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
Last week’s Bohemian Waxwing survey in the Netherlands resulted in 375 sightings.
In comparison, the same survey found 1832 birds in 2006. This year, most birds were counted in the provinces Gelderland and Drenthe.
Source: Nederland weer populair bij pestvogels
An automated birdwatching machine has been set up at a wildlife reserve in Arkansas to search for the rare Ivory-billed Woodpecker. The bird was presumed extinct for decades but unconfirmed sightings beginning in 2004 have sparked great interest in the bird.
The electronic system uses two video cameras to capture images of the sky. These images are later scanned for evidence of the elusive Ivory-billed.
Read more about the robot.
The government of Grenada is continuing with plans to sell the Mount Hartman National Park to the Four Seasons Hotel Group despite growing pressure from conservationists from around the world.
The National Park, which is locally called the ‘Dove Sanctuary’, is home to 22% of the world population of the Grenada Dove, a critically endangered species.
The website www.grenadadovecampaign.com has been set up to offer advice and information about the proposed sale.
Read more at BirdLife International.
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.
Record numbers of ducks and geese have been spotted at Pocosin Lakes National Wildlife Refuge in North Carolina this winter. The U.S. Navy wants to build a landing field nearby, a plan opposed by naturalists.
The lakes are located about 5 miles from the site that the Navy wants to use for the landing strip. Environmentalists believe the proximity of the landing strip to the Refuge will harm wildlife and increase potential for collisions between aircraft and birds.
Read more about the proposed airfield.
The last Madagascar Pochard, a diving duck, was seen in 1991. This month a group of conservationists discovered a group of at least 25 pochards while searching for a rare hawk on the island.
Most ornithologists believed the duck, Aythya innotata, to be extinct. The living colony of pochards were found by a steep-sided volcanic lake, a different environment than the marshy lakes they were believed to prefer.
Read more about the rediscovered ducks.
A new study claims that ski resorts across Europe are having devastating impact on native bird species.
“Italian ecologists say that slopes situated above the tree line have fewer birds in their vicinity compared to natural grasslands at similar altitudes.”
Read more about the study.
Approximately 25 waterfowl on the Dinkel in Twente, the Netherlands, were found illegally shot last week. The majority of corpses found were those of geese, all of which had been filleted after being shot.
On Monday 15 January, hikers found the cadavers spread over a kilometer along the banks of the Dinkel. The geese and ducks were killed with shot. The killers filleted the birds for their meat and dumped the decimated corpses in or next to the water. The police are seeking witnesses.
Source: Stropers schieten tientallen watervogels in Twente
“The EU Commission has announced that the ban on imports of birds caught in the wild is to be made permanent throughout the European Union later this year.”
“The move comes after a temporary ban was imposed within the EU in October 2005, after birds in a UK quarantine centre were found to have avian influenza.
The ban is to take effect from the 1 July 2007.”
Read more about the ban.
Posted in Aside, Europe, Law