EuroBirdwatch, 4-5 October 2014


This video is called Eurobirdwatch 2013 – Maramures Romania.

From BirdLife:

Join us for a fascinating birdwatching weekend on 4 – 5 October

By Elodie Cantaloube, Fri, 12/09/2014 – 13:08

EuroBirdwatch – BirdLife’s biggest birdwatching event in Europe and Central Asia – will take place this year on the weekend of 4 – 5 October. Join us to explore the beauty of birds and experience the magic of bird migration!

Created in 1993, EuroBirdwatch aims to give the opportunity to the youngest as well as the oldest, to confirmed nature lovers as well as the simply curious, to observe the unique migration of birds and to promote efforts to save threatened bird species and their habitats.

As they have done every year on the first weekend of October since its inception, BirdLife national Partners will be organising a wide variety of activities and events across Europe and Central Asia. These will include birdwatching excursions, special birdwatching events on organic farms, contests for children to identify birds by their song, bird fairs, trips to watch birds in national parks and many more activities.

In 2013, EuroBirdwatch was celebrating its 20th anniversary. To mark this special occasion, that year 19,000 people, including children and families, took part in many events organised by the BirdLife Partners in Europe and Central Asia. More than two million birds of different species were counted and reported to the BirdLife Research Center.

Participate in EuroBirdwatch 2014!

Book your time for the weekend 4 – 5 October. Find your national EuroBirdwatch coordinator, which will be the BirdLife Partner in your country. Choose your event and enjoy your birdwatching!

If you are a BirdLife Partner and you want to take part in EuroBirdwatch 2014, to find useful information for registration and organisation please contact Birgit Gödert-Jacoby, EuroBirdwatch Advisor.

Genetic variability in the Eurasian Stone-curlew (Burhinus oedicnemus)


Originally posted on North African Birds:

Mori, A., Baldaccini, N. E., Baratti, M., Caccamo, C., Dessì-Fulgheri, F., Grasso, R., Nouira, S., Ouni, R., Pollonara, E., Rodriguez-Godoy, F.,Spena, M.T., Giunchi, D. (2014). A first assessment of genetic variability in the Eurasian Stone-curlew Burhinus oedicnemus. Ibis 156(3): 687–692. doi:10.1111/ibi.12164

Abstract:

The Eurasian Stone-curlew is a species of conservation concern in Europe. We investigate for the first time the extent of population structure among populations sampled from six geographical areas, representing four subspecies inhabiting the western part of the species’ distribution. Neither mitochondrial nor nuclear markers fully supported current subspecies boundaries. However, both markers support significant differentiation of the Canary Island populations from those sampled from the Mediterranean. Further work is needed to establish the taxonomic status of this potentially distinct Macaronesian taxon. More broadly, further genetic research is required to design and implement an effective conservation plan for this species.

View original

World Migratory Bird Day celebrated in Uganda


This video is about birds in Uganda.

From BirdLife:

World Migratory Bird day celebrations in Kasese District, Uganda

By Obaka Torto, Tuesday, 10/06/2014 – 15:15

On 10th May 2014 a group of conservation organizations gathered at the Katwe Eco-tourism centre (KATIC) ground in Katwe-Kabatooro town council, Kasese District Uganda to mark the World Migratory Bird Day (WMBD). The event was attended by members of local conservation groups, namely, Mabamba Wetland Eco-tourism Association and Lutembe Wetland Users Association as well as government agencies such as the Ministry of Tourism, Wildlife and Antiquities and Uganda Wildlife Authority. Non Governmental Organsations were represented by Nature Uganda and the Uganda Wildlife Society. These groups came together to highlight the contribution of birds and avi-tourism (tourism from birds) to the economic development of Kabatooro town council, Uganda.

The event kicked off with a nature walk to Lake Munyanyange where 78 bird migratory bird species were recorded including the Lesser Flamingo Phoeniconaias minorRuff Philomachus pugnax, Little Stint Calidris minuta, Curlew Sandpiper Calidris ferruginea and Lesser Black-backed Gull Larus fuscus. This was followed by an exercise dubbed “Keep Katwe Clean”. It involved cleaning Katwe-Kabatoro town and the area around Katwe Salt Lake. The exercise was aimed at raising awareness on solid waste management as a means of maintaining the integrity of sites used by migratory birds. Sanitary equipment was distributed to two Katwe community groups and five schools in Katwe-Kabatooro town council. The event was spiced up with songs and poems from Kanyiginya Drama Actors – a local performance group that treats visitors to vibrant music and drama performances at KATIC.

The event was co-organized by Nature Uganda (BirdLife Partner in Uganda), Ministry of Tourism, Wildlife and Antiquities, Uganda Wildlife Authority, Uganda Wildlife Society and  KATIC. World Migratory Bird Day was initiated in 2006 and is an annual awareness-raising campaign highlighting the need for the protection of migratory birds and their habitats. This year’s theme was ‘Destination Flyways: Migratory Birds and Tourism’. For more information see www.worldmigratorybirdday.org

Story by Dianah Nalwanga/Nature Uganda and Olivia Adhiambo/BirdLife International.

World Migratory Bird Day 2014: Lake Natron, Tanzania – a Global Tourism Spot: here.

New scientific evidence confirms that legal protection of bird species do work. A recent study focusing in Eastern Europe shows that the rate of decline of protected species was approximately halved after the onset of protection. The study[1], published in the leading journal Biological Conservation, was led by scientists from the Czech Republic and the German Biodiversity and Climate Research Centre and involved experts from across Europe, including BirdLife: here.

Anti-Semitism and Islamophobia in Europe


French nazis' Islamophobic and anti-Arab graffitti at cemetery

By Sara R Farris in England:

On anti-Semitism and Islamophobia in Europe

Is Europe’s Islamophobia following the path of 19th century anti-Semitism?

5 June 2014 13:22

In 1844, Karl Marx published a short but dense text entitled “On the Jewish Question”. It was a critical review of two essays by the-then famous philosopher Bruno Bauer, who had argued against equal rights for Jews if granted on religious grounds. If Jews wanted to be considered full citizens – Bauer maintained echoing the widespread opinion of the time – Jews would have to abandon their religion and embrace Enlightenment. According to this logic, there was no room for religious demands in a secular society.

As Bauer’s position suggests, anti-Jewish racism in Germany and elsewhere in Europe in the first half of the 19th century, was justified mainly on cultural and religious grounds. Jews were discriminated and regarded with suspicion because they were considered an alien “nation within the nation”. In fact, it was not until the second half of the 19th century and the rise of “social Darwinism” that “racial anti-Semitism“, framed in biological terms, appeared on the political scene and Jews were openly discriminated against on the basis of their alleged genetic inferiority.

The question we might want to ask ourselves today is whether contemporary Europe is confronting a Muslim question similar to the Jewish question 170 years ago. Is European antipathy towards Muslims comparable to that first stage of hatred towards Jews, a hatred that culminated in one of the darkest pages of human history?

In spite of the obvious differences between the two contexts, the success of the far right during the recent elections in several European countries seems to suggest that the answer is a resounding yes. The victory of these parties attests to the incredible gains made by Islamophobic propaganda in the last ten years. In France, the president of the National Front, Marine Le Pen – who obtained one quarter of all votes – has asked school canteens to stop offering Muslim children alternatives to pork. In Britain, the UK Independence Party campaigned against the construction of mosques and became the biggest winner in the elections, with an astonishing 27.5 percent of the vote.

Many of these parties, as well as those who voted for them, do not consider themselves racists. After all, the problem with Muslims – according to the likes of Le Pen – is their alleged backwardness, fanaticism and unwillingness to integrate.

In short, it is the Muslims’ fault. Just like the Jewish question of the 19th century, the contemporary Muslim question is premised upon cultural differences and thus presented as legitimate and politically correct.

Though immigrants in general are singled out as a social and economic threat to European societies and workers, it is Muslims in particular who have come to epitomise the “bad other”. This has been achieved not only through the xenophobic propaganda of the far right. Actually, conservatives and even liberal and left-wing parties have contributed to the fanfare.

On the one hand, conservative leaders such as current UK Prime Minister David Cameron, France’s former President Nicolas Sarkozy and Italy’s former Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi have repeatedly invoked the Christian roots of European countries, while, on the other, a much broader gamut of political forces, including liberals and leftists, have participated in decrying the headscarf as a symbol of backwardness and oppression. The voices nourishing anti-Muslim sentiment across Europe come from all sides of the political map.

Muslims have thus become, at least in many ways, the new Jews. They have become the scapegoats onto whom Europeans are projecting their anxieties about the future. Conservative and far-right politicians constantly intensify and exploit these anxieties in order to enhance neoliberal and nationalist agendas, while most liberal and left-wing parties have imitated the racist right, perhaps hoping it will bring them more votes.

Marx understood this process all too well. He criticised Bauer for claiming that the lack of political emancipation for the Jews was the result of their culture and religion. Marx maintained that religion had nothing to do with the continued discrimination of the Jews. The prejudice against the Jews and their lack of rights, Marx argued, is to be understood in the broader context of the state’s structural inequalities.

The transmutation of the Muslims into the Jews of the 19th century does not mean that a new genocide is imminent, or that the tragedy of the Jewish people in 20th century Europe will be replicated as the tragedy of the Muslim people in the 21st. History does not repeat itself in this way. But history can rhyme. It will only be the redoubled work of anti-racist militants and organisations that can potentially prevent that rhyme.Dr Sara R Farris is an Assistant Professor in Sociology in the Sociology Department at Goldsmiths, University of London.

Metz cemetery swastika

This photo shows vandalism at a cemetery in Metz in France: a swastika and the letters PNFE, which stands for Parti nationaliste français et européen, the nazi French and European Nationalist Party.

UK schools witchhunted by government to foster anti-Muslim sentiment: here.