Category Archives: Europe

Osprey Returns To Britain After Migration

“A naturally reared English osprey chick has returned home for the first time in 150 years, boosting hopes of reintroducing the bird across Britain. The two-year-old male, identified as R5, left his nest in Rutland Water, Leics, in September 2004 to migrate to western Africa. He recently returned to his birth place.” Read the full story Hopes for osprey colony raised as bird flies home from Africa.

Osprey Hovering
Osprey Hovering by U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service – Northeast Region, Creative Commons on Flickr

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Researchers Find Oldest Known Pigeon Hollandais Bones

A research team from the natural history museum Naturalis in Leiden has discovered bones of the Pigeon Hollandais (Alectroenas nitidissima) on the island of Mauritius. The bones are the oldest ever found of the species.

The bird got the name Pigeon Hollandais from its coloration of white, blue and red, which reminded early observers of the Dutch flag. The species is also known as the Mauritius Blue Pigeon.

The species was heavily hunted in the 17th and 18th centuries. As the habitat of the bird was decimated by deforestation, sightings of the bird were already rare as early as 1730. The bird probably finally became extinct sometime around the 1803’s.

The research team from Naturalis is in Mauritius searching for information on the Dodo Bird. A weblog of their expedition, with some entries in English, can be found here.

Source: Onderzoekers Naturalis vinden botten ‘Hollandse duif’

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Norwegian Wind Farm Decimates Local Eagles

Turbines from a wind farm on the Smøla islands off the north-west Norwegian coast have killed at least nine white-tailed eagles in the last ten months. This year, only one chick is expected to fledge from a population that used to produce at least 10 chicks a year. The area is now checked weekly for dead birds as pressure mounts on the Norwegian government to improve proposed wind-farm assessments. Read more in the RSPB story Wind farm strikes at eagle stronghold.

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Dutch Researchers Find Dodo Skeleton

A Dutch research team has discovered a dodo skeleton on the island of Mauritius last week. The announcement came from the museum Naturalis, located in Leiden.

The research team’s goal is to document the environment of the dodo on Mauritius before Europeans came to the island. According to descriptions, the Portuguese came to the island about 500 years ago. In about 1600, the Dutch came to the island and began large-scale development and settlement. The last dodo bird was also seen in this period (1683)

So far the team has found near complete leg bone structures, along with skulls, wing- and breast-bones. The team still hopes to discover a complete skeleton. The research expedition will come to an end on 3 July.

Source: Nederlandse onderzoekers vinden onderlichaam dodo

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Dead Swans Found In Amsterdam

On Sunday five dead swans were found in the Dommelskanaal in Amsterdam.

The Dutch animal protection group Dierenbescherming found an exhausted adult female swan along with four dead cygets. The mother swan was very weak and had to be put down by a veterinarian.

According to Dierenbescherming, the cygnets drowned when trying to flee from a fast-moving boat.

A sixth swan, the father of the family, was picked up by an animal ambulance on Sunday night.

Source: Dode zwanen aangetroffen in Dommelskanaal

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Swallow Nests Removed From Dutch Locks

Construction on a lock in the Dutch city of Wijk bij Duurstede was able to continue this week after swallow nests in the lock were removed. Replacement of a lock door had been postponed last week with the discovery of the nests. When the nests were removed, 23 hatchlings were brought to a shelter.

Because the Barn Swallow is a protected species, the nests could only be removed after consultation with the Dutch Land and Nature Ministry. Swallow nest boxes have been placed around the lock to provide the birds with alternative nesting sites.

Source: Zwaluwen wijken voor vervanging sluisdeuren

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France Opposes Extra Space For Chickens

A group of EU countries, under the leadership of France, has blocked a proposed plan to increase the minimum living space for farm chickens. The group is concerned about EU farms competing with Brazilan chicken farmers.

The European Commission currently mandates a maximum of 38 kilos of chickens per square meter. The proposal, brought by Dutch PvdA party member Thijs Berman, was seeking a maximum of 34 kg of chickens per square meter by 2013.

Berman’s reacted with deep disappointment. According to Berman, today’s EU consumers prefer a meat from well-cared for chickens and even indicated that some Brazilian chickens today have more space than some EU chickens.

Germany, Great Britain and the Scandinavian countries back the proposal, but together they do not constitute enough votes against the French coalition.

Source: Frankrijk blokkeert extra ruimte voor kippen

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Birds Return To Island After Rat Removal

Birds on an island off the north Devon coast are showing signs of recovery for the first time since 2003. Rats were culled from the island three years ago in an effort to help the Manx Shearwaters and puffins that used to breed there. The Royal Society for the Protection of Birds had said the cull was necessary because the rats decimated the bird populations by eating the eggs and chicks. Animal Aid did not agree with the plan, believing other factors besides the rats caused the decline in bird population. Read more in the article Signs of chicks after island cull on the BBC.

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