As regular CFZ-watchers will know, for some time
Corinna has been doing a column for Animals & Men and a
regular segment on On The Track... about out-of-place birds,
rare vagrants, and basically all things feathery and Fortean.
Because we live in strange times, there are more and more bird stories that
come her way, so she has now moved onto the main CFZ bloggo with a new column
with the same name as her aforementioned ones...
on the BTO Cuckoos
The survivors are nearly back in the UK and Lyster
is now the nearest, being in Paris, and Chris is currently in Milan.
Unfortunately, however, Martin is presumed dead
after his transmission ceased in southern Spain. His tag temperature dropped from a normal
30-32 degrees C to 11.7 – a gradual change over the course of a night.
It was previously thought that all Cuckoos left for North Africa or Europe via
a long flight direct from their southern hemisphere wintering locations. With
this unfolding new information about where they prepare for the spring desert
crossing BTO will be in a much better position to assess what determines how
many Cuckoos make it back to Britain each spring and why they arrive early or
Officer from Torbay, Devon joins fight against Cyprus bird slaughter
PC Josh Marshall is a Torbay police officer who has
joined an EU charity mission (CABS- Committed Against Bird Slaughter) against
the illegal bird slaughter in Cyprus. He
will be giving up hours of his free time to help his counterparts in Cyprus
tackle wildlife crime such as the illegal trapping of tens of thousands of rare
birds which are then sold as delicacies fetching exorbitant prices. He will be off to Cyprus between April 27 and
“This is a shocking act to witness,” said PC Marshall.
“If a bird gets caught, it often ends up hanging upside down and the only
relief comes when the trapper comes along and slits its throat.”
PC Marshall and other volunteers will work through the
night and day to locate and demolish the traps and produce evidence to assist Cypriote
police in their prosecution.
Man dealing in rare birds arrested
Brynn McDonagh from West Heath, Birmingham was arrested at the end of last year after a joint West Midlands Police and
National Wildlife Crime Unit (NWCU) investigation in rare bird dealing. He was
charged with smuggling rare birds into the country from South Africa and for
trying to sell endangered species over the internet. He had already been given a 10 month jail
sentence, suspended for two years in November 2010 for illegally importing 20
endangered species from Africa. He has
now to undertake 180 hours of unpaid work as well as paying court costs of
The investigation was led by West Midlands Police
Officer, Phil Allen. He said: “The suspended sentence was an opportunity
for McDonagh to change his ways and to understand that these birds are
protected for a reason.
“However, he continued to try and profit at the
expense of endangered wildlife and has paid the penalty.”
Investigations Officer for the NWCU, Andy McWilliam,
added: “McDonagh has displayed a total disregard for international legislation
which is there to protect endangered species against profiteering.”
Marine litter causes death of rare sea bird in Chichester
Litter in Chichester Harbour has caused the death of a rare black-throated diver. The bird overwinters on the open seas, and was discovered by the Chichester Harbour Patrol.
Ed Rowsell, Conservation Officer for Chichester Harbour Conservancy,
said ‘it is distressing to see a wild seabird's life ended in this way, and due
to the off-shore habits of this species, this bird is probably just one of many
lost due to marine litter. It is up to all of us to be very careful about
disposing of litter responsibly.'
Litter is regularly collected from the shoreline by volunteers from the
Conservancy’s “Harbour Watch" scheme and regular Friends of Chichester
Harbour work parties. Last year alone, 188 bags of marine litter were collected
from the Harbour's shoreline.
Any sightings of birds in distress should be reported to the RSPCA or
Brent Lodge Bird and Wildlife Trust.
A black swan goes paddling
A very rare bird, native to Australia, and which is believed to have escaped from a private collection, has been the centre of attention on the seafront at Craigendoran bay. Eric Spaven, 43, could hardly believe his eyes when he noticed the bird while out walking his dog on Friday morning.
The Craigendoran man said: "It was at Craigendoran bay and
I thought I was seeing things at first as I didn't even know black swans
existed. I thought it might have been the light to begin with but it was clear
that there were five swans in total, four white and one black.
"I took pictures on my phone and was a tad confused about
where it came from."
Steve Chadwin, of Helensburgh Royal Society for the Protection
of Birds (RSPB), said: "It is obviously an escaped bird from a private
"It was still there this morning just to the west of the
"It certainly seems happy enough and has plenty of food. It
is just sitting on the edge of the water and paddling about.
A spokesman for the RSPB added: "There is probably a very
worried owner somewhere.
"The wings and feathers are quite often clipped but this
has not happened here."
Black grouse numbers bounce back
three bad years, the rare black grouse has seen its numbers double in northern
England according to the Game and Wildlife
increase in the male population has enabled the trust to relocate 15 males to a
new area to try to increase the bird’s range.
Warren, research scientist with the GWCT, said: "We've had two fantastic
breeding years, in 2010 and 2011, which has really helped. Up to spring 2010,
we'd had three back-to-back environmental events: two poor breeding years and a
very bad winter."
by the trust has revealed that male black grouse are unwilling to disperse more
than 1km (0.6 miles) from where they are born, making it hard to extend their
range even if the habitat is suitable. But females are prepared to move up to
9km (six miles) looking for new places to settle and breed, meaning that at the
edge of the range they can be moving into areas with no males.