Archive for surfbirds archive

Generous gifts for Christmas birds

The turtle dove, which features in one of our best-loved Christmas carols, is in trouble. But this year it has been given a generous gift, thanks to the dedication of two hardworking volunteer fundraisers. Continue reading

Disaster in the Sundarbans

A tanker and another vessel have collided, spilling more than 350,000 litres of oil into the waters of the Sundarban tidal mangrove forests in Bangladesh.

An oil and mud soaked kingfisher at Mrigamari canal, Sundarbans, Bangladesh.(Tanim Ashraf)

“It is hard to separate emotions from the facts when a member of your family dies. A part of you dies with them. Dealing with the oil spill in the Sundarbans is no less than this — a wound that time may not heal.”

Sayam Chowdhury is the Principal Investigator of the Sundarbans Finfoot Research Project and knows this amazing part of Bangladesh well.

Credit: Helal Sujon

Credit: Helal Sujon

The Sundarbans is the largest delta covered with mangrove forests and vast saline mud flats in the world. It contains large swaths of protected areas that host a diverse wildlife, including Bengal Tiger, river dolphins as well as threatened birds such as Masked Finfoot.

“The oil is entering the narrow creeks and accumulating along the banks where Masked Finfoot and other waterbirds forage. If the crabs and small fish are dying then it is very likely that finfoot will be the next, as those are their main food items”, said Sayam Chowdhury,

Credit: Helal Sujon

Credit: Helal Sujon

“Also, if the birds are covered in oil and it gets into their eyes, they are less likely to escape predation, their body temperatures may drop, they may not be able to hunt, and will likely starve to death. This is true for more than 100 species of waterbirds, including 8 species of kingfishers and at least 10 species of birds of prey. Only the short-term possible effects are listed here. The long-term impact of this spill on the bird life of the Sundarbans is unimaginable.”

The oil spill clean up is almost wholly dependent on locals in the area, and whio have no equipment, training, or protection.

Credit: Helal Sujon

The Sundarbans, which extends across southern Bangladesh and into India, is home to around four million people, most of whom make their living directly from the great forest and it’s labyrinthine waterways.

Santa is still alive – Robin that is!

Thanks to a relatively mild start to the year, a bumper breeding season, and plenty of food available in the wider countryside this autumn, it’s been a good year for Robins, including the extraordinary Santa Robin! Continue reading

Oldest barnacle goose ever recorded flies ‘five times round the world’

The oldest barnacle goose ever recorded was spotted this week at WWT Caerlaverock Wetland Centre on the Solway Coast. During its 30 years it will have flown well over 120,000 miles – five times the circumference of the Earth – migrating to and from its Arctic breeding grounds. Continue reading

Wales takes the plunge into protecting our seas

The Welsh Government has designated its first Marine Conservation Zone (MCZ). This announcement means that the seas around Skomer Island off the coast of Pembrokeshire will become Wales’ first MCZ. Continue reading

First-ever Reserves Established to Protect Brazil’s Araripe Manakin

The first-ever bird reserves have been created for the critically endangered Araripe Manakin, a six-inch bird only discovered in 1996 that numbers fewer than 800 individuals and survives in the smallest of areas – 11 square miles – in northeastern Brazil. Continue reading

Booming bird bounces back

Bitterns, elusive heron-like birds once extinct in the UK, have had a record year in England with the highest number of individuals recorded since the 1800s, thanks to support from an EU conservation programme. Continue reading

Lima: a failure to build momentum

The UN climate talks crept into the early hours of Sunday morning – more than 30 hours after the scheduled close – as Peruvian Environment Minister Pulgar Vidal begged governments to “give hope to the world”. Continue reading

European Medicines Agency asks the European Commission to address vulture-killing drug

The European Medicines Agency (EMA) has supported the arguments expressed by BirdLife regarding the risk that the veterinary use of the drug diclofenac represents to vultures. Continue reading

Seabirds steer to avoid collision course with offshore wind farms

Collisions between birds and turbines are seen as one of the key impacts of offshore wind farms. A new review by the British Trust for Ornithology and the University of Highlands and Islands’ Environmental Research Institute has provided better estimates of the proportions of seabirds that alter their flight paths to avoid colliding with turbines. Continue reading