Eurasian migratory birds need big African trees

This video from England is about a common redstart.

This blog reported already about the count this month of migratory shorebirds in west Europe and west Africa.

More inland in Africa, people count migratory birds as well.

There is an international BirdLife program: Living on the Edge; for improving migratory bird habitats and livelihoods in the Sahel region, just south of the Sahara desert.

In this program, there is participation from Burkina Faso NATURAMA, Mauritania, Nigeria Conservation Foundation (NCF) – Nigeria; and Senegal. And also from European countries where the migratory birds are in summer.

This morning, Vroege Vogels radio in the Netherlands reported about it. Where do Eurasian migratory birds like common redstart and spotted flycatcher spend their African winters?

It turns out they do so overwhelmingly in just about ten tree species, all in the Acacia genus. And much more so in older, taller trees than in small, young trees.

This research result means there should be more conservation of acacia trees, especially tall, older ones.

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Migratory bird brings African, Dutch school children together

This video from England is called WWT Slimbridge: Common Redstart.

Translated from BirdLife in the Netherlands:

The common redstart nests in Europe but winters in the Sahel, including in Burkina Faso. The curriculum ‘The Incredible Journey‘ will therefore also be offered, in French, to pupils in Burkina Faso in 2014. Children of Belemtisse primary school in Ouagadougou, the capital of Burkina Faso and the primary school ‘De Oanrin’ in Twijzel [in the Netherlands] will then be in touch. Together, this way, they will get to know better each others’ world and also the world of the common redstart, which flies back and forth between them.

African children’s bird drawings

Bee-eater, drawn by Kadison Augustine Mada Duwai, Conservation Society of Sierra Leone, first prize in 13-16 years of age category

From BirdLife:

Winners of “My Spring” Drawing competition in Africa announced

Fri, Dec 21, 2012

Winners of “My Spring” Drawing competition in Africa announced

BirdLife International … is proud to announce the winners of the 2012 maiden edition of the Spring Alive drawing competition for children in Africa.

In all, nine (9) winners have been selected from a total of about 141 entries received after the close of a two and half months long competition on the 15th of November, 2012. The highly creative and impressive entries were received from school children aged 16 years and below in six African countries namely: Botswana, Sierra Leone, Malawi, Nigeria, Uganda and Zimbabwe.

The jury for the competition … were very pleased and highly elated to receive such a high number of creative and beautiful artistic paintings from school children in Africa. According to Julie Rogers … “The pictures are absolutely beautiful, and we’re honoured to be able to judge this competition. It’s so difficult to choose just one from each category! The effort and time put into drawing these wonderful pictures was inspiring”.

Evidently, to create a more fair and balanced platform for all entrants and as well increase the chances of winning, the entries were categorized into three different age brackets (6-9 years, 10-12year & 13-16years) and subsequently three winners (First, Second & Third) selected from each category by the competent jury.

The final outcome as determined by the jury is presented below:

Ages 6-9 years
First: Olamide Ajayi, Nigeria Conservation Foundation
Second: Jennifer Tshukudu, Birdlife Botswana
Third: Joshua Ajayi, Nigeria Conservation Foundation

Ages 10-12 years
First: Okere Tochukwu, Nigeria Conservation Foundation
Second: Ahimbsibwe Mary, Nature Uganda
Third: Nyakeh Benson, Conservation Society of Sierra Leone

Ages 13-16 years

First: Kadison Augustine Mada Duwai, Conservation Society of Sierra Leone
Second: Chibueze Agube, Nigeria Conservation Foundation
Third : Abdul Rahman, Conservation Society of Sierra Leone

As announced earlier, the first place winners in each category will receive a high quality digital camera whilst the second and third place positions will receive some consolations prizes. However all participants in the 2012 Africa edition of the competition will also receive Spring Alive branded stickers and bracelets from the BirdLife International Secretariat.

The Spring Alive Team congratulates the winners and thanks warmly all participants for their beautiful paintings!

Pictures are here (scroll down).

Also from BirdLife:

Great loss-The late Georges Henry Oueda

Fri, Dec 21, 2012

It is with deep regret that we received the very sad news that Georges Henry Oueda, Director of Conservation of NATURAMA (BirdLife in Burkina Faso) passed away.

Aged just 48, Georges was the single most knowledgeable expert in ornithology in his country. He was the Naturama IBA Coordinator and was known to many across the international bird conservation community. His contribution to nature conservation in Burkina Faso cannot be overestimated.

Throughout his tour of duty at Naturama, he was dedicated and committed to making a difference for both biodiversity and people. Georges was the driving force behind setting up and training local conservation groups at site like Oursi-Darkoye, Lake Higa and Sourou valley, now known as shining examples of community-based conservation. The recent designation of twelve wetlands in Burkina as Ramsar sites have largely been achieved by Georges’ coordination and monitoring training.

He had so many plans to continue and expand his work. His passing leaves a large gap, mostly of course in his family, and also in NATURAMA and the BirdLife Partnership as a whole.

George was an avid birder, a man of the people, an asset to Naturama and the Partnership. He fought a good fight and we will truly miss him. May His Dear Soul Rest in Peace

Those who wish to extend their condolences may use the general NATURAMA address:

Film on hooded vultures in Burkina Faso

This is a hooded vulture video.

From BirdLife:

Are Hooded Vultures threatened with extinction in Burkina?

Formerly common in public places, and regularly seen on the rooftops of houses and public buildings, the Hooded vultures are now rare and missed by many in Ouagadougou, the capital city of Burkina Faso. Has Ouagadougou become an inhospitable city to these birds? What happened to them anyway? These questions have inspired the creation of a documentary film under the auspices of Naturama (BirdLife in Burkina Faso), the Association des Techniciens Indépendants du Cinéma et de l’audio-visuel (ATIC) with funding from BirdLife International and the North England Zoological Society.

Vultures occupy an important place in the culture and lifestyles of people in Burkina Faso. In traditional medicine, they are used to ward off evil spells while they are good environmental cleaners. In addition, Hooded Vultures are good indicators of the quality of the urban environment. So many are their benefits that people are expected to protect these birds. However, the reality is different based on what has happened in the last few years in Ouagadougou. According to the Director of Wildlife and Hunting in Burkina Faso, Mr. Urban Belemsobgo, the population of hooded vultures, has declined between 1974 and 2004 from 26 to 6 individuals in every 5kms. “Five major factors are likely to be leading to this alarming and deplorable situation”, explains Oueda Georges, Director of conservation department of Naturama. “These are: the poisoning of vultures, habitat loss, the collisions with electric power lines, hunting by poachers and the measures taken by the aviation agents to prevent bird strikes”.

It is therefore urgent that action is taken. That is why this film has been produced in order to alert the public and government about threats to vultures. “The documentary comes at a time when the Hooded Vulture has just declared as Endangered in the newly released 2011 IUCN Red List. This is as a result of its observed decline across the range in Africa”, says Kariuki Ndang’ang’a of the BirdLife Africa Partnership Secretariat. Idrissa Zeba, the Executive Director of Naturama, urges people in Burkina Faso to be aware of the threats to the Hooded Vulture and to create all suitable conditions for the hooded vulture so that it can reassert itself in the city of Ouagadougou.

Burkina Faso Losing Thousands of Hectares of Forests Each Year: here.

East Africa: Hooded Vulture Numbers Take a Nose-Dive: here.

The Cape Griffon vulture, the largest bird of its kind in Africa, is also one of the most endangered. Listed as “vulnerable” to extinction by the World Conservation Union (which is similar to “threatened” on the Endangered Species List) the Cape Griffon vulture has suffered a significant population decline over the past few decades: here.

India’s pharmacies flout diclofenac ban but vulture breeding centres have best year yet: here.

A team of BirdLife International and Fondation NATURAMA (BirdLife Partner in Burkina Faso) visited Oursi Lake recently to assess the impact of small scale funding received from Ricoh to support the rehabilitation of Oursi Lake ecosystem and improve livelihoods. Oursi is one of the most important wetland in Burkina Faso located about 450km from Ouagadougou. The lake is a major refuge for biodiversity in this Sahel zone and has bird assemblage of over 100 species including 27 Palearctic migrants: here.