Global protection for migratory birds agreed by conservationists

 Common Cranes, such as these birds migrating north over Spain, may be more robustly protected after this week's international agreements. Photo: Antonio (commons.wikimedia.org).

Common Cranes, such as these birds migrating north over Spain, may be more robustly protected after this week’s international agreements. Photo: Antonio (commons.wikimedia.org)

Two new international agreements have been reached by conservationists to help save migratory bird species across continents.

The Conference of the Parties of the Convention on Migratory Species (CMS) has agreed a set of guidelines to tackle some of the causes of poisoning and ratified a ground-breaking action plan to save more than 400 bird species.

In top of this, the Poisoning Resolution to reduce and minimise poisoning of migrating birds includes a ban on veterinary diclofenac, the phasing out of all lead ammunition, and action on lethal rodenticides, insecticides and poison baits. These five groups of toxic substance were identified as the most significant poisoning risks to migratory birds and the agreement marks a milestone in ending this threat. Continue reading

Avian expert warns migratory birds are facing annihilation

Millions of migratory birds that fly tens of thousands of kilometres between their homes in Australia and Siberia are facing annihilation as development destroys the vital feeding grounds they rely on during their epic journeys, a Deakin University avian expert has warned.

Director of Deakin’s Centre for Integrative Ecology Professor Marcel Klaassen has joined a growing chorus of leading scientists alarmed by a sudden and dramatic drop in the number of shorebirds finally arriving in Australia after their legendary flights across the globe. Continue reading

Earlier snowmelt prompting earlier breeding of Arctic birds

 Just hatched Arctic shorebirds, like this long-billed dowitcher above, need to feed on abundant insects to grow and get ready for their southward migration in mid-summer. With earlier and earlier springs, shorebirds and other Arctic birds are challenged to adjust the timing of their breeding to insure that young have abundant resources. Credit: Steve Zack

Just hatched Arctic shorebirds, like this long-billed dowitcher above, need to feed on abundant insects to grow and get ready for their southward migration in mid-summer. With earlier and earlier springs, shorebirds and other Arctic birds are challenged to adjust the timing of their breeding to insure that young have abundant resources. Credit: Steve Zack

 

A new collaborative study that included the work of Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) biologists has revealed that migratory birds that breed in Arctic Alaska are initiating nests earlier in the spring, and that snowmelt occurring earlier in the season is a big reason why.

The report, “Phenological advancement in arctic bird species: relative importance of snow melt and ecological factors,” appears in the current on-line edition of the journal Polar Biology. Lead author Joe Liebezeit (formerly with WCS) and co-author Steve Zack of WCS have conducted research on Arctic birds and conservation issues in Alaska for more than a decade. Liebezeit now works for the Audubon Society of Portland. Other co-authors of the study include Kirsty Gurney of the University of Alaska Fairbanks, and Michael Budde and David Ward of the U.S. Geological Survey, Alaska Science Center. Continue reading

How migratory birds help spread plant species

How migratory birds help spread plant species.

How migratory birds help spread plant species.

Did you know that pollens travel as far off as across continents? And how do they travel? On the wings of migratory birds.

A study offers critical insight into the ecology and evolution of plants that are represented across continents.

The study, done by the University of Connecticut (UConn) researchers, found 23 regenerative plant diaspores (plant seeds) trapped in the feathers of migratory birds leaving the Arctic harbour for South America.

The researchers studied American golden plovers, semi palmated sandpipers and red phalaropes all birds that breed in coastal tundra. Continue reading

Birds Find An Unlikely Resting Place In Drought-Stricken California

Sandhill cranes are one of the most iconic migratory shorebirds that rest in the Central Valley. CREDIT: AP Images

Sandhill cranes are one of the most iconic migratory shorebirds that rest in the Central Valley. CREDIT: AP Images

As California braces for what is shaping up to be its driest year on record, millions of birds are winging their way down through the Golden State’s parched Central Valley along the migratory route known as the Pacific Flyway. But with just 5 percent of the historic wetlands of the region remaining, habitat for migratory shorebirds in need of a rest and a meal is in short supply. Continue reading

Campaign saves migratory falcons

Last year, around 12,000 Amur falcons had been slaughtered in Nagaland during a halt in their Siberia-Africa journey. But a massive awareness campaign saved them this year.

Last year, around 12,000 Amur falcons had been slaughtered in Nagaland during a halt in their Siberia-Africa journey. But a massive awareness campaign saved them this year.

A massacre and a miracle, Pangti in the Wokha district of Nagaland has seen both within a span of a year. In October-November last year, this scenic village on the edge of the massive Doyang dam reservoir was the site of a mass carnage. An estimated 1,20,000 to 1,40,000 Amur falcons were killed here by locals for food as the migratory bird made its customary stop in the district while flying back to Africa from its breeding grounds in Siberia.

The birds returned this year — up to a million of them descending around the man-made water body in October and November. But not a single falcon was trapped and killed this time around, say conservationists and forest officials.

Continue reading