Florida Scrub-Jay Festival

January 24, 2012 by  
Filed under Events

The Florida Scrub-Jay Festival is a free family event that focuses on this threatened bird species. During the day visitors will find out more about the bird’s habitat, enjoy presentations and join in on guided nature walks.

Date: 4 February 2012
Time: 10 am
Venue: Oscar Scherer Park
Town: Osprey
State: Florida
Country: United States of America

Six Foreign Species Fall under Endangered Species Act

August 16, 2011 by  
Filed under News

Many bird species across the world have been placed under protection, as the importance of conserving them has become necessary. Due to their declining numbers, ornithologist have been submitting requests for at least seventy species to be noted in the Endangered Species Act since the 1980s. These species were submitted from all over the world, and the United States Fish and Wildlife Service confirmed that most of these bird species submitted would come under the Endangered Species Act. Now six foreign bird species have been entered onto this database.

To speed up the process of getting the suggested list of endangered bird species recognized, the Centre for Biological Diversity began legal proceedings in the years 2004 and in 2006, and by 2008 the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service released a list that featured proposals for five bird species, but noted that an additional forty-five foreign species deserved to be listed as well. The Center for Biological Diversity once again put pressure on the department in 2009, which led to the agreement to extend the list and six species recently received their permanent place under the protection act. These species are the Jerdon’s Courser, Cantabrian Capercallie, Eiao Marquesas Reed Warbler, Slender Billed Curlew, Marquesan Imperial Pigeon and Greater Courser.

One would wonder why the Center for Biological Diversity could be campaigning for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to recognize foreign species, but the answer is quite simple: the restricting of the selling and purchasing of wildlife that are endangered. Once on the list, funding for conservation will increase, and it will also increase the scrutiny on areas that are at risk of development programs, preventing vital habitats to be destroyed. Agencies such as the World Bank would be required to ensure that prospective project land is not the habitat of the birds on this list.

The attorney for the Center for Biological Diversity, Justin Augustine, commented that they are pleased that the birds that are bordering on extinction will now receive the protection they deserve, and that being under the Endangered Species Act gives these species a better chance of survival and will also bring attention to the urgent need to conserve the bird species that find themselves under threat of human intervention and development.

The Endangered Florida ScrubJay

October 7, 2010 by  
Filed under Features

Entered onto the endangered list as a threatened species in 1987, the Florida Scrub Jay populations have dramatically decreased in numbers over the last few years. Encroachment on their natural habitat and their unique breeding and survival habits could lead to the extinction of this magnificent bird that is endemic to Florida. Fortunately, researchers have been keeping a close eye on these birds for more than thirty-five years and have come up with a solution to ensure that the Florida Scrub Jay will continue to frequent the landscapes of Florida and hopefully increase their numbers.

The Florida Scrub Jay is noticeable by its blue wings, tail, head, nape and bib, and their underparts and backs are a light shade of grey. They have black bills, feet and legs, and grow to approximately twenty-eight centimeters in height. It is the unique scrub in Florida that has ensured that the Florida Scrub Jay has remained within this state, in ecosystems filled with Myrtle Oak, Sand Pine, Florida Rosemary, Eastern Prickly Pear and Chapman’s Oak. They live on a diet of mice, frogs, acorns, peanuts, lizards and insects, and are known to store acorns throughout the year. It was observed by the late Glen Woolfenden in 1969 that these extraordinary birds take part in what is known as cooperative breeding, meaning that more than one bird tends to a nest. An intern, John Fitzpatrick, joined Woolfenden three years later, and has continued his work in regard to the study and conservation of the Florida Scrub Jay.

One vital aspect that will help to save the Florida Scrub Jay is to ensure that there is enough scrub to encourage the birds to move to larger areas, like stepping stones from one area to the next. It has been found that Florida Scrub Jays do not move to unfamiliar habitats, and the divisions between habitats will eventually cause birds to be isolated from one another and become extinct. Wildfires are also a major threat to this bird’s habitat. Research has also shown that the different Scrub Jay species have various different needs, and each population should therefore be treated and conserved individually. Fitzpatrick hopes that by sharing his knowledge of the Scrub Jays, positive changes will be made to conserve and protect these socially dependant birds throughout the state of Florida.

The Americas IBA Directory

May 19, 2010 by  
Filed under Features

The conservation of rare birdlife has been the focus of Birdlife International for many years. In 1995 they began a project by the name of IBA, or Important Bird Area Program, to pinpoint areas across the globe that are home to endangered species, identifying the various species and protecting those areas to assist in conserving vital birdlife. At present, more than ten thousand of these areas have been identified, and conservation and environmental initiatives have been implemented. Now a new program has been established, namely the Americas IBA Directory.

Hundreds of bird species will benefit from the Americas IBA Directory, as it will be a guideline for both conservationists and for authorities. The directory covers 57 different countries and has 2 345 of the most significant areas listed that need to be protected at all costs. Authorities will be able to refer to the directory to find out which of their areas are vital to the survival of birdlife, which bird species are located in that area and the biodiversity of the area, to enable them to take the right steps in protecting the natural habitat and the birds. Some areas that have been listed are significant in the migratory patterns of certain species, while others are crucial nesting sites for numerous endangered birds. Due to a number of these areas being inhabited by local communities, also relying on the natural resources such as water, authorities can assist these communities with sustainable development that will not only benefit the communities but the birdlife as well.

Hundreds of organizations have provided support and assistance in the compiling of the Americas IBA Directory. President of Bird Studies Canada, George Finney, explained: “From breeding grounds in Canada, to wintering sites in the south, and all points in between, it is imperative that we understand what is happening to bird populations and the forces that drive change. Bird Studies Canada is proud to work closely with our international partners on this issue, so that better management decisions and conservation actions can be taken.” A large number of agencies will be working together as IBA Caretakers, tracking migratory patterns and data in regard to bird populations, to note changes being made by the birds, and keeping the IBA Directory as up to date and accurate as possible.

Uzbekistan Birdwatching Tour 2010

April 20, 2010 by  
Filed under Events

Uzbekistan is a bird watching paradise, with a variety of birds such as Alpine Swifts, Wheatears, Bearded Reedlings, Lesser Grey Shrikes, Asian Paradise Flycatcher, Rose-coloured Starlings, Common Mynas, Hume’s Short-toed Lark and Paddyfield Warblers, to name but a few, being found throughout the country. The Uzbekistan Birdwatching Tour 2010, which takes place from the 23rd to the 29th of May 2010, will provide visitors with a guided tour to various birdwatching hotspots, including Samarkand, Bukhara, Tashkent and Chimgan. Tour packages can be arranged around the requirements of bird watching visitors, and is an unforgettable experience.

For more information in regard to this colorful adventure, contact tour organizers on info@birdwatching-uzbekistan.com.

Date: 23 – 29 May
Venue: Various
City: Various
Country: Uzbekistan Birdwatching Tour 2010

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