FeatherFest 2013

March 7, 2013 by  
Filed under Events

FeatherFest offers birding enthusiasts the opportunity to experience birding and nature photography at its very best in a series of outdoor adventures. Be prepared to spot as many as you can of the more than 200 bird species in the area. The base for the festival will be on the campus of UTMB’s Osher Lifelong Learning Institute, with trips to beaches, bays, marshes, wetlands, wood motts and coastal prairies. For more information visit galvestonfeatherfest.com

Dates: 11-14 April 2013
Venue: Galveston Island
State: Texas

Waterbird Conservation in the African-Eurasian Flyway

October 9, 2012 by  
Filed under Features

As a joint effort between BirdLife International and Wetlands International, and supported by UNEP-GEF (the United Nations Environment Program -Global Environment Facility) and a number of donors and partners, Wings Over Wetlands was the first international wetland and waterbird conservation project to take place in the African-Eurasian flyway region. The project initially ran over four years (2006-2010) and enlisted the aid of international conservation organizations and national governments to support migratory waterbirds in the African-Eurasian region.

Wings Over Wetlands (WOW) also supported field projects in eleven wetland areas in twelve countries within the region – Haapsalu-Noarootsi Bays in Estonia; Biharugra Fishponds in Hungary; Nemunas River Delta in Lithuania; Banc D’Arguin National Park in Mauritania; Namga-Kokorou Complex in Niger; Hadejia-Nguru Wetlands in Nigeria; Saloum-Niumi Complex in Senegal and Gambia; Wakkerstroom Wetlands in South Africa; Dar Es Salaam Wetlands in Tanzania; Burdur Gölü in Turkey and Aden Wetlands in Yemen.

While the original WOW project has run its course, leading international conservation organizations dedicated to protecting of waterbirds and their habitats developed the Critical Site Network (CSN) Tool giving easy access to information on the sites deemed critical for waterbird species. As one of the major achievements of the WOW project the CSN tool provides information for more than 300 migratory waterbird species, highlighting what can be achieved when like-minded conservation organizations work together. This wealth of information assists authorities at local, national and international level to identify the network of sites essential to specific waterbird species, thereby enhancing conservation efforts.

The WOW project also strengthened the implementation of AEWA – the African-Eurasian Migratory Waterbird Agreement – which lists 255 species of birds that are dependent on wetlands for their annual migration and breeding cycle. These include many species of pelicans, grebes, cormorants, divers, herons, rails, storks, ibises, flamingos, spoonbills, ducks, geese, swans, waders, cranes and gulls. Parties to the agreement are required to implement conservation measures set out in the AEWA Action Plan, including habitat conservation, research and education projects and management of human activities. The 5th session of AEWA representatives was held in La Rochelle, France on 14-18 May 2012, under the theme of “Migratory Waterbirds and People – Sharing Wetlands”.

Montezuma Muckrace Birding Competition 2012

August 16, 2012 by  
Filed under Events

Taking place on 7-8 September the Montezuma Muckrace is a 24-hour birding event to raise fund for conservation projects within the Montezuma Wetlands Complex. As one of New York State’s prime birding destinations, Montezuma offers birders a memorable event as birds are counted within the boundaries of the complex. For more information on this event, which is sponsored by the Friends of the Montezuma Wetlands Complex and Audubon NY, please visit the Friends of Montezuma Website.

Dates: 7-8 September 2012
Venue: Montezuma Wetlands Complex
State: New York
Country: United States

Pacific Flyway Migratory Birds Assisted by Rice Farmers

July 3, 2012 by  
Filed under Features

Following the introduction of rice as a food crop during the California gold rush, farmers reportedly battled to find the ideal growing conditions for decades before discovering the right combination of terrain and rice varieties which has turned California into the largest producer of medium and short gain japonica (sushi) rice in the United States. Its annual production of more than two million tons of rice makes it the largest rice producer in the nation and contributes over $1.3 billion to California’s economy. However, all of this success has come at a cost to the birdlife that depends on the wetlands that have now been claimed as rice paddies.

The good news is that more than 165 rice farmers have committed to the implementation of a plan to rectify this situation, and working along with the US Natural Resources Conservation Service a system of islands and suitable habitats will be built to provide migratory birds with a place to rest, feed and hopefully breed. An amount of $2 million has been allocated to fund the project in an effort to build up bird populations that have been declining at an alarming rate. California’s Sacramento Valley forms part of the Pacific Flyway which stretches from Patagonia to Alaska, so the planned improvements will make a significant difference to the welfare of migrating birds which already deal with a perilous journey each time they migrate. In addition to building new habitats and islands, the farmers are adapting their irrigation methods for their paddies. Instead of draining the fields completely in winter in preparation for the new season, the farmers will drain the fields slowly, leaving some partially flooded to provide feeding a nesting grounds for water birds, thereby aiding conservation efforts.

Despite the fact that rice paddies now cover up to 95 percent of the native wetland area of Sacramento Valley, dozens of migratory water bird species can be seen here, including American avocets, cinnamon-teal ducks, dunlins, dowitchers and black-necked stilts. Scientists will need at least two years of monitoring and data gathering to determine the success rate of the project, but with the willing cooperation of local farmers, they are hopeful that the new measures, which require only a fraction of the farming land, will result in a significant increase in water bird populations.

Wings ‘n Water Festival 2012

June 15, 2012 by  
Filed under Events

The new and improved Wings ‘n Water Festival offers a family-fun, weekend of birding activities for all ages. Features of the festival include folk music, local seafood, hands-on activities, and loads of arts and crafts. For more information contact www.wetlandsinstitute.org.

Dates: 12-14 July 2012
Times: 10-4 (THUR-FRI) 6-10 (SAT)
Venue: Wetlands Institute
City: Stone Harbor
State: New Jersey
Country: USA

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