Boreal Birding & Northern Landscapes Festival

May 4, 2011 by  
Filed under Events

This event offers birding enthusiasts the opportunity to explore this beautiful wilderness area and its feathered and furry inhabitants. Through a series of field-focused courses, lectures, and hikes, experts will be sharing their knowledge and enthusiasm with participants. One of the highlights of the program is the presentation on Bird Conservation in the Superior National Forest at the USFS Gunflint Ranger District.

Dates: 2-5 June 2011
Venue: North House Folk School, Grand Marais
State: Minnesota
Country: United States of America

Acadia Birding Festival 2011

May 4, 2011 by  
Filed under Events

The Acadia Birding Festival offers birding enthusiasts the opportunity to explore Mount Desert Island and observe its many feathered inhabitants. The program includes walks and activities, as well as lectures by experts such as Kevin Karlson Pete Dunne. The whale watch catamaran allows visitors to enjoy watching Atlantic Puffins, Razorbills, Arctic and Roseate Terns, before heading offshore to do some whale and pelagic bird spotting. Events are suitable for all levels of experience, from newcomers to this fascinating hobby through to advanced naturalists.

Dates: 2-5 June 2011
Venue: Mount Desert Island, Bar Harbor
State: Maine
Country: United States of America

Down East Spring Birding Festival 2011

May 3, 2011 by  
Filed under Events

The picturesque Cobscook Bay area of Down East Maine is the venue for the annual Down East Spring Birding Festival on Memorial Day Weekend. This festival offers loads of opportunities to observe a variety of bird species in their ideal habitats. The ecosystem provides homes for most of the 418 species found in the State, while more than 230 species can be spotted in late May. The program includes activities for all age groups.

Dates: 27-30 May 2011
Venue: Cobscook Community Learning Center, Trescott
State: Maine
Country: United States of America

British Birdfair 2011

May 3, 2011 by  
Filed under Events

Promoted as the world’s largest international bird-watching event, Birdfair includes all facets of the birding industry, while supporting global bird conservation. There will be hundreds of stands featuring the latest products for wildlife and birding enthusiasts, with expert advice and sharing of experiences with like-minded people making this an event not to be missed. Visit http://www.birdfair.org.uk/ for more information.

Dates: 19-21 August 2011
Venue: Egleton Nature Reserve, Rutland
Country: England

Saving the California Condor

May 3, 2011 by  
Filed under Features

Back in 1987, the California condor was considered to be extinct in the wild, with only twenty-seven birds remaining in captivity. Now, thanks to conservation and breeding projects, America’s largest flying bird is making a comeback, and today there are a recorded number of 394 California condors in the US, with 181 of those being out in the wild.

Michael Mace of San Diego Zoo and Safari Park has noted that, all being well, a count of 400 should be reached by the end of the breeding season, a number that has not been recorded since the 1930s. It is also hoped that the wild population of California condor will reach 200 by the end of the year – with some human intervention to counteract a man-made problem. Condor’s feed on marine animal carcasses, but due to the run-off of DDT into the oceans, where it breaks down into a chemical known as DDE (Dichlorodiphenyldichloroethylene) and is absorbed by marine life, the birds land up eating the harmful chemical, resulting in weakened egg shells. To overcome this, conservationists replace the thin-shelled eggs with eggs that have been laid by captive birds, and these eggs are hatched naturally by the wild birds. The weakened eggs are then placed in incubators to hatch under the watchful eye of researchers. Although DDT has been banned in the US, it is still used in neighboring countries, entering rivers that run off into the ocean, creating a problem beyond the control of US authorities.

The natural habitat of the California condor is wooded mountains and scrublands. The birds have been reintroduced into the wilderness areas of California and Arizona. As scavengers that feed on dead carcasses, these huge birds are not fussy about what they eat and will tuck into rodents, rabbits, deer, cattle, sheep or fish. However, when the birds feed on animals that have been killed with buckshot, it results in lead poisoning.

Despite the obstacles, conservationists are confident that their efforts are worthwhile. There are currently four breeding centers involved in the hatching of California condor eggs – the San Diego Zoo, the Safari Park, the World Center for Birds of Prey in Boise, and the Oregon Zoo in Portland – with a satisfying degree of success.

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