Category Archives: Offbeat

Buzzards Attack Pedestrians

A pair of Common Buzzards has been causing problems for pedestrians, joggers and cyclists visiting or passing the KNVB sport park in Zeist, the Netherlands. Earlier this month a jogger was attacked by the birds and suffered a head wound where one of the birds’ talons made contact.

The buzzard pair has a nest nearby with recently hatched chicks. The parent birds aggressively protect their territory if they feel their nest is under threat.

A speed cyclist, Henk Kools from Waspik, was also attacked by the birds as he rode past the area. The attack left him with three wounds in his neck and a deep scratch in his helmet.

The local government planned to put up signs to warn people visiting the area.

Source: Buizerds vallen passanten aan

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Dutch Pigeon Fancier Performs Illegal Vaccinations

A pigeon fancier from the Dutch province of Gelderland has been questioned in connection with illegal vaccinations performed on racing and hobby pigeons. The man was caught red-handed by agents from the Dutch Agriculture Ministry last week.

The man presented himself as a veterinarian to fellow pigeon fanciers and told the authorities that he performed over 12,000 vaccinations per year at a cost of EUR 0.55 per bird.

The birds, belonging to more than fifty different owners, were vaccinated against the paramyxovirus. Pigeons are required to have this injection annually, but it must be done by a trained veterinarian.

The man has been charged with violating animal medicine statutes and with forgery for providing documents to the pigeon owners proving their birds had been vaccinated. A veterinary practice, which may have provided supplies to the accused man, is also being investigated in connection with the case.

Source: Duivenhouder doet zich voor als dierenarts

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Unused Tower Becomes Common Swift Apartment Complex

Conservation group ‘De Krimpenerwaard’ of the Netherlands is planning a unique project to help the local Common Swift population. Eighty swift nest boxes have been placed on an unused fire department tower in the village of Krimpen aan den IJssel.

The program is unique in the Netherlands. The group hopes that the nest boxes will encourage a large colony of breeding swifts to make the tower their home. The artificial nesting sites are needed because new home construction methods leave few traditional nesting sites for the birds.

The group began placing the nest boxes on the tower in 2005. The nest boxes were opened for the swift population in May 2007.

SOURCE: Brandweertoren wordt ‘gierzwaluwflat’

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Bar-tailed Godwit Sets Long Distance Record

A Bar-tailed Godwit set a long distance migration record for the longest non-stop flight when it flew from New Zealand to China, a distance of more than 10,000 kilometers. The bird was tracked via satellite.

The Godwit traveled the great distance over a period of just nine days, facing a headwind. The study of the birds is part of the Pacific Shorebird Migration Project.

Read more about the Project.

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Falcon Eggs Relocated From Bridge

Well-known falcons George and Gracie were victims of an unusual robbery last week as biologists removed eggs from their nest, located precariously under the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge.

The move was made to prevent the chicks from dying during their fledge from a car collision or drowning.

George and Gracie have raised several clutches from a nest site on a downtown skyscraper. This year the birds relocated to the place of George’s 1999 birth. George was rescued shortly after hatching and raised by humans until his release into the wild.

The eggs will be incubated and the hatchlings will be raised by adoptive Peregrine Falcons until they are ready to be released in the wild.

Read more about George and Gracie.

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Birds Avoid Radioactive Nests At Chernobyl

Researchers studying birds around the site of the 1986 Chernobyl nuclear power plant disaster found that the birds favored sites with lower background radioactivity.

The study was based on the behavior of Great Tits and Pied Flycatchers between 2002 and 2003. Researchers placed nestboxes in areas of varying radioactivity; the birds preferred to nest in lower levels of radiation. Based on their choices, Pied Flycatchers did seem to be more sensitive to radiation.

Read more about the study.

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Nuthatches Shown To Understand Chickadees

Researchers have determined that nuthatches are able to understand warning calls by chickadees. Depending on the type of warning call given, the nuthatches reacted in different ways.

The researchers played recordings of chickadee calls and observed the reaction of the nuthatches. A warning call about a small predator resulted in different behavior than from a large-predator warning call. This demonstrated that the nuthatches not only heed the warning of the other bird, but understood details about the warning.

Read more about the study.

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Lost Hornbill Found In Belgium

An animal protection agency in Belgium has found a lost hornbill in the city of Deurne last weekend. Experts believe the bird was brought to Europe during storms which brought strong winds to the region earlier this month.

It is probable that an aviary was damaged during the storms and the bird was able to escape. Since it is illegal to keep this type of bird captive in Europe, tracing the original owner will be difficult if not impossible.

It is expected that the Dutch Hornbill Foundation will bring the bird back to a natural habitat. Hornbills typically live in Africa south of the Sahara and throughout Asia.

Source: Neushoornvogels de weg kwijt

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Vulture Migrates In Cargo Class

An unhealthy vulture found in an Oak Park Illinois parking lot last month is heading south for the winter, on a commercial flight from Chicago to Tampa.

The Willowbrook Wildlife Center cared for the vulture until it was healthy again. The bird would be unlikely to survive the winter in Chicagoland so sending it to the usual winter hangout for vultures is the best solution.

Now, the center is caring for a Scarlett Tanager that survived a cat attack in October. Tanagers typically travel as far south as South America during the winter migration. The Tanager will remain in the center for the winter and be released in the spring. And a Great Blue Heron found injured in Lisle earlier this year will be driven south to Texas by a center volunteer.

Read more about these unusual wildlife rescues.

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Posted in Florida, Illinois, North America, Offbeat, Rehabilitation | Leave a comment

Inside The Bizarre World Of Egg Thieves

Egg collecting is a dangerous and illegal activity that began when Victorian-era explorers returned to the U.K. with exotic treasures from around the world, including bird eggs. Today the ‘sport’ is practiced by an alarming number of furtive obsessives who break the law each time they add to their collections.

A special police task force dubbed Operation Easter was started in the late 1990’s, when egg thieves appeared to be on the rise. At that time, the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds received about one nest theft report per day. Last year, the RSPB received just over 50 reports. Taking wild eggs has been illegal since 1954, and imprisonment became a possible punishment in 2001. Still, the threat of fines and jail time does not discourage the most hard-core egg collectors, some of whom have been living with their obsession since childhood.

Read The Guardian’s investigative report.

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