Lost Racing Pigeons Rescued From Deserted Island

Racing pigeons, blown off course by storms, have been rescued from remote Scottish islands by National Trust staff. The birds faced starvation due to lack of suitable vegetation, or becoming prey to other birds, if they remained on the island. Some of the lost birds are believed to have started their journey from as far away as France. Read the full story Lost pigeons saved from islands on the BBC.

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Gulls: Leiden Political Party vs. Animal Protection Group

Citizens of the South Holland city of Leiden have complained about nuisance from gulls for years. During the breeding season the noise level is so great that people cannot sleep at night. The local branch of the political party CDA wants to put an end to the nuisance once and for all. They are seeking an exception to the ‘flora-and-fauna’ law which prohibits killing the gulls. The animal protection group Dierenbescherming opposes the plan.

CDA is taking the problem of sleep deprivation seriously. Public safety is also affected by the gulls, who rip open garbage bags and litter the city. The gulls have also been known to attack people if they feel their young are being threatened.

Seeking the killing exception comes after the city has already tried to discourage the birds by shaking eggs and placing anti-gull netting over popular nesting spots. A falconer was also used, but to no success.

In a press release Dierenbescherming recognized the nuisance caused by the gulls but called for alternative solutions to be explored, rather than killing the birds. The protection of these splendid, ingenious birds is worth the trouble. Shooting birds will not be a lasting solution and will only lead to the birds suffering.

Dierenbescherming proposes the only way to get the gulls out of Leiden is to reduce the food on offer for them. Therefore Leiden has to improve trash disposal and insure containers are closed and clean up must be more frequent.

CDA Leiden wil af van meeuwenterreur
Dierenbescherming verafschuwt meeuwenplan CDA

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Spoonbills Discover New Hangout In Holland

At least ten spoonbills have been spotted recently at the Zwaakse Weel in Zeeland, the Netherlands. They have nested on the Middelplaten and are now feeding in the area before their migration south.

Last February Natuurmonumenten began the first phase of a plan to make the Zwaakse Weel more appealing for birds and animals. The area covers approximately 200 hectare. The area was formerly used for agriculture. Besides inviting nature back, the area is also being developed for recreational use. A fishing pier was installed, as well as a viewing tower, accessible for the handicapped. Walking and bicycle paths have also been constructed.

Source: Lepelaars ontdekken Zwaakse Weel

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H5N1 Bird Flu In Dutch Zoo

Earlier this week it was revealed that two young owls in the Rotterdam zoo died from the deadly bird flu strain H5N1. As the first zoo in the world to inoculate all of their birds against the flu, the news came as a surprise.

The owls were born in May, after the last round of shots given to the bird population at the zoo.

A low-pathogenic H7 bird flu strain was discovered at a Dutch farm earlier this month, prompting five countries to ban imports of Dutch poultry.

Source: Vogelpest in Blijdorp

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RSPB: Scottish Crossbill Is Britain’s Only Endemic Bird

“Although the British Ornithologists Union has classed the Scottish crossbill as a distinct species since 1980 many ornithologists, including those in the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds, have hesitated to follow suit, as they believed there was not enough scientific research to prove it was different from other crossbills. But after undertaking years of study into the habits and characteristics of the bird, which thrives in Scotland’s conifer woodland, the RSPB has at last accepted that the Scottish crossbill is unique to Britain.” Read the full story A Scottish accent gives away Britain’s only indigenous bird in The Independent.

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British Soldiers Follow The Birds In Afghanistan

“The RSPB’s online video footage of osprey chicks has been entertaining the troops in Afghanistan. The RSPB has received emails from soldiers serving in war torn Afghanistan, thanking them for the web-based coverage, which allows them to keep in touch with the wildlife of home.” Read the full story RSPB webcams keeping spirits up in Afghanistan at the RSPB.

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Research Shows Homing Pigeons Use Smell As Guide

An Italian researcher has shown that pigeons rely on their sense of smell to navigate. It was previously thought that they used variations in the Earth’s magnetic field why flying home. The research involved denying some birds use of their olfactory nerves, while others had nerves linked to magnetic detection severed. The birds without ability to smell became lost while most of the other pigeons returned home from a distance of 30 miles. Read the full story Pigeons’ homing instinct is all down to smell in the Observer.

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Longest Migration On Record: 46,000 Miles

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
Sooty Shearwater by Hilary Chambers, Creative Commons on Flickr

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