An African fishing eagle carries a fish over Lake Baringo, Kenya. The species is under threat in this area, as local goat farmers have taken to throwing fish laced with poison into the river to kill off crocodiles which eat their cattle.
^I wish that people would STOP poisoning wildlife. There’s always a cascade effect.
House sparrows – also endangered – fell by 17% on 2012 figures, while bullfinches and dunnock numbers also fell, by 20% and 13% respectively. While green finches have declined by nearly 21% since last year.
Martin Harper, the RSPB’s conservation director, said: “We know from the many people who take part in Big Garden Birdwatch every year that garden birds are incredibly precious to us and connect us to nature every day … but several of our familiar and best-loved species have been declining at alarming rates over the 34 years that the RSPB has been running the birdwatch and this year’s results show a continuing decline.”
The starling, famous for its winter “murmurations” involving up to hundreds of thousands of birds, has seen a steady decline in numbers since the BGBW survey began in 1979. Losses have been linked to the loss of traditional, established farming pastures, where experts believe that intensively farmed land makes it more difficult for birds to find their favourite food – the cranefly larvae that live in undisturbed soil.
^So bizarre for me to think about Starlings and House Sparrows as being a threatened/declining species anywhere. The article doesn’t specify if these trends are present throughout Europe or only in the UK. A good example of how many bird species are suffering the effects of climate change and habitat destruction.
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is ready to throw out the birdy with the lawsuit.
The federal government’s principal wildlife conservation agency said this week that it wants to withdraw a 16-year old designation of protected habitat for a Pacific Northwest bird species in order to resolve settle an industry lawsuit.
In a proposed consent decree filed Tuesday with the U.S. District Court in Washington, the Obama administration, an Oregon county, a timber industry organization, and a carpenter’s union agreed that a series of court decisions requires that critical habitat for the endangered marbled murrelet be “reconsidered.”
The industry lawsuit alleges that FWS improperly included in the designation land that is not actually needed by the bird species for survival.
The Lesser Prairie Chicken is an upland bird found in mixed grass, sand-sage and shinnery oak prairies of western Thumbnail of Lesser Prairie ChickenKansas, southeast Colorado, northwest Oklahoma, the Texas panhandle, and eastern New Mexico. Once widely distributed, the bird has experienced dramatic reductions in population and is now a candidate for listing under the Endangered Species Act. Biologists estimate that only about 50,000 breeding birds remain…
A male Robinson Crusoe firecrown perched on a branch on Robinson Crusoe Island. Invasive species are crowding out the unique native plants and birds that evolved during more than a million years of isolation before the first people moved into the Juan Fernández archipelago, composed of three remote islands; Robinson Crusoe, Alejandro Selkirk and Santa Clara, about 416 miles west of the Chilean mainland.
The arrival of warm, sunny conditions has come too late to help one of the UK’s most well-known summer birds, the swift, which has been hit by this year’s miserable weather. Flocks of swifts are already starting to head back to Africa, where they spend the winter, following a ‘disastrous’ breeding season, conservationists said.
IT’S a case of habitat well and truly lost for South Florida’s Cape Sable seaside sparrow. It can enjoy only a fraction of the homeland it was promised.
The Center for Biological Diversity in Tucson, Arizona, has found that the US Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) systematically ignored recommendations to increase habitats for endangered species between 2002 and 2007.
“The sparrow’s habitat is a good example,” says Kieran Suckling, executive director of the centre. The sparrow’s proposed home was cut in half by the FWS.
Stuart Pimm of Duke University in Durham, North Carolina, says FWS scientists decide what land should be a protected habitat based on a tried and tested formula and peer review. He adds, though, that proposals are almost always cut extensively by the decision-makers.
Did you know the California condor, once on the brink of complete extinction throughout the West, is making a comeback? Recently, our newest intern Meagan Johnson had the rare opportunity to visit the Oregon Zoo’s Jonsson Center for Wilderness Conservation California condor breeding facility.
In 1987 California condors were near extinction in California, and the decision was made to bring in the remaining 22 birds from the wild with the goal of breeding them in captivity, something which had never been tried before. Luckily, these amazing birds took to captive breeding quite well, and thanks to the Oregon Zoo’s off-site breeding facility, and similar sites in California, 416 California condors exist today, the majority of which have been released back into the wild.
30 years ago, efforts began to save the California condor, an iconic species on the brink of extinction. Since then, a lot of progress has been made, and the last count revealed 405 known California condors. The population is split between 179 individuals living in zoos, and 226 living in the wild. But while the progress that has been made so far is encouraging, it’s too early to say that the California condor has been saved.
Key among issues are lead poisoning caused by condors eating animals, or gut piles from animals, shot with lead ammunition.
Botulism intoxication, which causes the paralysis and death of intoxicated vertebrates, is caused by ingestion of neurotoxins produced by the bacterium Clostridium botulinum. Periodic outbreaks of type E botulism have resulted in die-offs of fish and fish-eating birds in the Great Lakes since at least the 1960s, but outbreaks have become more common and widespread since 1999, particularly in lakes Michigan, Erie and Ontario (Riley et al. 2008). Botulism has been responsible for over 80,000 bird deaths on the Great Lakes since 1999, and extensive bird mortality in northern Lake Michigan near Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore (SLBE; over 4150 birds in 2007) received widespread press attention and caused great public concern. The actual sites of toxin exposure for birds remain unknown. (via USGS Great Lakes Restoration Initiative - Habitat & Wildlife - Avian botulism in distressed Great Lakes environments)
Type E botulism is not an invasive species and has been present in the Great Lakes system for many years. However, the recent trend of warmer winters has led to more outbreaks. If lake water does not cool enough in the winter, the bacteria are able to start reproducing and this causes problems for birds (especially waterfowl), fish species, and mud puppies. According to an expert who gave a seminar at my college, another outbreak is expected this year.
ScienceDaily (Apr. 11, 2012) — Using tiny tags to track a bird’s location, biologists from PRBO Conservation Science (PRBO) have unlocked the mystery of where Golden-crowned Sparrows, which overwinter in California, go to breed in the spring. Published this week in the journal PLoS ONE, the study reveals for the first time the exact migration route of this small songbird to its breeding sites in coastal Alaska.
During a time when birds are experiencing the negative impacts of climate and land-use changes, being able to pinpoint the most important breeding and stopover places is critical to prioritizing conservation investments.