American yellow warbler migration, new discovery


This video is about a yellow warbler nest in North America.

From the Cornell Lab of Ornithology in the USA:

Yellow Warbler Beats the Odds, Reveals 2,300-Mile Journey

Student researchers from the Cornell Lab were dumbfounded and then ecstatic this summer when they captured a Yellow Warbler that had been banded just two months earlier in Colombia. It was the first of its species to be banded in South America and recovered in North America. Read this story about long odds and new insights, thanks to a pretty yellow bird that made the journey to tell the tale.

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World’s biggest archive of animal sounds


This video from the USA says about itself:

Decades of bird signals, songs digitized for scientific research – Science Nation

21 August 2017

Tease: Cornell Lab of Ornithology leads 21st century makeover for animal behavior studies

Description: The world’s largest scientific archive of animal signal recordings, the Macaulay Library of Natural Sounds, is partnering with other institutions to co-curate and digitize an enormous archive of animal audio and video recordings from the library’s vaults.

The analog material in the library’s collection at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology includes recordings of mainly birds, but also frogs, fish and insects, going back a few decades. The collections are a bonanza for animal behaviorists, who use the archives to study birds and other animals from all over the world, including some that are now extinct, such as the imperial woodpecker.

Accessible digital audio recordings of animal signals will make it easier for researchers to investigate a host of scientific questions, including what can scientists learn about the responses of animals to anthropogenic noise and other human activities.

By providing a useful co-curation system and encouraging collection of recordings along with physical specimens, this project is expected to transform the way researchers collect and use biological specimens in the future.

The research in this episode is supported by NSF award #1304425, Collaborative Research: Digitization – Thematic Collections Networks: Developing a Centralized Digital Archive of Vouchered Animal Communication Signals.

Vatican diplomat in child porn scandal


This 15 September 2017 CBS TV video from the USA is called Vatican Recalls Priest From D.C. Embassy, Launches Child Porn Investigation.

From daily The Morning Star in Britain:

US: Papal envoy called back after child porn claims

Saturday 16th September 2017

A VATICAN priest working in the Holy See’s embassy in Washington has been recalled after US officials warned he could be breaching child pornography laws.

The Catholic Church declined to identify the diplomat [Carlo Capella], but said he was currently in Vatican City and that its prosecutors have launched their own probe.

The US State Department says the Vatican had denied a request to waive the priest’s diplomatic immunity so the crime could be investigated.

In declining to identify the priest, the Vatican said the case was subject to confidentiality while still under investigation. It said it was the normal practice of sovereign states to recall diplomats in such cases.

But it is likely to be accused of reneging on a commitment given by Pope Francis just last month that the Church would apply the “most strenuous measures” to root out priests guilty of the “monstrosity” of child abuse and that “bishops and cardinals who protected these priests — as happened repeatedly” would also be punished.

Canada: Catholic priest [Vatican diplomat Carlo Capella] wanted for alleged child porn offences committed in Windsor church. Alleged offence happened in a place of worship during Christmas holidays: here.

Vultures in Zambia news


This video is about vultures and hyenas at a buffalo kill in Zambia in 2014.

From BirdLife:

12 Sep 2017

BirdWatch Zambia collects data about vulture movements

By Chaona Phiri

In July 2016, BirdWatch Zambia (BirdLife Partner in Zambia) embarked on a project to establish safe feeding and roosting areas for vultures – known as Vulture Safe Zones. This was accomplished through partnership and dialogue with farm owners to influence farm management practices, to protect and allow vultures to thrive in these farmland areas.

With funding from BirdLife International, BirdWatch Zambia (BWZ) was able to conduct population surveys covering 73000 hectares and 475km of transects within and around Chisamba, an Important Bird and Biodiversity Area (IBA). The surveys that were first conducted in December 2016 and repeated in June 2017, recorded well over 1300 vultures, specifically 3 species; the White-backed Vulture, Hooded Vulture and Lappet-faced Vulture.

To date, approximately 35000 hectares of private farmland is a safe feeding area for vultures through influencing farm management practices in and around Chisamba IBA. Furthermore, additional funding has been secured from the Isdell Family Foundation targeting 20000 hectares between Chisamba and Kafue Flats IBAs (Blue Lagoon and Lochinvar national parks) so that a safe feeding corridor is created from the protected area where these birds are most likely breeding.

From 10–16 August 2017, BWZ conducted ground nest surveys on the Kafue Flats IBA, a wetland surrounded by seasonally flooded savanna woodlands and flat-topped Acacia species. An average nest density of 7nests/km² in a survey of 9000km² was recorded. Results showed that the nesting habitat was not continuous but fragmented with the largest fragment covering about 2500km². At least 50 active vulture nests (49 White-backed vulture and 1 Lappet-faced vulture) were found. The Kafue flats which is about 85km away from the Chisamba vulture safe zone appears to be a key site for breeding vultures. BWZ hopes to secure funding for aerial surveys in the future to compliment the information gathered from ground surveys.

In addition to conducting ground surveys, Global System for Mobile communication (GSM) and satellite tracking units were put on one Hooded Vulture and 2 White-backed Vultures in Chisamba. Wing tags were also put on these birds to track their movement.

British clerical, other child abuse


This video from Britain says about itself:

‘They would whack you with a crucifix‘ – BBC Stories

15 September 2017

Theresa Tolmie-McGrane says she was abused from the age of six at a Catholic-run orphanage in Lanark in the 1960s and 1970s.

She describes more than a decade of physical, sexual and mental abuse at Smyllum Park Orphanage. A BBC investigation has uncovered new evidence that more than 400 children who died at Smyllum are now thought to be buried in a mass grave in a nearby cemetery.

Produced by Judy Fladmark, filmed by Emily France and edited by Joshua Hollis.

From daily The Morning Star in Britain:

Woman reveals decade of horror at hands of nuns

Saturday 16th September 2017

A WOMAN who allegedly suffered a decade of brutal abuse at an orphanage run by nuns has described her ordeal.

Theresa Tolmie-McGrane told the BBC of her mistreatment in the 1970s at Smyllum Park Orphanage in Lanark, which is being examined by the Scottish Child Abuse Inquiry.

A priest started to sexually abuse her when she was eight, two years after she arrived there.

Ms Tolmie-McGrane, who now works as a psychologist in Norway, said: “Every child was beaten, punished, locked in a dark room, made to eat their own vomit, and I would say that most of us had our mouths rinsed out with carbolic soap.”

On one occasion, she said, a nun walked in to find the priest abusing her.

The woman said: “She got really angry at me. She yanked me by the left arm so hard and flung me across the room and called me a whore and told me to get out of there.

“I think in some ways it was worse than just sexual abuse because I was punished with the broken arm for doing something a priest had forced me to do.”

A spokesman for the Daughters of Charity of St Vincent de Paul, the Catholic society that ran the orphanage, said: “We would urge anyone who believes they have been a victim to contact the police, who will then work with our safeguarding team.

“We would like to offer sincere and heartfelt apology to anyone who suffered any form of abuse while at our facilities.”

The bodies of at least 400 orphans were buried in a mass grave at the town’s St Mary’s Cemetery, a BBC and Sunday Post investigation has found. …

More than 10,000 children passed through the orphanage between its opening in 1864 and closure in 1981.

This video from England says about itself:

Catholic priests’ victim: ‘The abuse was so common it became normal’

3 February 2016

Leslie Turner, a retired primary head teacher, was paid £17,000 in compensation by the Irish Christian Brothers, after claiming two priests from the Catholic Order sexually abused him at school in Sunderland in the 1960s.

The church has not accepted liability for the alleged abuse. Turner, now 66, has waived his anonymity in a film for the Guardian to allege he was molested from the age of 12 by two Irish Christian Brother teachers at St Aidan’s Roman Catholic Grammar School in Sunderland between 1961 and 1967. Both priests are long dead, but he sued after being diagnosed with delayed onset post-traumatic stress disorder as a result of what he said he suffered.

From daily The Morning Star in Britain:

Abused kids denied cash for ‘consenting’

Saturday 16th September 2017

Children as young as 12 may still go without compensation

SEXUALLY abused children as young as 12 could still be denied compensation on the grounds they had “consented” under revised official guidelines revealed yesterday that were condemned by a Labour MP as “despicable.”

The Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority (CICA) launched a review into its guidelines earlier this year amid concerns that victims of child grooming gangs were being refused payments, even when perpetrators had been imprisoned.

Although it is illegal to have sex with anyone under 16, CICA does not give payments to all victims.

Justice Secretary David Lidington told MPs last week that CICA’s internal guidelines would be changed so that victims of child grooming gangs could no longer be disqualified.

But the revised guidelines state that children can still be denied compensation on the basis that “consent ‘in fact’ is different from consent ‘in law’.”

The draft is reported to state: “The scheme recognises that there may be situations where a person aged under 16 has ‘in fact’ consented to sexual activity.

“Where the sexual activity is truly of the applicant’s free will no crime of violence will have occurred.”

It goes on to say that some children under the age of 12 could be deemed to have given consent.

“Where the child was 12 or under when the incident happened, we will presume that the child did not consent in fact unless the evidence to the contrary is very clear,” it states.

Rotherham MP Sarah Champion said the revised version was “despicable” and urged Mr Lidington to intervene.

“It’s basically saying that the state doesn’t believe you, that you’re likely to be a liar on this and that is entirely the wrong message to send out,” she blasted.

It was reported last week that Sammy Woodhouse, a victim of the Rotherham grooming gang scandal, had initially been denied compensation by the government body because it claimed she had consented.

Ms Woodhouse, whose evidence in court helped convict her attacker, described the revised guidelines as “absolutely disgusting.”

In response to the backlash, CICA said it was engaging with victim support groups and charities to ensure the revised guidance was “as robust as it possibly can be.”

“We want to be sure that we never get these decisions wrong. That’s why we are reviewing our staff guidance to make sure that we identify every instance where grooming could be a factor,” a spokesman said.

Roseate terns video


This roseate terns video says about itself:

13 June 2017

Video courtesy of Benjamin M. Clock/Macaulay Library at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology.