A 70-year-old Belgian was arrested by Dutch police in Liempde last Saturday for possessing 32 illegally-held birds. The birds, including Chaffinches and two types of lark, were found to be illegally ringed. The handler was fined €1250.
The birds were confiscated by authorities and will be examined. If they are healthy the birds will be released into the wild.
In recent years the Netherlands has seen an increase in illegal bird trade. In this case the police were tipped off by a citizen.
Source: Flinke boete voor illegale vogels Liempde
Earlier this month a flock of 3,000 Sociable Lapwings was discovered in Turkey. It was the largest flock of this endangered bird seen in over 100 years. The flock was discovered when BirdLIfe in Turkey followed a Lapwing that had been tagged in Kazakhstan.
Sociable Lapwing by Alastair Rae, Creative Commons on Flickr
Just a few years ago the total Sociable Lapwing population was thought to be as few as 400 individual birds. BirdLife partners in several different countries, including Syria, Kazakhstan and Turkey, have been working hard during the past few years to protect this species by preserving winter, summer and stopover sites for the migratory Sociable Lapwing.
Read more about the return of the Sociable Lapwing.
The Saemangeum Wetland in South Korea was drained last year by the closure of a seawall. The project was intended to create rice paddy fields but the impact of local wildlife has been disastrous.
The water level of the wetland has dropped from seven meters to 17 centimeters. Mud now covers shellfish beds and plants that once thrived in the area and sustained the numerous birds that fed there.
The estuary was an important stopping off point for migratory birds. At least two bird species, the Spoon-billed Sandpiper and Nordmann’s Greenshank, face extinction because of the destruction of this wetland.
Birds Korea has appealed to the UK and EU for help in restoring, conserving and maintaining Saemangeum.
Read more about the dying wetland.
Chinese scientists have implanted electrodes into a pigeon’s brain to control behavior by electrical stimulation. Using remote control, the scientists have been able to command the bird to such tasks as turning during flight and landing.
The stimulation to the robo-pigeon’s brain is controlled by computers. Robot birds might be used for tasks like surveillance, rescue and mapping in the future.
Source: Chinese scientists create ‘robot’ pigeon
A remote colony of about 100 Slender-Billed Vultures was discovered earlier this month by the Wildlife Conservation Society Cambodia. The birds are critically endangered.
A dramatic decline in vulture numbers is due to the use of diclofenac in cattle, a pain reliever used for livestock. Vultures that subsequently fed on carcasses that had been treated with diclofenac later died from the drug.
Read more about the discovery.
An Indian Myna bird has been spotted at the Launceston Airport in Tasmania. The bird is not native to Tasmania and could have a big impact on agriculture and native species if it becomes established. Read the full story Bird sighting fuels biosecurity fears.
A Sumatran Ground-cuckoo has been photographed by a camera set up to survey tigers in northern Sumatra. The camera was set up by a joint British-Indonesian team in order to survey the tiger population close to the Kerinci Seblat National Park. A sighting of the cuckoo had only been recorded once in the last 90 years. Read the full story Tiger trap goes cuckoo on BirdLife International.
Mute swans in New York are driving native ducks and geese from their traditional nesting spots. The swans, natives of Europe and Asia, are being culled by state biologists in an attempt to decrease the population, which has reached about 3,000 birds. Read the full story Attack on bird ruffles feathers.
Smuggling in the Middle East and Asia is driving some falcon species to extinction. The black market in birds of prey can yield bigger profits than selling drugs or weapons. Read the full story Falcon smugglers swoop to profits, endanger birds from Reuters.
When they were in power, the Taliban banned pigeon fanciers from flying their flocks. Recently, at least six flocks of pigeons may be seen exercising above the dull rooftops of Kabul on a given evening. Read about one pigeon keeper in Griff Witte’s story Pigeons take to the skies over Kabul from The Washington Post.