Tuesday, 23 April 2013

064 | BIRDSCONTOUR REPORT (16.04.'13 - 22.04.'13)

BIRDSCONTOUR REPORT (16.04.'13 – 22.04.’13)

Text from Stefan Rust

(In terms of the Geneva Convention the copyright of these texts belong to Stefan Rust)

Dear birding friends, 

as birdwatching is a relatively new and one of the fastest growing and a most popular pursuit, it attracts people of all ages around the world. There can hardly be a better place than southern Africa (Namibia, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Mozambique, Swaziland, Lesotho, South Africa) to nurture an interest in birds as it supports almost 1000 bird species, which is about 10 per cent of the world's entire bird. Taking birding to new heights, Hobby-Ornithologist Stefan Rust together with BirdsConTour represents some of the ontour bird sightings and several other interesting birding aspects to showcase the fun of birding, promote citizen science, highlight conservation, indicate where to view what birds and raise awareness of southern Africa's (sometimes international) birds and their habitats.


Have a quick look if you, your site or neighborhood is included in this scientific informational work (alphabetically arranged):

Chamäleon Reisen, Berlin
Rust Leni
Wildpark Eekholt

BirdsConTour Report (Germany) Personal Highlights:

TOURGUIDE AWARD, Chamäleon Reisen

Distance traveled: ± 18 000 km

16.04.'13  Frankfurt  Carrion Crow (1) Although the population density in Germany didn’t skyrock as it is often said and thought, the distribution changed. As breeding birds, the Carrion Crows recently moved into gardens and parks. Clever as they are, they even use the weight of vehicles as a tool to crack open the hard nutshell to reach the inside.

17.04.'13  Braunschweig area  Eurasian Skylark (2) From 98 different larks worldwide, only three breed in Central Europe. All three are also found in Germany and are classified as endangered. To save the Eurasian Skylark, a very successful concept was introduced. During the main nesting season the winter wheat stands so dense that the birds have difficulties reaching their nests on the ground. Farmers create so-called lark windows, two 4 x 4 m unplanted squares per hectare wheat field. For the loss of business on the lark windows, the farmer gets paid for.

18.04.'13  Berlin  Hawfinch (2) Germanys biggest finch has got a big bill with immense power. This body part can crack open pits from cherries and even olives with a power of 490 Newton. This pressure is equal to 50 kg weight on a certain object.

18.04.'13  Chamäleon Reisen, Berlin  Award Chamäleon Reisen honoured me with a prize for the best tour guide scores for the year 2012 for the Chamäleon Tours in southern Africa.

19.04.'13  Schwerin  Common Wood Pigeon (2) The increase of the Common Wood Pigeon in cities saved the population from decreasing. Food out on the fields got scarce because of maize growing instead of wheat. The food produced by cities made up for this loss.

19.04.’13  Hamburg  Greylag Goose (3) The Greylag Goose is known to be the origin of all domesticated Geese. Feeding lures many Greylag Geese into cities, which creates a problem. Some municipalities try to fight the geese population because of the excrements they leave behind. But the municipalities will find it difficult reducing the geese reasoning it with their excrements, because mass events held by humans produce much more rubbish than big flocks of Greylag Geese.

20.04.'13  Norderstedt  Magpie (1) On our way to enjoying a cup of ice cream, my daughter suddenly stopped and said: “Wo ist der tote Vogel?” (Where is the dead bird). Knowing that I’m interested in bird life, she remembered having seen a dead bird somewhere around while walking this road with her mother some days before. And, after walking back a bit, she paused and excitedly said: “Da ist er Papa.” Me, first having difficulties to spot him, finally saw him on the ground underneath some bushes and I was surprised of her very good eyesight being able of having seen the dead Magpie being that well hidden.
So I explained to her that this species used to be and unfortunately sometimes still is called the jewel and egg thief. Therefore some people used to kill this bird, not meaning that a person necessarily killed this individual. Because of mismanagement of the Magpies natural habitat, they are forced to abandon them and move into cities, causing the thought that the population is growing.

21.04.'13  Neumünster  White Stork (2) Efforts to protect the population by introducing hand raised birds into wild living populations need to be done critically. Without continued feeding in the wild, these birds have a low breeding success because of not being able finding enough food by theirself.

21.04.'13  Wildpark Eekholt, Neumünster  Cormorant (7) A so-called cormorant war is on in Germany. Anglers and fish farmers see in the rising cormorant population competition. But the increase in cormorants is a result of eutrophication.

21.04.'13  Wildpark Eekholt, Neumünster  Black Woodpecker (2) Black Woodpeckers sometimes buid nestholes over a period of five years. Because of the hardness of suitable trees, they start off by excavating holes of only a few centimeters depth. The rotting process into the inner of the trunk starts and makes further excavation in following years easier. They reuse existing nest holes and per year not more than one new nest per 1 000 hectares is constructed.

22.04.'13  Norderstedt  Jackdaw (3) About three years ago, I observed a Jackdaw at the Herold Centre collecting cigarette butts and carrying them to its nest. Observation proved that some bird species use them not only as padding but also for health reasons in the nest. These birds discovered that the nicotine in the filters ward off parasites. And this is exactly why the Jackdaw at that time collected the butts.

22.04.'13  Hamburg Airport  Ring-necked Pheasant (2) About 1 000 years ago the first Ring-necked Pheasants were introduced into Germany originating from dry areas in Asia and China. In some areas the death rate for the first year of living lies above 80%. Reason is the partially high pressure from hunting and insufficient adaptation to the cold and wet climate.

22.04.'13  Hannover  Egyptian Goose (2) The distribution of breeding Egyptian Geese in Germany began with escaped birds out of parks in about the 1970’s. Countings of this species in the past 12 years in Germany show a growth of 12% per year.

Enjoy Birding, 
Stefan Rust
Please note: Most scientific information has been taken from Roberts Birds of Southern Africa, V11th edition and from the “BLV Handbuch Vögel”!
(For further reading see www.birdscontour.blog.com)
(For more information contact Stefan Rust on +264 (0)81 129 8415 or birdscontour@iway.na)

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