Thursday, 29 January 2015

310 | BirdsConTour Bird of the Year 2015: House Sparrow (Passerdomesticus)


Birds Conservation and Tourism, BirdsConTour, chose the House Sparrow as the "Bird of the Year" 2015 for Namibia. Namibia is a country that is urbanizing rapidly, leading to a progressive settlement and city. Windhoek, capital of Namibia, alone has grown in population from 185 000 in 1995 to about 350 000 by now, making up almost 11,4% of the country's total population of 1.8 million.
As population growth rises, Namibia's cities and settlements are increasingly becoming less bird-friendly by restricted food, shelter and nesting options.
Birds are finding it especially challenging to survive in areas occupied by mankind and as future prospects indicate even more rapid growth, BirdsConTour takes action in bird conservation.
In an effort to draw the public attention to the threats faced by birds in Namibia, BirdsConTour has designated the House Sparrow as the "Birds of the Year" for 2015, after the Common Ostrich (Struthio camelus) in 2013 (see blog articles # 5, 43, 60) and the Kori Bustard (Ardeotis kori) in 2014 (see blog articles # 183, 184, 232).
With the designation of the House Sparrow as "Bird of the Year" he serves as an embassador for creating awareness of the effects a rapid population growth has on bird life. Any other city dwelling bird could have been chosen, but the House Sparrow is suitable because almost everybody knows this little bird.
Lack of green and sand spaces, a shortage of food and sometimes even water, use of pesticides and a lack of nesting sites are reasons for birds to void human occupied areas, sometimes even resulting in a decline in bird numbers.
BirdsConTour recommends that new and renovated buildings incorporate bird-friendly cavities (more details in articles # 65, 73), that urban areas get managed bird-friendly (read more in articles # 18, 21, 49, 62, 136, 139, 161, 218) and BirdsConTour also calls for public support of birds in gardens (articles # 70, 162, 205, 208, 212, 253, 309).

Tuesday, 27 January 2015

309 | Recycling supports bird life


There are many easy ways to become active in bird conservation. Many old items, often thrown away as trash, can fast and easy be recycled to help improve a certain habitat and thereby supporting birds.

Remember - Any recycling you can do helps reduce litter and will create a more sustainable environment that helps preserve bird habitat for generations to come!
BirdsConTour points out some ideas to recycle to help the birds:

1. Old dishes can be used to create                       rustic feeders or unique bird baths.

2. Plastic bottles can be transformed into   bird feeders.

3. Old kettles and jars can be attached in appropriate locations to serve as bird nesting ledges.

4. Pet fur and similar materials can be recycled as ideal nesting material.

5. A whisk makes a superb nest material dispenser.

6. Out of old wood rustic bird houses or feeders can be build. Old nest boxes can easily be renovated.

Friday, 23 January 2015

308 | Birding on Krumhuk Farm


'What's your favorite birding spot around Windhoek?' is a question often put to me. It is difficult to answer, each destination has its own allure, but Krumhuk Farm, only 25 km south of Windhoek, is certainly at the top of my list. 

On Krumhuk Farm birders are treated to a variety of interesting habitats, ranging from gardens, freshwater areas, mountains and hills, grassland and trees and thickets.

Krumhuk Farm, brought to the attention of the world by its biological practices, is to a large extent still unspoilt and the peaceful home of its exceptionally rich bird life. With its accommodation establishments the farm offers easy access to these unique and beautiful birding assets.
Any questions can be directed to


Tuesday, 20 January 2015

307 | The rarest bird in Namibia - Red-throated Pipit


A number of birds take advantage of the brief Arctic summer to breed within the region stretching from Greenland through Iceland, Spitsbergen and Lapland, and across Arctic Russia. Most are marsh and water birds; few strictly land birds breed in the Arctic because of the lack of food.
The Red-throated Pipit (Anthus cervinus) is among these. It breeds in the Arctic tundra from northern Scandinavia across Siberia to western Alaska.
During the northern hemisphere winter it migrates to southern and south eastern Asia, eastern Mediterranean coast and to parts of western, north-central and eastern Africa.
Normally not to be found in southern Africa and never before been photographed in the region, the sighting of this extremely rare visitor at the Avis Dam in Windhoek, Namibia, on 7 January caused great excitement that birdwatchers travelled from across Namibia's borders to get a sighting of this vagrant.

Friday, 2 January 2015

306 | Save the White and the Black Rhino


Save the White and the Black Rhino

Originally rhino roamed all over Africa but conflict with man changed the situation rapidly. While in the early 1960s still many thousands of rhino dwelled in Africa, human encroachment into rhino habitat and poaching led to a drastic reduction in numbers. In order to supply two main markets, the traditional oriental medicine market and the market in Yemen, where rhino horn is used to make traditional dagger handles (djambiya), the poaching on a commercial scale escalated.
Today saving every single rhino has become essential. Everybody can do his/her bit by supporting worthy organizations throughout Africa that focus on rhino conservation.
And it seems that there is hope, because in the southern part of Africa conservation efforts have resulted in a rise in the numbers of Black and White Rhino.

The main differences between the two African rhino species are:
White Rhino
- Large size (up to 2 400 kg)
- Large square lip
- Long head
- Ears long and pointed
- Straight back
- Grazes on open grassy habitat
- Calf usually runs in front of mother
- Dung contains grass only
- Back of footprint has indentation

Black Rhino
- Small size (up to 1 400 kg)
- Hooked, pointed upper lip
- Short head
- Ears short and round
- Hollow back
- Browses in dense vegetation
- Calf usually runs behind mother
- Dung contains sticks, twigs and
- Back of footprint is rounded