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Recent Raptor News

Red-throated Caracara nest discovered in Honduras

For the first time in more than 50 years, researchers, with partial support from The Peregrine Fund, have found a nest of one of Central America’s rarest birds of prey, the Red-throated Caracara Ibycter americanus, raising hope that there is still time to prevent its extinction in this region. Click on the headline to follow the link for the full story.

California Condor update

The 30 September 2012 California Condor status report by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service showed a total population of 410 individuals, including 180 in captivity and 230 in the wild. The captive birds are at the Los Angeles Zoo (21), San Diego Zoo Safari Park (28), San Diego Zoo (3), World Center for Birds of Prey (59), Oregon Zoo (41), Santa Barbara Zoo (3), Chapultepec Zoo (Mexico City) (2), and in holding pens in the field or temporarily in captivity (22). The wild birds are in central and southern California (125), Baja California (28), and Arizona (77). Forty-seven eggs were laid in captive breeding facilities in 2012, and 20 eggs were laid in wild nests in California (14), Baja California (2), and Arizona (4). Including the 2012 breeding season, there have been 127 nesting attempts in the wild since 2001, and there are presently 29 wild-fledged birds in California, 2 in Baja California, and 14 in Arizona.

Mike Madders Field Research Award

Natural Research is pleased to announce the Mike Madders Field Research Award, commencing in January 2010. This annual award has been established in memory of Mike’s character and distinguished career in ecological research. Dr Mike Madders had broad interests in wildlife and ecology, and was professionally involved with raptors and upland bird species all his working life. He was a founding Director of Natural Research, and Managing Director of its subsidiary, Natural Research Projects, NRP. The award (of at least £500) is given annually to support ecological field research that reflects Mike’s broad natural curiosity and his appreciation of high quality research. The application deadline is 1 February 2010, and award winner(s) will be announced in mid-March. See the website for application details. (7 December 2009)

Peregrine Falcon Populations book

Peregrine Falcon populations: status and perspectives in the 21st century, the most up-to date publication on the status and conservation of Peregrine Falcons, is now available. The book was edited by Janusz Sielicki and Tadeusz Mizera and published by the University of Life Sciences Press. It is based on papers presented at the 2nd International Peregrine Conference Poland 2007, held from 19-23 September 2007 in Piotrowo near Poznañ, Poland. This volume contains 62 papers on Peregrine studies in nearly all of Europe and other continents, including papers on populations in Poland, Czech Republic, Slovakia, Hungary, Romania, Bulgaria, Croatia, Russia (European and Asiatic portions north to Siberia and the Kurile Islands), Ukraine, Belarus, Armenia, Lithuania, Sweden, Finland, Norway, Denmark, Germany, France, Spain, Italy, Austria, United Kingdom (Wales, England, Scotland and North Ireland). It also includes papers from countries on other continents, including the United States of America, South Africa, Namibia, Australia, Israel, Malaysia, India, and Argentina.
You can order the book at www.falconline.eu. The regular price of the book is 59 EUR.

Lead Conference Proceedings

“Ingestion of Lead from Spent Ammunition: Implications for Wildlife and Humans” is the proceedings of a conference held in Boise, Idaho, in May 2008 that for the first time brought together professionals in wildlife and human health to share information on the toxic effects of ingested spent ammunition as a source of lead contamination. The 390-page book was edited by Richard T. Watson, Mark Fuller, Mark Pokras, and Grainger Hunt. It can be purchased for $25 from The Peregrine Fund at https://www.createspace.com/3382279. Books may also be ordered through www.Amazon.com. The proceedings is now also available in PDF format on a searchable CD with links to relevant websites. It can be purchased online for $15 (includes shipping) from The Peregrine Fund at http://www.peregrinefund.org/rcProd1.asp?id=304&c1=1&c2=21. The book’s content may be viewed and separate papers downloaded for free online at http://www.peregrinefund.org/Lead_conference/2008PbConf_Proceedings.htm.

Red Kite release in Northern Ireland

Twenty-six young Red Kites were released in Northern Ireland this year to join 27 released in 2008 (four of which have died). The birds were fitted with brown wing tags with a yellow letter. Location and dates and wing tag id and color should be reported to RSPB NI on redkiteni@rspb.org.uk or on 04890 491547.

Wildlife Poisoning in the Masai Mara, Kenya

News release from Kenya Wildlife Service, 2 June 2009:
An incident of wildlife poisoning occurred in the Mara on the evening of Saturday 23 May 2009 at Oloolaimutiak area barely 2 km away from Oloolaimutiak gate, but within the reserve. According to the KWS Senior Scientist, Dr. Domnic Mijele, a pride of 5 lions reportedly killed 4 cattle. The local people chased the lion(s) away. They then slaughtered three of the cattle, took away the meat and laced the fourth with a pinkish substance, and then left the laced cattle carcass on site. A pride of lions fed on the laced carcass. Of these, a juvenile male lion aged about 8 months died within 100 m of the carcass while the rest of the pride left the site. A total of 36 vultures of different species (African White-backed Vultures, Lappet-faced Vultures and Hooded Vultures) also died after feeding on the carcass. One suspect has been arrested and is assisting with investigations. He will be taken to court soon.
Postmortems were carried out by the KWS veterinary doctor at Mara and samples were collected for analyses. The meat consumed by the dead vultures and lion had a pinkish colouration. The cattle carcass has the pinkish colouration on the bones indicating a heavy dosage of the substance used. Photographs were also taken of the cattle carcass and the dead wildlife.
The samples were taken to two labs for analyses: University of Nairobi and the Government Chemist. Tests are underway to establish the poison used. Meanwhile the KWS veterinarian in Mara, Dr. Domnic Mijele, research scientists, wardens and rangers together with wardens and rangers from the County council of Narok are on the high alert and continue to monitor such incidents which affect the wildlife population in the Mara ecosystem. In this incident 36 vultures and 1 lion have been confirmed dead, but the fate of the other 4 lions is not known: they could have moved to another location. KWS and the County council monitoring teams are still busy searching for them.

Red Data List for raptors in Africa

The BirdLife Partnership in Africa has embarked on an assessment of the status of raptors and owls on the continent, with the aim of developing a Red Data List for raptors in Africa. The project is being supported by the Raptor Research Foundation and the Leslie Brown Memorial Fund. The draft list will be discussed at a raptor program during the 12th Pan-African Ornithological Congress that is now taking place in Cape Town. The partnership is seeking data on the status of resident raptors at a national, sub-regional, or Africa-wide level so that assessments are based on the most up-to-date knowledge. Information on population trends and numbers should be sent to Paul Kariuki Ndang'ang'a at paul.ndanganga@birdlife.or.ke.

Tagged vultures in Guinea

In February 2007, 18 vultures (White-backed, Rüppell's, White-headed, and Hooded) were fitted with patagial tags in the newly created Fouta Djallon Vulture Sanctuary in Guinea. Blue (right wing) and yellow (left wing) wingtags bear an alphanumeric code visible on both the dorsal and ventral sides of the wings. Sightings of these birds should be reported to Guy Rondeau at g.rondeau@afnature.org.

Thai raptor journal now online

"Harrier," a journal of Thai raptor biology is currently available online. This journal is produced on a quarterly basis and contains articles (translated and original) written in Thai and English. The English articles might be of interest to a wider audience, as details on raptor ringing and migration in Thailand are included. In the near future, all published Thai Raptor Group documents will be available on the "Publications" page on the main menu of TRG website (located in a panel on the left of the TRG web frontpage). The journal is quite large (ca 7 MB) and is available upon request off-line, or can be viewed by downloading thru the clickable link as follows:
I welcome criticism and suggestions to make the journal better serve the raptor enthusiast community and birding as a whole.
Cheers! Chaiyan Kasorndorkbua, Department of Veterinary Pathology, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, Kasetsart University, Chatuchak, Bangkok 10903, Thailand. Email: fvetchk@ku.ac.th, trogon@gmail.com. www.thairaptorgroup.com.

Color-ringed Red-footed Falcons

About 1,000 Red-footed Falcons were color ringed with individual combinations in 2007 on their breeding grounds in Hungary. Observations of marked birds should be reported to Peter Fehevari of BirdLife Hungary at fpeter17@gmail.com.

Crowned Eagle Conservation Day

CCT (ex CRICYT) en apoyo a la Ordenanza Municipal del Honorable Concejo Deliberante del Departamento de Lavalle, Mendoza, Argentina, que declara el día 22 de Abril como el "DÍA DE LA CONSERVACIÓN DEL ÁGUILA CORONADA", invita al resto de las provincias y países ha adherirse con el propósito de preservar este Monumento Natural.
Con esta finalidad se desarrollarán actividades en escuelas, colegios y muy especialmente en Municipio de Lavalle y Reserva Natural Bosques Telteca- Lavalle, Mendoza.
Se trata de una especie considerada globalmente amenazada por UICN (Unión Internacional para la Conservación de la Naturaleza). La pérdida y fragmentación del hábitat, sumado a la persecución de la que es objeto, escasas áreas naturales protegidas en su área de distribución y un bajo número natural definen a esta especie como la rapaz mas amenazadas de nuestro país. Urge la realización de estudios sobre su biología reproductiva, status, impacto de diferentes tipos de amenazadas, uso de hábitat y la divulgación de todo lo concerniente a esta especie entre la opinión pública.
Contacto local: Prof. Elba Pescetti, Ornitología- IADIZA-CCT, Programa de Protección y Conservación de las Aves, Mendoza, Argentina, Grupo Neotropical para la Conservación del águila coronada (G.N.C.A.C.), (Crowned Eagle Neotropical Conservation Group (C.E.N.C.G), Tel. 5244109. Avenida Dr. Ruiz Leal S/N, Parque General San Martín, Mendoza, ARGENTINA).

Convention on Migratory Species Agreement

Representatives from a large number of European, Asian, and African countries met in Scotland in October 2007 under the auspices of the Convention on Migratory Species (CMS) to consider the plight of migratory birds of prey and owls across Africa and Eurasia. This was the first of two planned meetings to draw up a new agreement for concerted international conservation action. Migratory birds of prey in this region face a wide variety of threats, including human persecution, habitat destruction, collision with man-made structures, and climate change, and alarming population declines have been reported in several areas.

White-tailed Eagles in eastern Scotland

The first reintroduction of White-tailed Eagles to eastern Scotland occurred in early August 2007 when 15 birds hatched in Norway were released from a site near Fife in a project between RSPB Scotland, Scottish Natural Heritage, and Forestry Commission Scotland (Smith 2007). The project is planned to last for five years, with 15 to 20 birds released each year. The species has been extinct in eastern Scotland for the past 150 years (Smith, C. 2007. White-tailed Eagles return to eastern Scotland. Scottish Bird News 86:12-13).

Pakistan's Gyps Vulture Restoration Project

Between 2001 and 2007, researchers from The Peregrine Fund and their Pakistani colleagues documented rates of decline in the three largest White-rumped Vulture colonies in Pakistan ranged from 11% to 61% per year (Gilbert et al. 2006). Two colonies, Changa Manga (southwest of Lahore) and Dholewala (northwest of Multan) were extinct by the 2003/2004 seasons, and the third colony, Toawala (northeast of Multan) declined from 445 breeding pairs in 2000/2001 to 84 pairs in 2005/2006 (Gilbert et al. op cit.). By April 2007 only two active nests remained in the colony (Murn et al. 2007). In November-December 2006 surveys by World Wildlife Fund-Pakistan covered 23 known major and minor breeding colonies in 16 districts across Punjab Province. Vultures were observed in only five plantations, and a total of 37 breeding pairs were documented (Murn et al. op cit.). The Gyps Vulture Restoration Project of World Wildlife Fund-Pakistan, with support from the Hawk Conservancy Trust, Punjab Wildlife and Parks Department, Environment Agency, Abu Dhabi, and WWF-U.S., established a facility for holding and breeding captive White-rumped Vultures, and by August 2007 there were 11 vultures in the facility. Additional trapping of wild vultures will take place in 2008 to reach the goal of 15 to 20 birds in the captive breeding population, and it is hoped to produce 15-20 chicks annually (Murn et al. op cit.) Source: Murn, C., U. Khan, and F. Farid. 2007. Pakistan's Gyps Vulture Restoration Project. Wildlife Middle East New 2(3):3.

Satellite Tracking of Cinereous Vulture in Armenia

In August 2007, two juvenile Cinereous Vultures (Aegypius monachus) from the Khosrov Reserve (the only breeding locality in Armenia) were fitted with satellite tags. The birds were also equipped with blue patagial wing tags with the numbers "01" and "02". Please submit any sightings to Mamikon Ghasabyan, Armenian Society for the Protection of Birds, Aghbyur Serob 11/2 Yerevan 0019, Armenia; tel/fax +374 10 22 65 41; e-mail armbirds@yahoo.com.

Red-footed Falcon Slaughter in Cyprus

Two men have been charged in connection with the 5 October 2007 slaughter of 52 Red-footed Falcons (Falco vespertinus) in the Phasouri area of Cyprus within the Akrotiri British Sovereign Base Area, a no-hunting zone. Anti-poaching patrols by the SBA police and Cyprus Game Fund have been increased in the Akrotiri area.

Diclofenac licensed for use in Tanzania

The veterinary drug diclofenac, which has been responsible for the decimation of populations of three species of Gyps vultures on the Indian subcontinent, has been licensed for veterinary use in Tanzania, according to a notice in the most recent issue of British Birds (vol. 100:761). This is bad news for large African vulture species, which are reportedly declining in many parts of the continent from other causes.

Eurasian Kestrel banded in California

A juvenile Eurasian (Common) Kestrel was banded on 23 October 2007 at the Marin Headlands in the San Francisco Bay area of California. This probably represents the first record for this species in California.

Crowned Solitary Eagle Workshop

El Aguila Coronada (Harpyhaliaetus coronatus), habita el centro y norte de la Republica Argentina, sur de Brasil, Paraguay y este de Bolivia. Se encuentra clasificada internacionalmente como especie EN PELIGRO (IUCN), siendo considerada una de las rapaces mas amenazada de la región Neotropical. La información sobre su biología e historia natural es escasa. Al igual que otras especies de grandes águilas, necesita de extensos territorios para vivir y encontrar presas de mediado a gran tamaño. Las Aguilas Coronadas crían un pichón cada dos aňos y al igual que otras especies de Aguilas presenta bajas densidades poblacionales. Sus principales amenzasas son la perdida de habitat, persecución directa, electrocución y colisiones con vehículos.
Los días 15 y 16 de marzo del 2007 se realizo en la sede de Aves Argentinas, Ciudad Autónoma de Bs.As, el “Primer Taller para la Conservación del Aguila Coronada en la Argentina”. La misma contó con la participación de especialistas de distintos sectores involucrados en forma directa en la investigación y conservación de la especie a largo de su distribución nacional. En esta primer instancia se priorizo la participación de representantes de aquellas provincias en las cuales se desarrollan de manera activa diversos proyectos de conservación e investigación.
Objetivos del taller: 1. Discutir los problemas de conservación y estatus poblacional. 2. Promover el trabajo en colaboración entre distintos grupos e investigadores. 3. Identificar y recomendar en forma conjunta estrategias de investigación, educación, manejo y conservación. 4. Establecer una base mínima de información sobre la especie. 5. Conformar un grupo de trabajo y definir su misión. 6. Realizar un segundo taller el año entrante. 7. Identificar fuentes de financiación para lograr estos objetivos.
Mecánica: La dinámica durante el taller consistió en presentaciones orales de los distintos grupos participantes con el fin de presentar sus objetivos, logros y metas. Posteriormente continuo con un ciclo de discusiones para establecer estrategias conjuntas que permitan lograr acciones concretas sobre los objetivos enunciados. (Contributed by Dr. Miguel Saggese; msaggese@cvm.tamu.edu).

Neotropical Raptor Book Published

NEOTROPICAL RAPTORS, was published in July 2007 by Hawk Mountain Sanctuary on behalf of the Neotropical Raptor Network. The volume was edited by Keith Bildstein, David R. Barber, and Andrea Zimmerman. It reports the proceedings of the 2nd Neotropical Raptor Conference, held in Iguazú, Argentina in June, 2006. The 365-page book contains 29 complete papers and 80 bilingual abstracts, together with numerous black-and-white photos, figures, and tables. It is one of the few volumes to focus entirely on Neotropical birds of prey and owls, and it offers new information on the group's natural history, breeding biology, migration, rehabilitation, and conservation. The book can be purchased for $28.00 (including surface mail in the U.S.) from Hawk Mountain Sanctuary, Bookstore, 1700 Hawk Mountain Road, Kempton, PA 19529 USA; bookstore@hawkmountain.org; phone 1-610-756-6000.

First Irish Golden Eagle chick for a century

A pair of Golden Eagles produced the first chick to be hatched in the Republic of Ireland for almost a century after the species was hunted to extinction. This is the first successful hatching since the initiation of a Golden Eagle reintroduction program in 2001 to northwest Ireland from Scotland. All previous nesting attempts in the Glenveagh National Park, County Donegal, have failed. (From British Birds 100:451-454).

Avian influenza virus found in Hooded Vultures in Burkina Faso

Genetic analysis of highly pathogenic avian influenza (H5N1) viruses from poultry and Hooded Vultures in Burkina Faso shows that these viruses belong to 1 of 3 sublineages initially found in Nigeria and later in other African countries. Hooded Vultures could potentially be vectors or sentinels of influenza subtype H5N1, as are cats and swans elsewhere.

Release of satellite-tracked vultures in Thailand

A satellite-tracked Cinereous Vulture and 4 Himalayan Griffons have been released in northern Thailand on 10 May 2007. The vultures had been found exhausted due to starvation in January and have been rehabilitated to gain strength. All of the vultures have a yellow-colored wing tag. The Cinereous Vulture is tagged with V1 on right wing as well as a satellite telemetry unit (see photo at the link). The Himalayan Griffons are tagged with V4, V5, V6 and V7 mark on left wing. I would be grateful to receive sightings of the released vultures. Please submit sightings of them with the number of wing tag (if visible) to fvetchk(at)ku.ac.th or trogon(at)gmail.com. The release operation is part of Fly the Vulture Home Project, which is the cooperation of Bird Conservation Society of Thailand (BCST), Department of National Park, Wildlife and Plant Conservation, Kasetsart University's Faculty of Veterimary Medicine, Mongolia's Wildlife Science and Conservation Center and Thai Raptor Group.
Chaiyan Kasorndorkbua, DVM, PhD, Department of Veterinary Pathology, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, Kasetsart University, Chatuchak, Bangkok 10900, Thailand; Phone: 66-2-5790058-9 extension 2226, 6606; Fax: 66-2-9428437; Mobile: 66-01-9161693.

Diurnal Raptors of Colombia book

The excellent book, Márquez, C., F. Gast, V.H. Vanegas, and M. Bechard. 2005. Aves rapaces diurnas de Colombia. Instituto Investigación de Recursos Biológicos Alexander von Humboldt, Bogotá, D.C., Colombia. 394 pp., can now be downloaded as a PDF at the site above.

Guinea Vulture Sanctuary Established

The Republic of Guinea has created the first vulture sanctuary in Africa in September 2006. The newly protected area of approximately 450,000 ha in the Fouta Djallon Highlands has been established to conserve one of the few remaining vulture populations in West Africa. Recent surveys by Jean-Marc Thiollay and Guy Rondeau revealed that the populations of six vulture species found in this region have almost totally collapsed because of human persecution, slaughter for traditional medicine and fetishism and hunting for bushmeat. Indirect poisoning for jackals, lions, and hyenas, and the disappearance of large game in West Africa have also played a role in the declines. Guinea still holds the main relict vulture populations in the region, and it is hoped that the new sanctuary and others planned in Gambia and Mali will help conserve these populations and serve as a source for the repopulation of depleted areas. The sanctuary is a joint project of Africa Nature International, Fauna and Flora International, the Endangered Wildlife Trust, and Guinée Écologie.

Raptor Workshop

A 3-day raptor field course entitled "Introduction to Raptor Field Techniques" for those interested in receiving some "hands-on" experience working with many of the techniques used in raptor studies is scheduled for 13-15 June 13-15 2007 (session #1) and 20-22 June 2007 (session # 2). This course can be taken for credit through the University of Wisconsin - Stevens Point. For details go to www.RaptorResearch.com or contact Eugene Jacobs, Linwood Springs Research Station, 1601 Brown Deer Lane Stevens Point, WI 54481 (715-341-7998).

EU Ban on Import of Wild Birds

The European Union decided unanimously on 11 January 2007 to prohibit the import of wild birds in order to prevent the introduction of infectious diseases including avian influenza. As a result, as many as four million birds a year will remain in the wild, spared from the international pet trade. The EU passed a temporary ban on the import of wild birds in 2005 when a bird infected with the highly pathogenic strain of avian flu was found in a quarantine facility in the United Kingdom. Yesterday’s decision makes that ban permanent. Prior to 2005, the EU constituted 90 percent of the world’s market for wild birds, importing some two million birds annually. Bird conservation experts estimate that roughly half of the birds harvested for sale in the EU died during capture and transport. Many of these birds, such as the African gray parrot and the scarlet macaw, are rare and endangered species. Over the last two years, a coalition of some 240 conservation and animal welfare groups urged the EU to end all such imports because of infectious diseases, wild bird conservation and animal welfare concerns.

New "Grupo FALCO" website

A group of Argentine ornithologists and birders have created this nice website which includes the journal, "El Garganchillo," with new distributional records and information on the biology of the birds of Argentina. In addition, there are PDFs of various recent articles on Argentine birds from many other journals. For more information, contact Kini Roesler at www.grupofalco.com.ar.

Hen Harrier ups and downs in England

The 2006 breeding season for Hen Harriers in England was the best since 2002, with 46 young fledged from 12 successful nests. However, nearly 60% of the nesting attempts this year failed because of illegal persecution, probably because of the harriers' fondness for eating Red Grouse, a favorite game species. Direct human persecution is still the major factor limiting the English population of this species. (Source: British Birds. 2006. 99:538.)

Reward offered for eagle killings

RSPB Scotland is offering a reward of ₤10,000 for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the person(s) responsible for poisoning two Golden Eagles on Scottish estates with carbofuran in May and June 2006. (Source: British Birds. 2006. 99:537).

2005 South East Queensland Raptor Futures Forum

A report on this forum, which was held at Griffith University in Brisbane on 26 November 2005 is posted as a PDF on the Australasian Raptor Association's website (click title), and it contains valuable updates on the current status of raptor species in Australia.

4th Asian Raptor Symposium Abstracts

This symposium was held at Taiping, Perak, Malaysia (West Malaysia) from 28-31 October 2005, and the abstracts and photographs from the meeting are now available on line (click the title).

Red Kites nesting in northern England

A pair of Red Kites nested along a busy public thoroughfare near Gateshead, the first nesting record in northern England for 200 years and a triumph for the Northern Kites reintroduction scheme that started just two years ago. The project was launched in 2004 with the release of 20 young birds. An additional 41 birds were released in 2005, and 32 more were liberated this year.(Source: British Birds. 2006. 99:500).

Windfarm wipes out White-tailed Eagles

The White-tailed Eagle population on the Smøla Archipelago off the coast of NW Norway has been decimated by a poorly sited windfarm. Prior to the construction of the facility, up to 19 pairs of White-tailed Eagles nested on the islands, but only a single pair produced young in the 2006 breeding season. Turbine blades are known to have killed nine eagles in the last 10 months, including all three chicks that fledged last year. There are more than 100 pending proposals to place windfarms elsewhere in Norway, which is regarded as the most important country for White-tailed Eagles. (Source: 2006. British Birds 99:441).

The Raptor Population Index (RPI)

The Hawk Migration Association of North America (HMANA) has formed a partnership with Hawk Mountain Sanctuary Association and HawkWatch International to establish the North American Raptor Population Index (RPI) program. This new project will determine population trends of raptors counted during spring and fall migration at sites throughout the continent, establish a central system for compiling and analyzing raptor count data, and assess the conservation status of North American raptors on regional, national and continental scales. A challenge grant from the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation guarantees that every dollar donated with be worth at least $1.50. Those interested in participating in the program and/or making financial contributions should contact one of the three sponsoring organizations.

Fish Eagle Study

Researchers from Nottingham University will trap fish eagles (Ichthyophaga ichthyaetus and I. humilis) in Cambodia later this year to take measurements and blood samples in an effort to investigate the genetic distance between the species. (Source: BirdingASIA. 2005. 3:73).

Philippine Eagle Electrocuted

A captive-bred Philippine Eagle that was released into the wild on 22 April 2004 survived for nine months before being fatally electrocuted. It is believed that the eagle may have perched on an electric post and was electrocuted as the result.

Vulture Restaurant in Kachin State, Myanmar

The first ever vulture restaurant was prepared in Kachin State along the Nat Kaung River north of Kamaing in October 2005. The team placed an immature buffalo carcass to bait vultures as observers watched from a blind roughly 25 meters away. A maximum count of 41 White-backed Vultures Gyps bengalensis including 5 juveniles and 10 sub-adults, and 12 Slender-billed Vultures Gyps teniurostris including one sub-adult were recorded. This is the first survey conducted in the Kamain area to gain an appreciation of vulture numbers occuring locally. In 2006 BirdLife and BANCA hope to initiate a new vulture survey project to focus on vulture populations in the Kachin and Shan States. This restaurant was conducted as part of the Darwin Initiative project entitled Building Constituencies for site-based conservation in Myanmar. (Source: The Babbler BirdLife International in Indochina No. 16)

Raptor "Super-Roost"

Surveys in Senegal by "LPO" (BirdLife in France) have revealed a roost containing more than 28,600 Lesser Kestrels and 16,000 Scissor-tailed (African Swallow-tailed) Kites. The roost is thought to contain more than half of the known breeding population of Lesser Kestrels in western Europe and northern Africa combined. (Source: Africa -- Birds & Birding 12:15).

United Kingdom peregrines having a hard time

Like their counterparts in North America, Peregrine Falcons in the United Kingdom were devastated by the use of the organochlorine pesticides dieldrin and DDT in the mid-20th century. By 1963, numbers in the UK were reduced to 360 breeding pairs. Today, there are over 1,400 pairs. Despite this gratifying recovery, 2009 has been one of the worst years on record in the UK for peregrine persecution. Incidents of poisoning, shooting, trapping, and nest robbing are already approaching the estimated total of 85 incidents reported in 2008. Mark Thomas, investigations officer for the Royal Society or the Protection of Birds (RSPB) remarked that “Peregrines have taken 30 years to recover from the devastating effects of pesticide poisoning, and still we find them targeted by people who hold a grudge against them.” Culprits have included rogue elements within the pigeon racing community and the game shooting community who blame Peregrine Falcons for the loss of their birds. There are also people intent on taking eggs and chicks for falconry. Further protection and criminal investigations are being requested by the RSPB.

Utility corporation pays to protect eagles

In early July, PacifiCorp, one of the largest electric utilities in the western United States, pleaded guilty to unlawfully killing Golden Eagles and other raptors and migratory birds in Wyoming. The company (aka Rocky Mountain Power) was ordered to pay over $10.5 million for killing these protected birds. The company was ordered to spend $9.1 million to repair or retrofit its equipment to protect birds from electrocution, and it must pay a $510,000 criminal fine and an additional $900,000 in restitution to support research and conservation projects for eagles and other birds of prey in the West. The plea agreement responded to charges that PacifiCorp killed 232 eagles in Wyoming from January 2007 to the present. Until recently, PacifiCorp failed to take readily available measures to avoid avian electrocutions in Wyoming, measures that could have saved numerous eagles and other birds from electrocution. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service led the investigation to enforce the Migratory Bird Treaty Act, which makes it illegal for anyone to kill a protected bird without first obtaining a permit. This represents a continuation of the Service’s longstanding efforts to reduce avian electrocutions caused by electric power infrastructure. Elsewhere, the Service and the electric power industry have cooperated for years to reduce the impact of powerlines on eagles, cranes, and other birds – an effort formalized by the Avian Power Line Interaction Committee - APLIC.

Red Kite reintroduction project concluded

The Red Kite Milvus milvus reintroduction scheme in northeast England has formally ended after five successful years, with at least 36 pairs of kites now breeding in Gateshead's Derwent Valley and beyond, following the release of 94 Chilterns-bred birds in 2004-2006. A socio-economic report commissioned on the kite project estimated that it created total economic activity of more than £1.72 million in the Lower Derwent Valley.

Raptors of South America online field guide

The new website, "Raptors of South America" previews the first field guide dealing exclusively with the identification of the 96 species of raptors occurring in South America. The website includes sample plates and photographs to be included in the forthcoming book, raptor videos, raptor ID quizzes, and links to other raptor sites in the region. The website is the result of collaboration between three Argentinians, Sergio Seipke, Frederick Pallinger, and Dario Podesta, and it is strongly recommended.

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