Finnish punk rockers with disabilities to Eurovision Song Contest


This video from England says about itself:

21 December 2014

Finnish punks Pertti Kurikan Nimipäivät (PKN) at the Lexington, London.

After Finnish hard rock band Lordi, who participated in the Eurovision Song Contest in 2006, and won (dressed like dinosaurs) …

From the BBC:

1 March 2015

Finland punk band PKN set for Eurovision

A punk band made up of men with learning disabilities is to represent Finland at the Eurovision Song Contest.

The quartet, named PKN, was chosen by Finnish viewers on Saturday and has now been ranked by bookmakers as among the favourites for the contest.

The group, whose members have Down’s syndrome and autism, will perform their 85-second song Aina Mun Pitaa (I Always Have To) at the event in Vienna in May.

“Every person with a disability ought to be braver,” singer Kari Aalto said.

“He or she should themselves say what they want and do not want,” he told Finnish broadcaster YLE.

The group – full name Pertti Kurikan Nimipaivat (Pertti Kurikka’s Nameday) – will also become the first punk band to compete at Eurovision.

They first got together during a charity workshop and appeared in an award-winning 2012 documentary called The Punk Syndrome.

This Finnish video says about itself:

The Punk Syndrome – Kovasikajuttu

12 February 2015

A Finnish punk-rock band formed by four mentally disabled guys.

The BBC article continues:

The song deals with the frustration of the rules of daily life, like having to eat healthily and doing chores like cleaning and washing up.

‘Changing attitudes’

“We are rebelling against society in different ways, but we are not political,” bassist Sami Helle told The Guardian.

“We are changing attitudes somewhat, a lot of people are coming to our gigs and we have a lot of fans.

“We don’t want people to vote for us to feel sorry for us, we are not that different from everybody else – just normal guys with a mental handicap.”

They are 5/1 to win the contest, according to Betfred, making them third favourites behind Italy and Estonia.

Heavy metal band Lordi gave Finland its only Eurovision win to date with Hard Rock Hallelujah in 2006.

The UK’s Eurovision entrant will be named on Saturday.

Finnish owls’ lives, new book


This video says about itself:

TENGMALM´S OWL, Finland

TENGMALM´S OWL, Aegolius funereus, Helmipöllö, Ylämaa Leino, 28.5.2009

From British Birds:

Moult, ageing and sexing of Finnish owls

Published on 05 January 2015 in Book reviews

By Heimo Mikkola and Jouni Lamminmäki

The Ornithological Society of Suomenselkä, Saarijärvi, 2014; pbk, 96pp; photographs and line-drawings

ISBN 978-951-98263-1-8 Subbuteo code M24340 £17.50

Until now, accurate data on the moult of European owls has been somewhat fragmented. This handbook brings together all current knowledge available on the moult, age and sex determination of the 13 species of European owl. The book begins with a useful glossary of terms and abbreviations used in the tables and throughout the text. It is followed by a general overview of moult and its use in ageing and sexing, and aspects such as the process and sequences of moult, how moult varies between species due to influences such as habitat, reversed sexual dimorphism (RSD), breeding cycle, migratory or sedentary behaviour, and the various investigative methods used in determining age and sex. The remainder of the book consists of detailed species chapters comprising three sections: moult (with detailed information on the moult strategy); ageing (analysis of feather shape, colour and pattern during each moult cycle); and sexing (analysis of weights and measurements with corresponding tables).

I found this book to be highly detailed, informative and easy to use in locating specific data quickly. It is published in both Finnish and English, but the English translation is shorter and may not reflect all the details given in the original Finnish text; although I did not get the impression that I was ‘missing’ something, there is surely scope for a future ‘English’ edition. My only criticism would be in the layout of the dual language keys for the tables, as they are not easily readable at a glance. This is an ambitious work and, while not perhaps definitive (the authors admit that further research needs to be carried out on some species), it will surely prove to be an extremely valuable resource.

Alan Sieradzki

Rare butterflies wintering in the Netherlands


This is a scarce tortoiseshell video from Finland.

In July 2014, there was an invasion in the Netherlands of scarce tortoiseshell butterflies; a species, new for the Netherlands.

Soon, people did not see these rare, usually east European, butterflies any more. Did they fly on to England, or to Belgium? A few scarce tortoiseshells were seen there indeed; but how about all the others?

On 2 August 2014, warden Luc Knijnsberg was in Dutch nature reserve Bergen Zuid. Then, a thunderstorm started. Luc entered an old World War II bunker, now used by bats for wintering. In that bunker, he found thirteen wintering peacock butterflies (yes, August is a summer month, but for some butterflies, winter then starts already). Luc found not only peacocks, a common species, but to his surprise also two scarce tortoiseshells. So, this solved the riddle why so many of them arrived in the Netherlands; and so few in Belgium or England.

So, people counting wintering bats should look out for scarce tortoiseshells as well.

Saving birds in Europe


This video from Lithuania is called Globally threatened Aquatic Warbler (Acrocephalus paludicola) in Nemunas Delta in 2012. It says about itself:

4 June 2013

Aquatic Warbler (Acrocephalus paludicola) is the only globally threatened passerine bird found in mainland Europe.

Lithuania is among eight countries worldwide with suitable breeding habitats for this rare species. From 2011 it is breeding only in Belarus, Ukraine, Poland and Lithuania. In 2012 63-64 singing males were found in Lithuania.

Aquatic Warbler is a habitat specialist occurring mainly in open sedge fen mires and marshy habitats. Today it is facing extinction due to an increasingly abandoned farmland or transformation of meadows into a grazing land. Therefore its conservation is closely linked to sustainable farming practices.

Video recording made with special permission from Lithuanian Environment Protection Agency.

For more info about Aquatic Warbler conservation in Lithuania and Latvia visit www.meldine.lt/en.

From BirdLife:

BirdLife Partners are LIFE masters!

By Elodie Cantaloube, Mon, 28/04/2014 – 15:34

Each year, the European Commission evaluates all completed projects funded through the LIFE programme and this year, 4 out of the 11 Best LIFE Nature projects receiving the award have been implemented by BirdLife partners. Tomorrow, an award ceremony will be held in Brussels where the leading BirdLife Partners, OTOP (Poland), the RSPB (UK), BirdLife Finland, HOS (Greece) and SPEA (Portugal) will receive an award.

Iván Ramírez, Head of Conservation at BirdLife Europe stresses “It is an extremely important recognition for our partnership, 2013 was a difficult year for conservation, but even more for our BirdLife Partners that fought the financial crisis without weakening their conservation objectives. These four awards are just another example of their incredible work.”

OTOP (BirdLife in Poland) and the RSPB (BirdLife in the UK) joined forces in the “Aquatic Warbler” project aiming to improve the conservation status of the Aquatic Warbler, at the edge of global extinction.

Europe hosts 99% of the global population of the Vulnerable Aquatic Warbler and Poland is a critical habitat for their survival, being its second-largest population stronghold. During the past century, this species experienced a steep decline due to the drainage of its territories for agriculture. The Aquatic Warbler LIFE project, spanning from 2005 to 2011, sought to stabilise populations at key sites (totally 4,200 ha) in Poland and Germany through the enlargement of suitable habitats and improvements to their condition. The project resulted in increasing populations of the bird species and the re-occupation of restored habitats. New management and enforcement plans are now in place and the future of the species is secured thanks to the project “Facilitating Aquatic Warbler habitat management through sustainable systems of biomass use.”

Kokemäenjoki – From Ancient to the Present Estuary, Kokemäenjoki Wetland Chain”, a BirdLife Finland project aiming to restore natural sites on the River Kokemäenjoki.

The purpose of the Kokemäenjoki project, started in 2006 by BirdLife Finland, was to restore five valuable natural sites on the River Kokemäenjoki, including eight Natura 2000 areas. Mowing and excavation were used to prevent overgrowth and preserve the wetlands that were at risk of becoming marshy and overgrown, causing the loss of valuable species. The area was also managed by cultivating and furrowing the reed roots, imitating the effects of being trampled by cattle, which has proven to be very effective at other similar sites. Birdwatching towers and information boards were put up and a number of nature trails were laid to increase awareness of the incredible natural value of the area. Finally, management and land use plans were developed to ensure future sustainable use of the site for both conservation and recreational activities.

BirdLife Greek and Portuguese Partners complete the project “Concrete Conservation Actions for the Mediterranean Shag and Audouin’s gull in Greece”.

This project, run by HOS (BirdLife in Greece) and SPEA (BirdLife in Portugal), focused on improving the conservation status and breeding performance of Audouin’s Gull and Mediterranean Shag, which inhabit the Aegean Sea and Ionian Sea areas of Greece. The project actions addressed the most relevant threats for the conservation of these two species, namely, rat predation, gull competition and commercial fishing activities that cause accidental birdcatch. Specific actions at project sites included the complete removal of all rats from five Natura 2000 sites, the modification of fishing gear and/or fishing regulations to reduce seabird bycatch and the pilot implementation of control measures to reduce Yellow-legged gull populations, a competitor for food and nesting sites. As a parallel result, 41 marine Important Bird Areas (IBAs) were identified and will be included in the Greek Natura 2000 network, securing their protection as a necessary step to avoid habitat loss and degradation. The project was of utmost importance for seabird and marine conservation in the Eastern Mediterranean; it improved critical habitats, allowed for better seabird breeding sites and created a model that could be easily repeated by neighboring countries.

SPEA and RSPB receive a second award for the project “Safe Islands for Seabirds”.The Azores islands used to be the home of millions of breeding seabirds, but today most of these colonies have decreased drastically as a result of introduced predators and invasive exotic plant species. Started in 2009 and focusing on Corvo (the smallest of all Azorean islands) and Vila Franca islet, this project worked towards the conservation of seabird colonies in the Azores, through habitat restoration and control and eradication of invasive alien species. It also built the first “pest-proof fence” in Europe, following successful experiences carried out in other remote areas such as the Hawaiian islands and New Zealand. As part of a wider restoration plan, several tests evaluating the chances of making Corvo an alien-free island were also implemented. The future of the pest-free fenced zone will be secured thanks to a management protocol signed into place by SPEA and the local authorities.

For more information, please contact Elodie Cantaloube, Media and Communications Officer at BirdLife Europe.

Scientists confirm worst fears: new EU Policy on Agriculture is bad for nature: here.

Long-tailed duck spring hunting now banned in Finland


This video is called Long-tailed Duck, (Clangula hyemalis).

From BirdLife:

BirdLife Finland succeeds in court battle over endangered species

By Rebecca Langer, Tue, 15/04/2014 – 10:35

The Long-tailed duck is classified worldwide as endangered. In southern Finland, a license for spring hunting of the species was authorized in year 2011, further threatening the survival of the population. BirdLife Finland and its local member organization are working to save the species and lodged a complaint to the Supreme Administrative Court of Finland. The complaint proved successful as the Court found the license for spring hunting illegal.

The court decision was based on the unfavourable conservation status of the species and the fact that there is a satisfactory alternative to spring hunting since Long-tailed duck occurs in the area also during the autumn.

Pursuing the complaint required considerable work by the NGO´s: the appeal documents were lengthy and were supported by numerous expert statements, boat research expeditions and long-term monitoring data collected by volunteers at bird research stations. Results of Long-tailed duck counts carried out by neighboring BirdLife Estonia also helped to prove that the population had decreased considerably.

The majority of the long-tailed ducks breeding in northern Europe and western Siberia spend the winter in the Baltic Sea. These birds occur on the coast of Finland especially during spring and autumn migration. What happens to the birds during spring migration in Finland has impacts on the entire Eurasian population of the species.

The BirdLife Partnership hopes that the positive decision by the Finnish Court helps to preserve the species, not only in Finland, but everywhere it migrates.

Legality of spring hunting under fire in Malta and Brussels: here.

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