Last week Vogeltrekstation Arnhem (central ringing database group) in the Netherlands announced that a Goldcrest had traveled an amazing 142 kilometers (88 miles) in just one night!
The Goldcrest (goudhaantje in Dutch) is one of the smallest songbirds native to the Netherlands. They are between 8.5 and 9.5 cm (3.3 to 3.7 inches) in length.
Goldcrest, Auderghem, Brussels by Frank.Vassen, Creative Commons on Flickr
The event occurred on 26 September when the bird was ringed at 7:45 am in the nature reserve Zwanenwater. The young male bird weighed in at 5.4 grams.
The following morning the same bird was caught again at 9:30 am at a ringing station in Zeeland.
Source: Goudhaantje levert verrassende prestatie
Today BirdLife International reported a large number of dead migratory birds found near the water treatment plant in Sharm el Sheikh, Egypt. Locals found 27 Lesser Spotted Eagles and over 30 White Storks dead around the ponds.
We visited these ponds in October 2007. This area of the Sinai Peninsula is a major stopover spot for migratory birds, and during the fall thousands of White Storks pass through this part of Egypt during their journey south.
We saw hundreds of storks flying towards the ponds from the mountains. As we walked around the ponds looking for other birds we noticed a lot of dead storks. Our Egyptian taxi driver, who accompanied us on our walk around the ponds (as ordered by the local police), was very interested in the dead storks and thought we should be, too. He made sure to point out each stork corpse to us so we wouldn’t miss seeing any. Nice. Anyway, it did seem like there were a lot of dead storks but we assumed they died of exhaustion from their long journey and did not consider anything was amiss. I don’t think we saw anywhere near 30 and we didn’t see any other dead species, either.
Read the whole BirdLife story here and check out Arthur’s Sharm sewage ponds mini-trip report here.
Scientists in New Zealand have reported a record-breaking migration of 11,500 kilometers by a Black-tailed Godwit. The data was collected after the bird was fitted with a transmitter.
The bird, called ‘E7’, flew from New Zealand to Alaska and back again. The same individual bird also traveled a journey of 10,000 km from New Zealand to China.
In May E7 flew to the breeding grounds of Alaska. The bird remained in North America for July and August before returning to New Zealand this month.
The study, by the Massey University in New Zealand, fitted 16 Godwits with transmitters in February.
Source: Grutto vestigt trekvogelrecord
The Dutch oil company NAM and Philips have developed a new type of lighting . The lamps radiate a limited part of the color spectrum. Due to the lights’ unique coloring, migrating birds traveling over the North Sea are less likely to be distracted by them.
The lights are already in use on one oil platform in the Dutch part of the North Sea. The test case has been very positive so far.
Every year 60 million birds travel over the North Sea. Most birds make their journey safely and without incident. However up to 10% of the migrating birds can become distracted by the lights on offshore oil platforms. The birds may end up circling the oil platform for a long time before collapsing from exhaustion into the platform or the sea.
NAM has been seriously researching this problem and came up with the different type of light being a possible solution. Birds are especially distracted by reds in the color spectrum, and not as much by blues and greens. Normally, light which lacks reds would be a problem for the oil platform workers. NAM joined with Philips to come up with a solution that was safe for both the birds and the oil platform workers.
The oil platform L15, off the coast of Vlieland, was equipped with a mix of the special TL- and HID-bulbs. The test is currently studying not only the reaction of the area birds but also the safety standards of the workers on the platform. Beside the reduction in bird-related incidents, so far testing has complied to all human safety standards as well. The final results of the study will be prepared after the fall migration.
Source: Eerste platform met vogelvriendelijke verlichting
Starting in mid-August, young white storks from northern Europe begin their migration south. In Belgium this year a record 91 baby storks were hatched, and they are getting ready for the long flight south.
Data collected in Belgium found 65 pairs of stork breeding in the country in the 2007 season. The record 91 young storks will begin their migration before their parents. Their instincts tell them where to fly.
The project ‘Storks without Borders’ fitted storks with satellite devices which helps scientists understand the migration patterns of European storks. Up to two thirds of Belgian storks will overwinter in Spain or Portugal. The rest will go to Africa, some as far south as Senegal.
In the Netherlands this year almost 1000 young storks were hatched, and several thousand were bred in Germany. Most German storks follow a different migration route from the lowlands birds and will head towards Turkey and eastern Africa.
Source: Belgische ooievaars klaar voor trek naar zuiden
Like the Netherlands, France has recorded record high temperatures this fall, and the migratory birds that normally only spend the summer months in the country are still there in mid-December.
This autumn was the warmest in France since 1950, with temperatures almost 3 degrees Celsius higher than normal. For example, warblers have been seen all over the country, although they normally head for Africa in August or September.
Read the full article Birds bask in warmest French autumn since 1950.
Holland is experiencing the warmest fall season in three hundred years and the migratory birds that normally leave the area around this time aren’t going anywhere. Many migratory birds leave for the south of Europe at first frost. Lapwings, geese and song birds which should have migrated already have remained in Holland.
The mild weather has insured that the birds that have remained in the Netherlands have plenty to eat. Acorns and chestnuts are available in abundance. The warm temperatures also mean that birds don’t have to use extra energy to keep themselves warm.
Insect-eating birds have also had enough to eat in the mild autumn. The good fortunes of the birds remaining in northern Europe can change quickly once the first frost arrives.
Source: Vogels blijven langer door warm najaar
The migratory path of the European Red Knot brings it to the Wadden Sea flats in the northern part of the Netherlands each year. There, the birds feed on cockles before continuing their migration, which can be up to 16,000 kilometers in distance. The flats are protected by two different acts, yet suction dredging was sanctioned by the Dutch authorities until 2004. As a result, the cockles’ meat has diminished significantly, causing a quarter of the Red Knot population to have died out. Read more about the Red Knots at New Scientist.
A diminutive sea bird has completed the longest migration on record. The Sooty Shearwater travels the Pacific Ocean in a figure-of-eight pattern each year, flying up to 46,000 miles on its migration route. These extraordinary migration routes represent the longest recorded of any animal tracked to date.
read more | digg story
Sooty Shearwater by Hilary Chambers, Creative Commons on Flickr