European Red List of Birds published


This video is called Bird Calls | Songs | Cries | Sounds of Britain & Europe.

From BirdLife:

The European Red List of Birds is here

By Lisa Benedetti, Wed, 03/06/2015 – 09:19

We have a few theories why the famous Dodo went extinct by 1700 on the island of Mauritius. Predation, habitat loss and invasive species were just too much for this friendly flightless creature.

The truth is, unless we act now, many other species of bird could follow the Dodo’s sad journey to the museum shelf. But we can help stop this from happening with the knowledge of how specific bird populations are doing and what threats they face. For birds in Europe, BirdLife International has just given us a tool that does all this, the European Red List of Birds.

Out of some 10,000 known bird species in the world, about 530 species nest, winter, and call Europe their home. Some have been able to adapt, or even benefit, from human activities (either directly or indirectly) but many others are really struggling to survive in this ever-changing world. The European Red List of Birds uses IUCN criteria to measure a species extinction risk and applies it at regional level, fine-tuning a global standard and digging deeper into the needs of individual European species.

What we present today is the fruit of years of labour from scientists, conservationists, policy makers, and people who simply care about birds. It’s the tool we can go to first to be sure that the birds we have in Europe today are here tomorrow as well. This list gives us the latest and best available information on the size and trends of populations and distributions of every regularly occurring wild bird species in Europe. It identifies the conservation status of species occurring not only across the entire European continent, but also the European Union (at the time of the assessment, 27 Member States [EU27]) where key nature legislation applies, the Birds and Habitats Directives. These are the laws that have been protecting European nature and wildlife the last decades.

So what does the European Red List of Birds say?

It tells us that 13% of 533 species are threatened at a European level (of the 67 species, 10 are Critically Endangered (the highest threat level) including the Balearic Shearwater, Slender-billed Curlew, and Yellow-breasted Bunting; 18 are Endangered and 39 are Vulnerable). When looking at the EU27 level, 18% of 451 species are threatened (of the 82 species: 11 are Critically Endangered, including the Lesser White-fronted Goose and the Greater Spotted Eagle, 16 are Endangered and 55 are Vulnerable). We also discovered what the main culprits are for this situation, and that two stand out above the rest: illegal killing and land-use changes, especially on farmland. Other serious threats are climate change, pollution and invasive non-native species.

On the upside, since we last did a regional assessment in 2004, the status of some species has really improved. Charismatic birds like the Dalmatian Pelican, Lesser Kestrel, Arctic Loon and Great Bustard have made a comeback largely because of conservation efforts and legal protection. We even have news that the extinction risk for another 25 species is lower than a decade ago so we’ve been able to downlist these species, meaning their conservation status has improved. Zino’s Petrel and Azores Bullfinch may still be in trouble, but it’s a good sign that they have gone from Critically Endangered to Endangered.

On the down side, we’ve had to uplist 29 species since 2004. Species now in trouble include the once common European Turtle-dove, Eurasian Oystercatcher, Atlantic Puffin, and Willow Grouse. And sadly, some species like the Egyptian Vulture, Northern Lapwing and Little Bustard, have not improved at all. This situation clearly highlights the need for the strong legislation and strict protection that the Birds and Habitats Directives offers to give these birds a fighting chance.

Europeans have proven time and time again they can tackle some of the most urgent, challenging and complex conservation priorities they face. Now, with the European Red List of Birds in hand, we are ready to focus and deliver effective conservation action. But we still need your help. The European Commission is planning to dismantle the Bird and Habitats Directives, the very laws that protect our birds and nature in Europe. It would be an environmental catastrophe to lose such a vital conservation tool, so please sign our petition and tell the Commission to keep our nature laws intact.

The European Red List of Birds project was coordinated by BirdLife, with help from IUCN, Wetlands International, European Bird Census Council, Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB; BirdLife partner), the Czech Society for Ornithology (BirdLife Partner), the British Trust for Ornithology and Sovon Vogelonderzoek Nederland.

One of Eurasia’s most abundant bird species has declined by 90% and retracted its range by 5000 km since 1980 a new study shows. Yellow-breasted Bunting Emberiza aureola was once distributed over vast areas of Europe and Asia, its range stretching from Finland to Japan. New research published in the journal Conservation Biology suggest that unsustainable rates of hunting, principally in China, have contributed to not only a catastrophic loss of numbers but also in the areas in which it can now be found: here.

European birdwatching game


This video says about itself:

A birdwatching game: do you recognize all birds?

2 June 2015

Attention European birdwatchers: how expierenced are you? In this video 88 birds are shown. How many do you recognize? Are you brave enough to play this birdwatching game, alone or even better: with your birdwatching friends?

From the site visdief.nl in the Netherlands about this:

A birdwatching game: do you recognize all birds?

Are you brave enough to play this birdwatching game, alone or even better: with your birdwatching friends?

Watch the video [above]. The coming ten minutes you will see 88 birds! Do you know their names? Fill out this free empty form. In case you need more time, simply stop the video. After watching the whole video, continue reading under the video. You can also play this game in Dutch.

Your score

Once you have finished the game, you download the free form with all the answers. Your maximum score is 850 points. Check your answers and calculate your score.

0-50
O dear! I am crying. Do not think you are a bird watcher, you rookie! Suggestion: buy a bird guide and read at least one page a day.

50-250
Well well, you have recognized several rare birds! Do not be satisfied and try to improve yourself. Try to find an experienced birdwatcher as a friend and ask him anything!

250-500
I would like to watch birds with you. You seem to be a serious type. But you should perform better!

500-750
Congratulations! I wish everybody had the knowledge you have. Maybe you are able to educate other people? Make them excited about birdwatching.

750-845
You really are a topnotch! Nearly a perfect game.

850
Perfect! You are the best. Career advice: become a professional birdwatcher in a way that suits you.

Herons, videos and new book


This April 2015 video is about Dutch artist Erik van Ommen making purple heron pictures; for his new book Mijn Reigerparadijs (My Heron Paradise). It is about all European heron and egret species.

This is another video for that book; about the great egret.

This video for Van Ommen’s book is about little egrets, and their roost on Schiermonnikoog island.

This video is about drawing little egrets.

This is another video for that book; about squacco herons.

This is another video for that book; about grey herons in a Japanese style garden.

This video is about depicting a grey heron.

This is another grey heron video.

And yet another grey heron video.

This is another video for that book; about a little bittern. Recorded in Lesbos in Greece.

This is another video for that book; about the bittern.

This is a video about a boat-billed heron.

This video is about drawing western reef herons in Mauritania.

This video is about drawing a juvenile black-crowned night heron.

This video is about drawing an adult black-crowned night heron.

Mijn Reigerparadijs, cover

About Erik van Ommen’s boek (translated):

My Heron Paradise

NEW! Published May 16, 2015.

112 pages, full color and bound in hardcover. 23 x 21 cm
ISBN: 978 9050 11 5308. KNNV Publishers 2015

The book contains numerous drawings, etchings, oil paintings, watercolors and linocuts by Erik van Ommen. It covers all European heron species. The book concludes with a chapter on drawing birds in pencil, ink and watercolour.

Defend wildlife against attacks, video


This video says about itself:

Nature is under attack – #itsmynature

11 May 2015

Europe’s land, forest, water and marine resources are at risk.

Vital laws that protect our most precious nature could be weakened if we don’t raise our voice.

Tell your politicians that you want nature to be defended here.

#NatureAlert #itsmynature

From BirdLife:

BirdLife launches #itsmynature campaign

By BirdLife Europe, Mon, 11/05/2015 – 20:06

Today we launch our campaign “It’s my nature” (#itsmynature). We have chosen this motto for a million reasons.

Here are just three:

1) From the beginning of the modern economy we have called our natural resources “Common goods”. They belong to all of us, each and every one of us. Air, water, biodiversity, life. Nature is the ultimate “common good”, and there must be a limit to what can be owned, consumed, sold, or destroyed. Because this air is my air, this water is my water, my bird, my tree, and my river. It’s my nature, and you can’t take it away from me.

2) Because “I am” the landscape where I grew up, the field where my father taught me football, the tree that shaded my first kiss, the colours and perfumes of flowers that announced Spring, the Seagulls on my roof that remind me that I am a sailor and should be out at sea. I am these things, they are me, we are connected. It’s my nature.

And 3) Because human beings are not only about slash and burn. Not only about destruction. We care, we protect, we shelter and love. It’s our nature, it’s my nature (to protect Nature). And it’s your nature, too.

Now, please, go and make your voice heard.

If you are a conservation expert, fill in the expert questionnaire instead.

It’s a tale of two miracles. The first: over 100 NGOs, in 28 European capitals, are launching a campaign today to stop Juncker’s attack against the laws that protect Nature. The second? By re-reading the Directives we’ve rediscovered an idea of Europe we can love: one of a community that protects its nature: here.

Red herrings, Trojan horses and booby traps: debunking 5 myths and lies on the “need to overhaul” nature protection laws: here

Hungary’s nature is in peril: here.

The challenge of bringing marine wildlife back in EU waters: here.

African Governments meeting in Brazzaville, Congo, last week agreed to a set of steps to address illegal trade in wild fauna and flora. At the International Conference on Illegal Trade in Wild Fauna and Flora in Africa on 27-30th April 2015, leaders issued a strongly worded Brazzaville Declaration, agreeing to collaborate to stem the rising scourge that is estimated to cost African countries about US$200 million annually: here.

Help migratory birds in your garden


This video says about itself:

Birds at Birdlife Malta‘s Reserves

4 April 2009

This video shows that birds can be enjoyed in the wild state in the Maltese Islands. Creating habitat, like Birdlife Malta did at the reserves at Simar and Ghadira helps birds to find refuge during their migration and breeding seasons.

From BirdLife:

Make Spring come Alive in your garden or balcony this year!

By Shaun Hurrell, Mon, 20/04/2015 – 16:01

The arrival of migratory birds signals a change in seasons, when life is in full swing. Use this cue to get out and enjoy nature, and at the same time give something back. Follow our advice and make simple changes to make your garden, balcony, or school bird-friendly with Spring Alive this year.

Spring Alive is a movement started by a BirdLife, organised by OTOP (BirdLife in Poland) to encourage children and adults to take action for the migratory birds they learn about. This season, Spring Alive has provided easy-to-use information and directions to help you to help birds. Whatever time you have and whatever size space, you can take action for birds in your garden. Whatever country you live in, you can also get in touch with your local BirdLife Partner for local advice for benefitting birds in your garden and get involved with local Spring Alive events.

Pretend your garden or balcony is your own nature reserve, and you are the warden. If everyone in Africa and Europe makes their garden bird-friendly, imagine how much better birds and biodiversity will do! You might be lucky enough to get a visit from Spring Alive migratory bird species and be able to help them rest and refuel, but you will be sure to be rewarded by local wildlife thriving in your garden too.

Cuckoos are not garden birds, so how can I help them?

Make your garden friendly for species such as Dunnock and Robin, who are host species for cuckoos. Also, grow honeysuckle, nettles and sallow which are all good for caterpillars including some hairy ones, which Cuckoos love! Cuckoos are therefore a great example of how our gardens are part of the wider ecosystem – what we do between our fences may affect species that don’t even use that space.

Visit the Spring Alive website for more advice and get in touch with your local Spring Alive / BirdLife Partner.

And once you have done it – share it – show and tell us about your achievements on the Spring Alive facebook and flickr pages!

If you build it, they will come!

European wild bee species threatened


This video says about itself:

Olivia’s Wild Bees

21 August 2007

A young American biologist studies wild bees on the island of Lesvos, Greece. She explains her work and the bees’ role in nature.

From Wildlife Extra:

One in 10 bee species faces extinction

The first-ever assessment of all European wild bee species shows that 9.2% are threatened with extinction, while 5.2% are considered likely to be threatened in the near future.

A total of 56.7% of the species are classified as Data Deficient, as lack of experts, data and funding has made it impossible to evaluate their extinction risk.

The assessment was published as part of The IUCN European Red List of Bees and the Status and Trends of European Pollinators (STEP) project, both funded by the European Commission.

It provides – for the first time – information on all 1,965 wild bee species in Europe, including their status, distribution, population trends and threats.

“This assessment is the best understanding we have had so far on wild bees in Europe,” says Jean-Christophe Vié, Deputy Director, IUCN Global Species Programme. “However, our knowledge about them is incomplete as we are faced with an alarming lack of expertise and resources.

“Bees play an essential role in the pollination of our crops. We must urgently invest in further research in order to provide the best possible recommendations on how to reverse their decline.”

The report shows that 7.7% of the species have declining populations, 12.6% are stable and 0.7% are increasing. Population trends for the remaining 79% of bee species are unknown.

Changing agricultural practices and increased farming intensification have led to large-scale losses and degradation of bee habitats – one of the main threats to their survival.

For instance, intensive silage production – at the expense of hay-cropping – causes losses of herb-rich grasslands and season-long flowering, which constitute important sources of forage for pollinators.

The widespread use of insecticides also harms wild bees and herbicides reduce the availability of flowers on which they depend. The use of fertilisers promotes rank grassland, which is low in flowering plants and legume species – the preferred food resources for many bee species.

Intensive agriculture and farming practices have caused a sharp decline in the surface area of dry steppes, which house the Vulnerable Andrena transitoria bee – a formerly common eastern Mediterranean species that spreads from Sicily to Ukraine and into Central Asia.

Ploughing, mowing or grazing of flowering plants, as well as the use of insecticides have led to a 30% population decline of the species over the last decade, and its extinction in certain countries.

Climate change is another important driver of extinction risk for most species of bees, and particularly bumblebees.

Heavy rainfalls, droughts, heat waves and increased temperatures can alter the habitats that individual species are adapted to and are expected to dramatically reduce the area of its habitat, leading to population decline.

A total of 25.8% of Europe’s bumblebee species are threatened with extinction, according to the assessment.

Urban development and the increased frequency of fires also threaten the survival of wild bee species in Europe, according to the experts.

The report also includes an assessment of the Western Honeybee (Apis mellifera) – the most well-known pollinator. The Western Honeybee has a native distribution through much of Europe but it is uncertain whether it currently occurs as a truly wild, rather than domesticated species.

As the Red List only covers wild – not domesticated – species, it has been assessed as Data Deficient. Further research is needed to distinguish between wild and non-wild colonies, and to better understand the impacts of malnutrition, pesticides and pathogens on honeybee colonies, according to IUCN.

“Public and scientific attention tends to focus on Western Honeybee as the key pollinator, but we must not forget that most of our wild flowers and crops are pollinated by a whole range of different bee species,” says Simon Potts, STEP project Coordinator.

“We need far-reaching actions to help boost both wild and domesticated pollinator populations. Achieving this will bring huge benefits to wildlife, the countryside and food production.”

Wild bees found to be just as important as honeybees for pollinating food crops: here.