Exotic European birds to settle in UK as it gets warmer

 A bee eater Photo: Ian Reditt/Nationalt Trust


A bee eater Photo: Ian Reditt/Nationalt Trust

Rare birds that have not bred in the UK for decades have produced clutches of chicks, as experts predict the warm summers could mean more exotic European species will colonise Britain.

Four bee eater chicks have been born in the Isle of Wight, the first time the birds have bred for 12 years, while two black winged stilts have produced young successfully this year, the first time in almost 30 years.

Two rare glossy ibises, native to the South of France, also set up a nest and started to show signs of getting ready to breed in the UK – the only time this has happened since records began.

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NZ battles pests to save native birds

New Zealand’s largest pest control programme has been given the go ahead to protect native wildlife from a plague of rats and stoats, Conservation Minister Nick Smith says.

Dr Smith outlined the “battle for our birds” programme in January. The final programme has now been determined.

Some new areas have been added, such as D’Urville Island in the Marlborough Sounds, some expanded like in the Kahurangi National Park, and some may not proceed due to pest count numbers not yet reaching thresholds. Continue reading

Noisy parakeets ‘drive away’ native birds

 Parakeets feed from a bird feeder in a domestic back garden in Charshalton Beeches in London, England Photo: GETTY


Parakeets feed from a bird feeder in a domestic back garden in Charshalton Beeches in London, England Photo: GETTY

Some say they first appeared in the British skies after escaping from the set of the Humphrey Bogart film The African Queen.

Others argue they have bred from a pair released in Carnaby Street in the 1960s by the rock star Jimi Hendrix. Still others suggest they were first liberated from a private collection during the Great Storm of 1987. Continue reading

Research: Which native birds could cause urban conflict

Research predicts which native birds could cause urban conflict

Research predicts which native birds could cause urban conflict

Pukeko, kaka and gulls are the native bird species most likely to cause problems in New Zealand’s cities in the future, according to new research.

A study from Victoria University of Wellington’s Centre for Biodiversity and Restoration Ecology compared native birds in cities all over the world and found that species that consume a wide variety of food types were the most likely to cause conflict in urban areas. Continue reading

Crows destroying Dubai’s native bird species

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Dubai: A little bird being attacked in its nest while you are out enjoying the evening sun can be distressing to say the least but this is just one of several reports across Dubai of crows playing the villain. The incident mentioned here played out at the Walk in Jumeirah Beach Residence. The small bird was tucking into its nest in a tree just before sunset on Tuesday when, out of nowhere, a crow swooped down. Within seconds, the crow flew away with an egg in its beak.

Sightings of crows raiding nests and feeding on eggs and fledglings have become increasingly common in Dubai. In Jumeirah Village Triangle, there have been reports of crows dropping dead fledglings in gardens, and even scaring children in the neighbourhood.

“Crows are a real menace in Dubai. They are aggressive in nature. They kill indigenous bird species like warblers, resident bulbuls and laughing doves, which, if unstopped, can become endangered,” Dr Reza Khan, specialist, wildlife and zoo management, Public Parks and Horticulture Department of Dubai Municipality, told Gulf News.

Crows are originally from the subcontinent. They began invading other countries about 150 years ago by hitching rides on ships. Crows are now a common species in all continents, except Antarctica.
Dr Khan said he first spotted a pair of crows roosting at Maktoum Bridge in Dubai in 1991. The birds could have come from Fujairah, where he first spotted crows in the late 1980s.

Dr Khan estimates that there are now around 3,000 to 5,000 crows in Dubai and about 10,000 across the UAE. While crows don’t multiply quickly as they only breed once a year, from the end of March to July, their numbers have steadily increased because of the absence of predators that target them in the UAE, unlike in the subcontinent.

Crows are not picky eaters. They thrive in places where rubbish is abundant, scavenging uncovered garbage bins which are their preferred choice in their search for food. They eat absolutely anything and in extreme cases, feed on dead animals.
“Crows move along with the movement of people. Where there is human habitation in urban areas, especially where there is lots of waste, crows love it,” Dr Khan says.

Crows are also known for their intelligence and resourcefulness. They have been reported to be brazen when it comes to snatching people’s food on some of Dubai’s golf courses, beaches, and parks.
“When my team-mates leave their food in the golf cart, when it’s their turn to play, the crows immediately dive in and grab the sandwiches.

Sometimes, they stay there and eat the food as if we weren’t there,” Romy Del Prado, 59, an avid golfer in Dubai, told Gulf News, adding he had experienced the same thing while on Jumeirah beach.

Some pest control firms say they have been receiving up to four crow control enquiries a month since the beginning of the year.

“Most of the calls come from resorts and hotels that are worried about losing their guests as crows invade their outdoor dining areas,” Dinesh Ramachandran, technical manager at National Pest Control, told Gulf News.

In the absence of clear legal guidelines that allow control measures for crows, unlike for pigeons, Ramachandran said they find it hard to deal with the menace.

Shamim Ahmad from Al Mobidoon Pest Control Services, told Gulf News: “Crows are a major problem in town. But there is no clear solution for this yet. The government is not allowing the import of equipment to distract the birds. Shooting the crows here is also not allowed. In India, we have permission to kill them if they cause serious problems.”

Crows have always wreaked havoc in places they invade. In Japan, it took just 20 years for the crow problem to get out of control, mainly due to the population explosion in the country. Reports of crows stealing food from children, attacking people, and causing power outages have become commonplace.

While no crow attacks on people have yet been reported in the UAE, Dr Khan said the crow menace should not be dismissed lightly. He said legislation on wildlife conservation is needed to protect indigenous species from invasive birds such as crows. But he stressed the legislation on bird control should be crafted based on a UAE-based study to determine the extent and complexity of the menace crows bring.

During a three-day capacity-building workshop by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) in Dubai in February this year attended by experts from Arab countries and supported by the government of Japan, the convention adopted strategic plans on ways to achieve a global target of identifying, controlling or eradicating prioritised invasive species, including crows, by 2020.

source: gulfnews.com

Endangered birds: Sheikh Hamdan does his bit to conserve bustard species

Birds donated to the Sindh wildlife protection department being released in National Park Jamshoro on Sunday. PHOTO: EXPRESS

Birds donated to the Sindh wildlife protection department being released in National Park Jamshoro on Sunday. PHOTO: EXPRESS

The terrestrial bird species of houbara bustard are native to dry lands of South, and severely endangered owing to unchecked hunting practices.

In the past, Arab Sheikhs have been blamed for targeting these bird species in Pakistan. However, recently, Sheikh Hamdan Bin Mohammad Al Maktoum, the crown prince of Dubai, in his latest campaign to protect the endangered species of wildlife in Pakistan, has procured about 200 houbara bustards to be set free in friendly habitats of parks in Pakistan, including the Kirthar National Park lying between Karachi and Dadu, and the Hingol National Park which lies on the Makran coast.

This would not only help in conserving these species but also help in their breeding, thus increasing their numbers, and helping the species recover from endangerment.

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It is reported that these birds were actually recovered from a local market where these illegally poached endangered species are discreetly available for sale, at a price for Rs50,000 for each bird.

Sheikh Hamdan Bin Mohd Al Maktoum has been actively engaged in the promotion of wildlife conservation in Pakistan with special emphasis on endangered species like the houbara bustard.

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When contacted, the Sheikh’s spokesman passionately talked about the importance of conservation of wildlife and His Highness’s continued commitment to the cause and future plans.

sources:tribune.com.pk