 2017, 9.06am

A rare albino sparrow has been captured on camera in a Perthshire garden.

John Anderson spotted the tiny white creature at his Dunning property after it fell out of its nest.

Pure white birds like the sparrow are rare.

He was able to capture it on film as the parents attempted to feed it but it was unable to fly back to its nest.

“I first noticed it last week, he said. “I’m not an expert on birds but I see a lot of them in my garden and I’ve never seen anything like it before.

“We do get a few house sparrows in the eaves of the building and I think one of its siblings must have pushed it out of the nest for fear it would attract predators.

“It was under a bush under one of the nests. We kept an eye on it but we were worried foxes would get it in the night, but it was still there the next morning. The mother would come along and feed it every so often.”

Sadly, the fledgling only survived for a few days.



Crabbers Rescue Mother Osprey, Fledgling Afloat In Fallen Nest


July 10, 2017 4:15 PM By Alex DeMetrick

BALTIMORE (WJZ) — It’s not unusual for birds to fall out of their nests.

But having the entire nest fall into a river and float away with the bird inside? That’s unusual.

Alex DeMetrick reports, this situation recently sparked a unique water rescue.

Ospreys are skilled nest builders. And apparently, those sturdy nests can also serve as life rafts.

Last week on the Magothy River in Pasadena, Paul Rothe and friends were crabbing.

“We got over there, there’s an osprey nest, the whole nest in the water,” Rothe says. “I’ve never seen anything like that before in my life, and I’ve been on the water my whole life.”
Even more surprising was the contents of the nest.

Ear-ear! Rare Norfolk sightings of long-eared owl caught on camera

PUBLISHED: 14:08 27 July 2017 | UPDATED: 14:16 27 July 2017


An amateur wildlife photographer from Norfolk made the sighting of his life - not once but twice - when he photographed a long-eared owl on consecutive days this week.

Brian Shreeve, 71, and his wife Ann, 72, of Hemblington, made the rare sighting of the winged predator in the Ludham Marshes area on Monday and Tuesday. He said: “I have never seen one of them before in my 50 odd years of loving wildlife.”

Mr Shreeve, a keen wildlife photographer, said he and Mrs Shreeve usually went out in the early morning and evenings during the week when it was quieter.

“Ann acts as my spotter. When I’m looking through the viewfinder she looks around to see what I’m missing.”


Sunday, 6 August 2017

Why are the roseate spoonbill and other Gulf Coast birds in Pennsylvania?


Updated on August 1, 2017 at 11:07 AMPosted on August 1, 2017 at 8:57 AM

Birds that normally spend their summers along the southern coast of the U.S. and points farther south in the Gulf of Mexico and South America are making almost unheard-of visits to Pennsylvania this year.

A roseate spoonbill has been drawing anxious birders to Conodoguinet Creek in Hampden Township, near Camp Hill in Dauphin County for the past week or so. Reports of a roseate spoonbill - likely the same bird - first emerged July 15 from the Conejohela Flats section of the Susquehanna River, near Washington Borough in Lancaster County.

If the two sightings about 30 miles apart were the same bird, together they would represent only the fourth time in nearly 150 years that a spoonbill has been documented in Pennsylvania. 

Lone spoonbills previously were confirmed in the state in 1869, 1924 and 1968, according to Dan Brauning, supervisor of the Pennsylvania Game Commission's Wildlife Diversity Program, project director of the second Pennsylvania Breeding Bird Atlas project in 2004-08 and co-author of "The Birds of Pennsylvania," the definitive book on birds in the state.
They are normally found along the Gulf Coast in Florida and Texas, islands in the Gulf of Mexico and South America.


Researchers in Cambodia find nest of rare riverine bird


Updated: Jul 20, 2017 - 9:19 PM

PHNOM PENH, Cambodia (AP) - Wildlife researchers in Cambodia have found a breeding location for the masked finfoot, one of the world's most endangered birds, raising hopes of its continuing survival.

Masked Finfoot.jpgThe New York-based Wildlife Conservation Society said Thursday its scientists, along with conservationists from Cambodia's Environment Ministry and residents along the Memay river in the Kulen Promtep Wildlife Sanctuary, discovered the only confirmed breeding location in Cambodia for the very rare species.

The International Union for Conservation of Nature has placed the bird on its red list of globally endangered species because its worldwide population of less than 1,000 is declining at an alarming rate. It is found only in Bangladesh, Cambodia, India, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam.

Poaching and cutting down the trees where the bird lives are causing the population decline, said Eng Mengey, a communications officer at the Wildlife Conservation Society.


Friday, 4 August 2017

The Hornbill Hunters of Sumatra


Posted on August 1, 2017By Gregory McCann

Slaughter of magnificent birds in a contradictory culture

In 2011, a Taiwanese businessman named Hsien arrived in Indonesia with a plan to make himself rich and in the process to systematically wipe out one of the world’s most majestic and rarest birds, the helmeted hornbill, Rhinoplax vigil, also known as the “King Hornbill”  in the provinces of Kalimantan and Sumatra.

He has made considerable progress. According to an article on the website Borneo Features titled “Planning a Path to Perdition,” middlemen were recruited to put out the word that there was someone willing to pay US$10 for the head of one helmeted hornbill. Over the next year, according to the article, the middlemen hired a network of people using cars, buses, motorcycles and boats, heading up the great rivers of Borneo, the Barito, Mahakam, Kapuas. In the interior of this vast island, they spent time talking to villagers, telling them they would come every three months to collect, and leaving their telephone numbers, no questions asked.” “I will come here every three months to collect.” “This is my phone number. You can call me if you have a good stock ready for collection, say at least 50 heads.”
Prices have skyrocketed since then, and the organized network of villagers hunting Helmeted Hornbills has expanded throughout all of Sumatra as well as Peninsular Malaysia and Southern Thailand—the entire range for the species.



Great white egret bird returns to New Forest wildlife reserve ready for winter


Aaron Shaw  Trainee Reporter

ONE of the UK's rarest birds has returned to a Hampshire wildlife reserve.

Known as Walter, the great white egret is a familiar sight to the thousands of visitors that visit the Blashford Lakes Nature reserve near Ringwood every year.

Great white egrets are one of the rarer feathered visitors to the UK, and the bird usually arrives in the UK in August ready for winter, which Walter has done since 2003.

He spends six months at the reserve which is managed by the Hampshire and Isle of Wight Wildlife Trust.

Bob Chapman, reserves officer said: "Walter has become a much loved winter fixture on the reserve and although not the rarity he was when he first turned up, he is still a great sight.
"Especially good views can be had when he is fishing close to the Ivy North hide, where sometimes he can be seen alongside kingfisher and bittern in the water."

A similar size to a heron, the great white egret was close to extinction in Europe a few decades ago, with around 35 spending their winter in the UK.


Maine lobstermen rescue swimming bald eagle that is on the verge of drowning


USA TODAY NETWORKCydney Henderson, The Arizona RepublicPublished 6:29 p.m. ET Aug. 1, 2017 | Updated 6:29 p.m. ET Aug. 1, 2017

PHOENIX — Lobstermen have many strange encounters during their time at sea.

This memorable account in Maine, however, is one for the books.

Lobsterman John Chipman and his sternman Kevin Meaney lent a helping hand to one of the country’s most cherished animals — a bald eagle.

The national bird of the United States symbolizes unlimited freedom, but a wildlife biologist who serves as Maine’s bird group leader says this particular eagle was on the brink of drowning.

“I knew it wasn’t going to make it,” said Chipman. “The way he was acting, I knew he wanted help.”



Thursday, 3 August 2017

Bird with super senses inspires researchers

Not much surprises the oilbird. Its senses are super sharp and when combined, may function in a way that can inspire researchers to construct better drones and more advanced technology.

All animals use a combination of several different senses to cope. But where the majority typically rely on one or two sensory systems, which are especially sensitive, the oilbird excels by apparently having keen senses all-around.

In addition to its extremely sensitive vision, the oilbird has the neural foundation for an excellent sense of smell, bristles by the beak for tactile sensation and it also uses its hearing for echolocation, which we find otherwise pretty much only in bats and toothed whales.

- This complex sensory apparatus, where the animal has the ability to combine input from so many well-developed senses, is interesting to study, says Signe Brinkløv, postdoc in the Sound, Communication and Behaviour Group at the Department of Biology, University of Southern Denmark.

As a biologist, she is interested in understanding how the oilbird uses its senses to achieve the best possible conditions in its natural surroundings.

From a more applied perspective, she is fascinated by how researchers' knowledge of animal sensory systems can be used in the world of humans.


Missing bird for 60 years finally breeds again in Pennsylvania



MARY ANN THOMAS  | Sunday, July 30, 2017, 8:33 p.m.

The piping plover, a federally endangered bird missing from Pennsylvania for 60 years is finally breeding at Presque Isle State Park in Erie, according to the Pennsylvania Game Commission.

Named after its high-pitched piping call, the piping plover is a robin-sized shorebird that nests on beaches and is colored to blend in with sand and sticks.

Unfortunately, the birds' breeding habitat, open beaches, is also preferred by people.

Development and human traffic on beaches coupled with predation has caused steep declines in the plover population through the 1940s and 1950s.

The Game Commission and the Audubon Society reported two piping plover chicks, which were banded, from one of two nests at the park's Gull Point.

Strong waves overtook the second nest, however, the Game Commission and Audubon biologists rescued the eggs, which were transferred first to the Detroit Zoo and then to the University of Michigan Biological Station piping plover captive-rearing facility. Two chicks hatched and will be released on Lake Michigan in early August.

“This is a testament to dedication and teamwork, not only in Pennsylvania but throughout the species' range,” said Dan Brauning, Game Commission Wildlife Diversity Program Chief. “Their return wasn't by chance, or an accident.”

According to the Audubon Society, bringing the plovers back to the peninsula has taken a lot of work. Audubon provided the “eyes in the field” since 2009, with Mary Birdsong and other monitors providing daily updates on bird sightings and activity to all the agencies involved.
Audubon said it monitors noted, for instance, a tripling of the shorebird population at Gull Point after groups removed invasive plants and other vegetation taking over the sandy beach habitat that plovers and other shorebirds need.


Extremely rare bird is born at Bristol Zoo…with a face only its mother could love



Extremely rare bird is born at Bristol Zoo...with a face only it's mother could love 
An extremely rare bird has been born at a UK zoo for the first ever time — with a face only its mother could love.

The Philippine cockatoo chick, which has not yet been named, hatched last week weighing a tiny 0.207 lbs.

But the chick quickly became a contender for the ugliest bird in the world with its saggy, featherless skin and crusting, undeveloped beak.

It will, however, find comfort in the fact that one day he will grow up to be a beautiful white bird, with bright orange and yellow tail feathers on its underside.

This extremely rare chick has been hatched at Bristol Zoo Gardens for the first ever time.
The chick’s arrival at Bristol Zoo gardens is particularly significant because the breed of bird is on the International Union for Conservation of Nature’s red list.

The critically endangered species has seen a rapid population reduction owing to extensive loss of its lowland habitats and trapping for the cagebird trade.

The chick’s family is now being kept under close surveillance because the parents have never reared any young before.

Its parents were brought to Bristol Zoo in 2004 and have since divided their time between there and the Wild Place Project near Cribbs Causeway.

Bristol Zoo Gardens team leader of birds, Trevor Franks, said during his ten years at he had only previously seen one egg from this pair of Philippine cockatoos – and that had been broken.

Continued  

Wednesday, 2 August 2017

19 critically endangered giant ibis nests discovered in Cambodia: conservationist group


Source: Xinhua| 2017-08-02 18:49:57|Editor: Song Lifang

PHNOM PENH, Aug. 2 (Xinhua) -- A conservationist group has found 19 nests of globally endangered giant ibis during the current breeding season in the Northern Plains of Cambodia in Preah Vihear province, a Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) statement said on Wednesday.

Community members and conservationists are working together under the Bird Nest Protection Program to protect these nests from human disturbances and other threats, the statement said.

Giant ibis (Thaumatibis gigantea), Cambodia's national bird, is listed as critically endangered on the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List and exists only in Cambodia and Laos, it said, adding that about 99 percent of the global population, estimated to contain 194 mature individuals, lives in Cambodia.

"As of July this year, our research team has recorded 19 nests of the giant ibis; 14 located in Chhep Wildlife Sanctuary and five in the Kulen Promtep Wildlife Sanctuary," said Thong Sokha, wildlife research and monitoring team leader for Environment Ministry and WCS in Chhep Wildlife Sanctuary.

He said the species' breeding period is between June and September, and the team is now working closely with local communities to monitor those recorded nests and search for new ones in both sanctuaries.