Birdwatch Day for Saemangeum

Posted by ardeidae on January 17, 2006

I’ve been following Charlie’s Bird Blog for quite some time and consider it an essential read. I recently received an email from Charlie asking for some help.

I’ve just posted a piece on my homepage about the reclamation (ie destruction) of 40100ha of critically-important tidal-flats at a place called Saemangeum in South Korea, and plans to help finance a team of internationally-recognised researchers to survey the area before the sea-wall closes.

Charlie co-founded Birds Korea with his brother and two Korean colleagues a few years ago to help stop the destruction of habitat in the Yellow Sea eco-region. The posting on Charlie’s website is rather alarming.

This huge area is in the process of being closed off by a 6 metre high sea-wall. There will be no habitat left when “Saemangeum” is dried out, despite “plans” to build a 300ha “marsh”: a totally unsuitable habitat for tidal-flat, saltwater specialist feeders. In just a few years time 400,000 birds will have lost the most important staging area in the Yellow Sea. Add Saemangeum’s destroyed tidal flats to the huge reclamations that have already happened in Korea and China - and try to work out how these species are supposed to survive the 21st Century (we’re trying to, but it’s not easy is it?).

We (and other Korean NGOs) have fought very hard to get this project stopped, but the forces stacked up against us are rich, powerful, and influential. They may not have science on their side, but they have the impetus of a region that is developing without much regard to the environment whatsoever. Ask them to justify wiping off the map such an important staging area, and they counter - I’m paraphrasing here a little - with “Why not?”. An argument that the pro-reclamation camp has always used is that there is insufficient scientifically-valid data to show that a) the number of shorebirds using the area is as high as we know it to be, and that b) no-one can say for sure - despite it being obvious to anyone but a complete idiot - that reclaiming 40100ha of prime shorebird habitat will actually impact on the birds (I know, staggering, but any port in a storm of criticism…).

Birds Korea has been working hard to get an internationally-recognized group of researchers and ornithologists to South Korea to show how important the area is, but they need help. They’re up against developers with no conscience and a lot of money. Visit Charlie’s site for the full low-down and participate in “Birdwatch Day for Saemangeum”. Around 400,000 birds such as the Great Knot (Calidris tenuirostris), critically endangered Nordmann’s Greenshank (Tringa guttifer), and 10% of the world’s population of Spoon-billed Sandpiper (Eurynorhynchus pygmeus) are being threatened by this development. They could all use a little help.


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Fledglinks

Posted by ardeidae on January 17, 2006

  • Braveheart Raptor Rehabilitation Center in Twin Lake, Michigan releases Bald Eagle (Haliaeetus leucocephalus) after helping it survive a three-month bout of lead poisoning. "This is a bird that fought to stay alive," said Susan Stamy, the one credited with bringing the bird back to life. "We need to be better stewards of the air and the land and water," she said. "I swear I'm going to be a better person because of this. It's always a privilege to work with a bird ... but I feel like my life has changed because of him."
  • Cypress trees in San Fancisco spared. They are important to the parrots who starred in the movie "The Wild Parrots of Telegraph Hill". Months ago, Mark Bittner, human star of the movie, stopped the aging trees from being cut down by the land owner. A compromise has been reached; new trees will be planted next to the troubled cypresses and will hopefully be able to replace the them when they're deemed a danger to falling.
  • Updated Vietnam Red Book to be released. The book was first compiled in 1992, but biodiversity changes had warranted an update. The book shows that endangered species increased 209 species for animals and 173 for plants, and scientists consider six species to have gone extinct.
  • What would you do if you discovered the breeding location of a rare bird or animal? Do you keep it secret in hopes nobody will find it, or do you announce it and hope it will provide protection? Mark Brazil of The Japan Times took the "honey-pot approach" with the Peregrine Falcon (Falco peregrinus) in Britain when he was younger. Now he suggests doing the same with the endangered Blakiston's Fish Owl (Bubo blakistoni, formerly Ketupa blakistoni) in Japan.

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Fledglinks

Posted by ardeidae on January 16, 2006

  • Although the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge was recently spared from oil drilling, Teshekpuk Lake wasn't so lucky. Last week, The US Department of the Interior opened the Teshekpuk Lake area to oil drilling. The wetlands around the 315-acre lake are popular Inupiat hunting and fishing grounds and are widely considered among the most vital in the Arctic for molting geese. It's part of the 23.5 million acres designated the National Petroleum Reserve, but in the 1980s, Reagan's Interior Secretary, James Watt, protected the area around the lake from development, arguing it was too sensitive. Bush is promising special protections, but environmental groups are concerned it will fragment the habitat. In all, 389,000 acres of Alaskan lakes, tundra, and shoreline will be affected.
  • US Fish and Wildlife Service denies emergency request to list the Red Knot (Calidris canutus) as endangered. In the last decade, the population of Red Knots has dropped from nearly 100,000 on the Delaware Bay, a migratory stopover, to fewer than 15,000. Computer models predict the bird could be extinct by 2010. Under a non-emergency basis, the USFWS has 90 days after a petition is filed to consider if a species should be listed. It's been almost six months since environmental groups filed petitions and the USFWS still hasn't proposed it for listing. According to them, "We have so many issues and so few resources that it takes us longer." Tell that to the birds.
  • Snowy Owl (Bubo scandiacus) spotted near Davis, California. The last reported sighting of a Snowy Owl in California was in 1978. There's an unusually high influx of these owls in the US this year due to a shortage of food in Canada and Alaska.
  • Bird watchers gather near Lyndonville, New York to get rare sighting of Northern Hawk Owl (Surnia ulula). "This is one of those rare birds that people will come from hundreds of miles to see," said Garner Light, an organizer for the Buffalo Audubon Society. Like the many Snowy Owls (Bubo scandiacus) seen lately, it probably came down from Canada looking for food.
  • Macaw bites alleged burglar, helping police to identify the suspect. The man confessed to breaking the glass in the door to get into the apartment, but said he was too drunk to remember anything else but his encounter with the bird.
  • Maine woman sets world record for largest collection of owl memorabilia.
  • Investigation by ProFauna Indonesia reveals that birds are being smuggled from Indonesia in crates used to ship dogs, cats and other animals. Many of the birds are protected and endangered. Birds are confined in the tight space and their beaks are taped shut to prevent them from making any sound. They are also deprived of food and water. Said one investigator, "It's no surprise to see that 40% die before reaching the markets."

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Fledglinks

Posted by ardeidae on January 12, 2006

  • Endangered Red-cockaded Woodpecker (Picoides borealis) spotted during bird count in Mathews, Virginia on New Year's Day. It's "a pretty rare bird for this part of the country," said the organizer/compiler Mary Pulley.
  • Iowa Tribe opens rehabilitation center in Perkins, Oklahoma. It's the second Indian tribe to open an avian care facility. The first one, the Zuni Eagle Aviary in New Mexico, is a reservation-based aviary for non-releasable eagles. Some birds rehabilitated at the Iowa Tribe's center will be eligible for release. John Antonio, Native American liaison for the Fish and Wildlife Service, said "These eagles will eventually be released back into the wild, so this is the first tribal rehab center in the whole country."
  • Purdue researchers discover that feather-plucking is influenced more by stress and genetics rather than being learned from other birds. "It leads to an obvious change to suggest to people," said Joseph Garner, assistant professor of animal sciences and author of the study. "You don't want to have your bird on the edge of a kitchen island or something where someone can come in and surprise him." Good advice for those with feathered companions.
  • Help the Birds 2006 campaign launched in India to help save the lives of birds during the Uttarayan and international kite festivals. The Animal Help Foundation, India's forest department, and Bombay Natural History Society are all working to rescue injured birds. Dr. Devojit Das, an avian expert working with BNHS from Chandigarh, said: "The population of vultures has gone down by 99 per cent in the span of 10 years. We are here to ensure that no deaths of this endangered speices take place during the kite festival." They're short of volunteers, so help them out if you can.
  • Male Bald Eagle (Haliaeetus leucocephalus) released at Trinidad Lake in Colorado. It was taken to the Pueblo Raptor Center in November after being poisoned by feeding on the carcass of a horse that had been euthanized and left in a field.

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Fledglinks

Posted by ardeidae on January 11, 2006

  • Northern Ireland residents being asked to report sightings of a White-tailed Sea Eagle (Haliaeetus albicilla). The bird is rare to the area; it's found in western Scotland and is thought to have been blown off course by severe weather over Christmas. The Royal Society for the Protection of Birds fears that it may feed off of illegally-poisoned carrion used to kill foxes and vermin. If you happen to spot the bird, please contact them.
  • Christmas bird count at Glacier National Park in Montana records promising number of Bald Eagles (Haliaeetus leucocephalus). With 16 reported, it's the most since the mid 1980s. Ruffed Grouse (Bonasa umbellus) also showed higher-than-normal numbers. In all, the park reported a near-high count of 37 species, with a total of 592 individual birds.
  • Bald Eagle (Haliaeetus leucocephalus provides brief excitement for residents at Martin's Lake in Robertson County, Kentucky. "I have never seen an eagle before and this is just wonderful," said resident Larry Beckett.

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Fledglinks

Posted by ardeidae on January 10, 2006

  • Wyoming wildlife managers studying effects of industrial and residential development on wildlife. Alison Holloran of Audubon Wyoming found disturbances with Sage Grouse when researching her master's thesis. "I found that in areas disturbed by gas development, the hens moved farther to nest than hens in undisturbed areas," Holloran said. "There's potential for them to be pushed out into subpar habitat, and that could impact their recruitment and nest success."
  • Australia government rejects development plan on part of Kangaroo Island essential for the endangered Glossy Black Cockatoo (Calyptorhynchus lathami). State Environment Minister John Hill noted "The proposed subdivision and development would have had a significant impact on the (cockatoo) through destruction of critical habitat and disturbance through the heightened activity that would occur in the area following development."
  • California's Peregrine Falcons (Falco peregrinus) to be counted during a 2006 census starting in March. Santa Cruz Predatory Bird Research Group is organizing the 2006 census, which is required by the US Fish and Wildlife Service every three years. There are an estimated 1650 to 3000 breeding pairs in North America. The Peregrine Falcon was removed from the federal list of endangered species in 1999, but remains on California's list.

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Fledglinks

Posted by ardeidae on January 09, 2006

  • Carolina Raptor Center at Latta Plantation Nature Preserve in Huntersville, North Carolina holding its annual Wild Wings Winter Festival on Saturday, January 21, from noon until 4 pm.
  • Bald Eagles (Haliaeetus leucocephalus) in Florida Keys rebuilding nests destroyed by hurricanes in 2004 and 2005. Within weeks of the 2004 storms, 80 percent of the destroyed nests were rebuilt. In October 2005, Hurricane Wilma wiped out or heavily damaged 12 of the 13 nests in St. Lucie County. "Every one of them has been rebuilt, which is amazing to me," said Bob Carey, Audubon eagle monitor.
  • Barn Owl (Tyto alba) rescued from woman's chimney in Buhl, Idaho. After spending the night in the chimney, the woman's son-in-law lowered a rope down and the owl hung onto long enough for it to be grabbed. It then recovered and flew off. "I am going to get a grate installed on the top of the chimney," she said. "I like the owls, but not stuck in my chimney." Good advice for all.
  • Peregrine Falcon (Falco peregrinus) released back into the wild in Mountain View, California. It was found November 22 with a chest injury and fluid in its lungs, and was rehabilitated at Wildlife Rescue Inc. in Palo Alto. There's an estimated 1650 to 3000 breeding pairs of Peregrine Falcons in North America, and although they were removed from the federal list of endangered species in 1999, they still remain on some states' lists. Many rehabilitation centers such as Wildlife Rescue Inc. operate on very limited budgets and rely heavily on volunteers. Please help support your local rehab center through donations of money or time.
  • Bald Eagle (Haliaeetus leucocephalus) recovering after hitting a power line in Palm Bay, Florida. It was taken to the Florida Wildlife Hospital and Sanctuary before being transferred to Audubon Center for Birds of Prey in Maitland for further rehabilitation.

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I and the Bird #14

Posted by ardeidae on January 05, 2006

Lake Birdbegon Days” is I and the Bird #14. Professional storyteller Gwyn Calvetti of Bird brained stories! pays tribute to Garrison Keillor of A Prairie Home Companion as she weaves in the many wonderful blog stories that comprise this week’s show.

If you missed the last two editions of “I and the Bird” because of December craziness, like Beakspeak did, make sure to check out “I And The Bird 12: The Canterbirdy Tales” by David Ringer of Search and Serendipity and “I And The Bird 13” by Cindy at Woodsong. They’re both worth catching up on.

To participate in a future “I and the Bird” carnival, check out the “I and the Bird” info page. The deadline for submissions for the next edition at Snail’s Tales is January 17.

I and the Bird

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Fledglinks

Posted by ardeidae on January 05, 2006


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Fledglinks

Posted by ardeidae on January 04, 2006

  • Ohio Division of Fish and Wildlife asking Ohio residents to report eagle sightings through the 15th of this month. Both Bald Eagles (Haliaeetus leucocephalus) and Golden Eagles (Aquila chrysaetos) have been seen in the area. The Bald Eagle population in Ohio has grown from only four nesting pairs in the late 1970s to more than 125 breeding pairs.
  • Annual Eagle Watch being held by Salt Plains National Wildlife Refuge and the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation on January 7 and 14. It's free and reservations are not needed. Show up at the refuge at 3pm for viewing, or arrive at 1pm for a winter bird identification program. Oklahoma plays host to 700 to 1,500 Bald Eagles (Haliaeetus leucocephalus) every winter.
  • Dale Bowman of the Chicago Sun-Times recounts his recent sightings of Snowy Owls (Bubo scandiacus) in Iroquois and Kankakee Counties in Illinois. "I loved it. Oh, I still dream of catching a 61/2-pound, Illinois-record smallmouth bass, but for now I savor tentatively documenting Iroquois County's first snowy owl."
  • Louisiana man admits to shooting and killing a Bald Eagle (Haliaeetus leucocephalus). He says he thought he was shooting at a "chicken hawk", but it doesn't matter...shooting any raptor is illegal. The man faces a fine of up to $100,000 and a year in jail. Raptors provide more benefit than harm. If one happens to be causing damage or problems, don't illegally kill it. Instead contact your local fish and wildlife service.

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