Keeping an Outdoor Aviary

July 30, 2007 by  
Filed under Features

Many bird enthusiasts around the world have found creating outdoor aviaries a truly rewarding experience. A variety of birds can be kept in an outdoor bird aviary and it is a great option if you are interested in breeding and rearing. There are however, numerous considerations when it comes to keeping an aviary and it can be a lot of work.

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Remarkable Bird Watching in Egypt

July 23, 2007 by  
Filed under Features

Egypt is at the junction of three continents: Asia, Europe and Africa. Egypt’s unique location means that the country is fortunate to have a large selection of habitats. Ecosystems vary from deserts and oases, to wetlands and cultivated areas. Each of these varying habitats has a number of diverse bird species. Egypt is, indeed, a birder’s paradise.

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Birds Versus Power Lines

July 16, 2007 by  
Filed under Pet Birds

If you travel to South Africa soon, you may well discover that as a developing nation with fast-increasing population, the country is struggling to keep up with the ever-increasing demand for power. Up until this point, however, most power cuts have been the result of limited power supply, excessive power usage and power plant upgrades… or so the general public thought!

Research has revealed that bird excrement is a major cause of transmission line faults in South Africa and it occurs across the country. Of course, this is not the only ‘natural’ cause of transmission line faults but it would appear to be a major factor. In fact, the serious nature of the problem was identified as early as the year 2000 and since then major efforts to curb the effect of bird excrement on power lines have been put in place. These include the fitting of ‘combs’ on top of power pylons as part of efforts to discourage birds from nesting on them or perching on them. South African power company Eskom has implemented these and other measures to try and ensure that power lines are kept as bird-free as possible.

In a meeting wherein a recent number of power outages in the Western Cape Province were being discussed in January 2006, Jacob Maroga – the then acting chief executive of Eskom – noted that ‘Bird excretion can cause shorts and trips on our transmission system’. During the course of the meeting Eskom presented a graph which indicated that some 400 transmission line faults which had occurred during the year 2000 had been caused by birds. Fortunately, recent surveys have shown that this number has decreased significantly since the implementation of several bird deterrents on power lines and pylons. These strategic efforts to discourage birds from nesting in these sights has also been met by bird lovers with much enthusiasm as they provide a non-violent deterrent to birds and so possibly save hundreds or thousands of birds from dying from electric shock and other power line related dangers.

Unfortunately, the problem of birds on power lines is not the only natural cause of power outages in South Africa. It would seem that bush fires, snow, tornadoes, ice and lightning can also be factors. Fortunately most of these are seldom encountered in South Africa.

How Do Hummingbirds Hover?

July 9, 2007 by  
Filed under Features

Hummingbirds are a bird species well known for their amazing aerobatic skills. You may see a hummingbird hovering at a flower having a drink of nectar. Its wings are a misty blur either side of it. In an instant, it might dart forward, sideways, backwards or even upside down, wings beating furiously at 50 to 80, or even more, beats per second. The number of beats per second varies according to the size and species of the bird. It has been reported that a hummingbird can travel at speeds of 30 to 60 miles per hour (50 to 100 km/h) and then abruptly stop and hover in one position. How do they accomplish these amazing aerobatic feats?

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