Recovered birds freed in Oregon, USA

This video from the USA says about itself:

American Avocet at International Bird Rescue

June 2013: Baby bird season at International Bird Rescue in California means a multitude of orphaned species, including this American Avocet chick, shown here feeding on live fish for the first time. Thanks to Isabel Luevano for photos and Kathy Koehler for the video peak at feeding time.

From International Bird Rescue in the USA on Twitter today:

Released 20 more seabirds cleaned of #MysteryGoo: 11 Surf Scoters, Eared Grebe, 4 Dunlins, & 4 Western Sandpipers: @Port of Oakland

Tufted puffins in the USA

This video from the USA says about itself:

Ten Tufted and Horned Puffins were released at Cannon Beach, Oregon following rehabilitation by the Wildlife Center of the North Coast. May 7, 2012.

From Associated Press today:

Wildlife agency wants to protect tufted puffins

1 hour ago

OLYMPIA, Wash. — Washington wildlife managers want to list tufted puffins as an endangered species in the state, while removing protective status for Stellar sea lions.

This is a wrong spelling by Associated Press. They are called Steller sea lions, named for the naturalist Georg Wilhelm Steller.

The native seabirds, with striking feathers and a bright orange bill, were once common in the San Juan Islands and along the coast.

The Department of Fish and Wildlife says there’s been a dramatic decline in their historic breeding sites in recent decades.

Meanwhile, the agency says the population of Stellar sea lions that range from southeast Alaska to northern California has grown steadily and should be removed from the state’s threatened species list.

The federal government removed that population from federal protection in 2013.

The state is seeking public comment this month. A public hearing is scheduled next month.

Will Oregon wolves survive?

This video from the USA is called OR7 – THE JOURNEY Movie trailer.

From Sierra magazine in the USA:


Celebrity wolf OR7 may be “too famous to kill,” but his pups will need to watch out if they wander into the wrong state

By Peter Frick-Wright

I’m heading home to Portland from a cabin in the central Oregon woods, down a road I’ve traveled a thousand times before, when something new comes loping through the forest. It’s moving fast without rushing. My brain registers graceful first. Then coyote. But no, it’s too tall and slender.

Then it hits me: Wolf!

It’s already gone.

I grew up in these woods. I like to think I know them. Black bears and mountain lions live out here, plus bobcats, beavers, and the occasional fox. At night you can hear great packs of yipping coyotes coalescing for a hunt.

But there aren’t any wolves.

Except, I remember a heartbeat later, that’s not completely true: A lone male wolf came through here a few years ago. It was a big deal—America’s most famous wild canid. And he had a funky name, like a robot: OR7.

He was Oregon’s seventh wolf to be caught and fitted with a radio collar—hence the name. He was from the Imnaha Pack, which roamed the northeastern corner of Oregon. But sometime in September 2011 he left the pack and wandered southwest, crossing four mountain ranges and five national forests, all the way down into California. He got halfway to Sacramento before circling back to southern Oregon.

Oregon’s Department of Fish and Wildlife released information on his general whereabouts, and for a while everyone went wolf-crazy. Someone started a parody Twitter account for @WolfOR7. (“Attn. Oregon backpackers. You can keep your trail mix but I wouldn’t mind some of your beef jerky.”) We were all enamored with his 3,000-mile against-all-odds search for a fresh start and a mate.

It was a remarkable PR coup for a species long regarded as a pest, or worse. Humans, after all, have been demonizing wolves ever since we started filling our pastures with delicious, defenseless livestock. In his book Where the Wild Things Were, William Stolzenberg writes that the first systematic attacks on wolves took place alongside the birth of farming in the Nile River Delta, 10,000 years ago. Agriculturalists in this country share the antipathy. In 1843, the first semblance of Oregon’s state government was voted into existence at “wolf meetings” meant to address the problem of lost livestock. Not long after, the whole country embarked on an extermination campaign in which wolves were trapped, shot, poisoned, disemboweled, and lit on fire. Once airplanes were invented, they were put to work dropping cyanide-laced pellets of fat from the sky. In Alaska, wolves are still shot from planes.

A few cagey survivors grew legendary in their refusal to be caught, though traps sometimes claimed parts of a paw: A wolf named Three Toes terrorized Harding County, South Dakota. New Mexico had Old Three Toes. Old One Toe roamed Arizona. None had Twitter accounts.

Eventually, however, the West was won. Oregon’s last wolf was killed in 1947 for a $25 bounty, and ranchers slept easily at night. Devastated by population reduction, wolves became different beasts—underdogs.

In 1995, the tide began to turn. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service introduced 66 wolves from Canada back into Yellowstone National Park and surrounding areas in Montana and Idaho. By 1999, wolves were starting to turn up in Oregon. Ten years later, the Imnaha Pack had taken up permanent residence just west of the Hells Canyon Wilderness on the border with Idaho. OR7, who had been tagged and radio-collared eight months earlier, dispersed in search of new territory in 2011. As he wandered, wolf supporters played up his celebrity status in a concerted effort to make him, as the Huffington Post put it, “too famous to kill.”

Now, here in central Oregon, as I scan the trees for another glimpse of the gray wolf that just crossed my path, it strikes me that this must be a new disperser, following in OR7’s path.

Three weeks later, just outside Joseph, Oregon (population 1,052), I’m halfway up Finley Butte and creeping toward the summit. It’s a little past 4 a.m., and the sunrise just cracked open the skyline behind me, staining the Wallowa Mountains a radical violet and rousing a chorus of birds.

“If we want to get wildlife shots, we need to get in close without the birds announcing our presence,” whispers Michelle Van Naerrsen of the Wolf OR7 Expedition, a monthlong, six-person trek retracing by foot and mountain bike part of the canid’s 3,000-mile odyssey. If the birds go suddenly quiet, she says, that tells the whole valley to be afraid.

This morning is day one of the expedition, the official mandate of which is to “explore the challenges of a 21st century wolf.” We’re setting off in the crisp predawn to check out OR7’s original home range. If we’re stealthy, we might catch a glimpse of the herds of elk he hunted as a pup. The group is filming a documentary, though, not to mention blogging and Facebooking the whole trip, and our cameras keep blowing our cover. As expedition video­grapher Daniel Byers lines up a shot of the glowing horizon, for example, Galeo Saintz takes a picture of him with his phone. I take a picture of Saintz taking that picture. We’re here to see elk, but we’re also here to be seen trying to see elk. We’re tweeting, but now we’ve scared the birds—and they’re not.

That’s OK, I’m told. The goal isn’t finding OR7 so much as following in his footsteps, and (hopefully) inspiring a new appreciation for the creature’s wild savvy.

“There are two landscapes that we’re walking through, the physical landscape and the psychological landscape,” says Rachael Pecore-Valdez, an aquatic ecologist and story­teller who is the trip’s instigator. “I’m interested in a story that is true to both.”

Problem is, wolves are often not appreciated in either landscape. European folklore reads like a class action suit against the species: Little Red Riding Hood, Three Little Pigs, et al. v. Big Bad Wolf. For some other cultures, though, wolves are allies.

“There would be certain howls,” Joe Whittle explains to the Wolf OR7 Expedition cameras later that day. “Because of those howls, hunters would find deer or elk to hunt.”

Born in the nearby town of Enterprise and a member of the Caddo Tribe of Oklahoma, Whittle is a back­country guide, U.S. Forest Service wilderness ranger, and student of Native American cultures. We’re in a meadow up Hurricane Creek, where the Wallowas’ tallest peak, Mt. Sacajawea, towers overhead. Whittle is describing the mutually beneficial relationship that developed between wolves and the Nez Perce tribe, as described to him by tribal elder Horace Axtell. Nez Perce hunters, he says, would kill an animal and leave a gut pile. “It didn’t take long for the wolves to realize that they could get an easy, free meal just by vocalizing where the game are. They just do a little howling and here they have an easy snack.”

It’s not just indigenous humans who benefit from the presence of wolves. Apex predators have been shown to have an outsize influence on ecosystem health, Oregon State University professor Bill Ripple tells me later. He’s best known for his work in Yellowstone showing how aspen trees thrive when wolves keep elk at bay—limiting herbivore populations as well as influencing their behavior. Moose and elk move quickly and browse more gingerly in wolf territory; the divided attention allows some aspen shoots to establish themselves.

Last year Ripple also found that wolves keep grazers from hogging all the wild berries. His team analyzed scat samples of Yellowstone grizzlies and found that the presence of wolves increased the amount of available berries.

So that means that OR7 might bring real, tangible benefits to wherever he settles, right?

Not so fast, Ripple says. Large species generally need large swaths of habitat, and humans keep carving the country into smaller and smaller pieces. It’s entirely possible that through agriculture, logging, and road building, we’ve negated any benefits that wolves could bring to the landscape. These big bad wolves may come home only to find that we long ago blew down their houses.

That is, if we let them come home at all. In the current wolf-reintroduction scheme, when recovering wolf populations hit preestablished benchmarks, they lose their endangered species protection and the states can step in to manage wolves as they see fit.

In 2008, when Idaho’s wolves were first delisted, the state sold wolf-hunting tags, and it has essentially hunted the population in and out of federal protection ever since. Montana opened a wolf season in 2011 to reduce the population by 25 percent. It came up short, so the hunting season was extended. In 2012, Wyoming classified wolves as predators that could be shot on sight. In September 2014, following a lawsuit by the Sierra Club and others, a federal judge revoked the state’s management rights and returned federal protections.

That reprieve may be temporary. In 2013, citing healthy populations in the Northern Rockies and Great Lakes regions, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service proposed delisting wolves across the entire country, essentially handing all wolf management decisions to the individual states. Washington, Oregon, and California have comprehensive, science-based management plans in place or in the works for the day wolves are delisted. But should those wolves wander across state lines to, say, Nevada, it would be like entering enemy territory.

The next day, hiking toward the Imnaha River, a cold, steady rain turns to glops of slush and then snow. When my boots finally soak through, I send the expedition on its way and start driving around Wallowa County, knocking on ranch house doors. What’s it like, I wonder, to live in a place one notch wilder than it used to be?

There’s a grassy ridgeline out here called the Wolf Highway, which I figure is a good place to start. It runs between the Eagle Cap Wilderness, where elk spend their summers, and the Zumwalt Prairie, where they winter. Wolves follow the herds, but fenced-in cattle dot their path, like fast food on the interstate.

When I arrive at Lori Schaafsma’s door, she invites me in, puts the kettle on for tea, calls her neighbor, Ramona Phillips, and informs me that they both have much to say on the subject of wolves. She’s not kidding.

“When we first had wolves come here, I don’t think I had any prejudice at all,” Phillips says. “[But] it’s changed our life in every way.” Both women say they’re frustrated that they’re not allowed to protect their property; Schaafsma compares her situation to living in gang territory, where it feels like violence might erupt at any moment.

Between their two herds, however, the state has confirmed exactly one case of wolf depredation. Nationwide, wolves are responsible for less than 1 percent of lost livestock. That means zilch, though, to the individual ranchers losing cattle. The gulf between the actual numbers and the perceived threat makes managing wolves also a matter of managing people, for whom encountering a wolf on their property inspires less reverence than it does a feeling of acute vulnerability. “I don’t think people understand how close to our houses they are,” Phillips says. “It skews how we look at them. It has to.”

In Portland, where wolves aren’t devouring property or pets—­not even the occasional little hipster dog—­perspectives can skew the other way. On a rainy Sunday, Clemens Schenks’s documentary OR7—the Journey (not to be confused with the Wolf OR7 Expedition film) is premiering at a brewpub movie house. “Sold out!” a woman laments, as she turns from the ticket counter. It’s not a happy scene.

The timing of the premiere could not be better. The batteries in OR7’s radio collar are expected to die at any moment, but days earlier a trail camera captured him in close proximity to a small black female wolf—perhaps a mate.

The film is short on nuance and subtlety, but the pro-wolf audience doesn’t care. As it gathers steam, scattered applause turns to full-on cheers for definitive statements about the benefits of wolf reintroduction and anti-hunting policies.

“I think it says something about everyone’s fear of what’s happening to us,” an audience member tells me. “OR7 is a reason to celebrate at a time when we’re nervous about our future.” In other words, if a decimated species can find enough connected habitat to fill in the spaces we emptied of them, perhaps we’ve done something right.

Four years after leaving his pack, OR7 is still top dog in the wolf media world. Every few months someone pays tribute with a new song or an epic poem or an hourlong dance performance, and whoever’s behind the OR7 Twitter account is still going strong. Last June, U.S. Fish and Wildlife agents tromped into the woods and confirmed that OR7 had indeed found a mate and that the happy couple had at least three pups in a den not far from the California border. Adorable photos soon followed.

If the pups make it through the winter, OR7 and his mate will be considered a “breeding pair.” It takes four such pairs to constitute a minimum sustainable population, according to the state’s management plan. But beyond five pairs, wolves—even famous ones—begin to lose protections.

Under ideal circumstances, wolves can double their numbers every two years, but that’s assuming adequate territory, food supply, and genetic diversity. Much of that is still a question mark. It remains to be seen just how badly we’ve chopped up the landscape and whether or not packs in surrounding states can spin off enough wandering wolves to find each other, like OR7 and his mate. So while their union feels like a huge victory for Canis lupus, it’s a tenuous one. Given the history of famous wolves in our country and culture, you might better call it a toehold.

This article was funded by the Sierra Club’s Our Wild America campaign.

Seeing 5,000 bird species in one year?

This is called 30 Amazing Bird Species in 1 Video. It says about itself:

Watch peafowl, birds of paradise and many more interesting birds and see their magnetic nature.

From the Portland Tribune in the USA:

Put a bird on it – or maybe 5,000 of them

Thursday, 13 November 2014 06:00

Written by Jennifer Anderson

Man aiming for species-spotting record part of Wild Arts Fest

Noah Strycker has lived for months at a time in some of the most remote places on Earth — Antarctica, Costa Rica, the Galapagos Islands, the volcano fields of Hawaii, the Amazonian Ecuador, the Australian Outback and the Farallon Islands — doing nothing but studying birds.

He’s seen thousands of species — penguins, finches, fairy-wrens, bowerbirds, mockingbirds, pelicans, albatross, hawks, crows and even the endangered Hawaiian nene.

He figures he’s observed about 2,500 species of birds on six continents, a fifth of the world’s bird species.

And he’s just getting started.

The 28-year-old Oregonian is a professional “birder at large,” a photographer, public speaker and author of two books about birding and his travels.

In January he’ll embark on an epic quest to see 5,000 species of birds by the end of the calendar year. The current, official record is 4,341, set by a British couple in 2008.

Strycker expects he’ll have no trouble crushing the record, with a plan to visit about 35 countries on all seven continents on a continuous around-the-world birding trip.

“The idea is to connect with local birders in each place to highlight stories of bird conservation and to see a ton of birds,” he says. “Nobody has even come close to 5,000 in a year before, but nobody has really tried.”

Strycker, who keeps an updated blog with bird photos from each place he’s traveled (, says he’ll keep a daily blog of his big birding year on the National Audubon Society’s main Web page (

After the big year, he has a book deal with Houghton Mifflin to write about the adventure.

In the meantime, Strycker will be one of the local bird-centric artists whose work will be showcased next week at the Audubon Society of Portland’s 34th annual Wild Arts Festival, a creative celebration of all things feathered.

The 70 artists and 35 authors will gather in the light-filled space at the Montgomery Park building in Northwest Portland to share their like-minded passion for birds.

All feature nature or wildlife as a subject, use natural materials as a medium, and use their art to promote environmental sustainability.

As in past years, there will be novelists, photographers, poets, children’s authors, nonfiction writers and visual art of all kinds.

The annual 6×6 Wild Art Project is a compilation of bird-themed paintings done by 200 artists on a 6-inch square canvas. The project’s theme this year is “yard birds.”

Each canvas will be available for sale.

Strycker will be promoting his second and latest book, “The Thing With Feathers,” published in March, detailing the secret lives of birds and their connection to humanity.

His first book, “Among Penguins,” 2011, documents his time living with 300,000 penguins in Antarctica at the age of 24.

Wandering the hills

One of the most famous authors at the Wild Arts Festival, meanwhile, will be Ursula Le Guin, the 85-year-old science fiction novelist who lives in Portland.

Le Guin this week will be receiving a National Book Association award considered one of literature’s most prestigious honors.

She’s being honored with a Medal for Distinguished Contribution to American Letters, which recognizes individuals who have made an exceptional impact on the country’s literary heritage.

Raised in Napa Valley in the 1930s and ‘40s, Le Guin says she was especially influenced by her summers of solitude and silence, “a teenager wandering the hills on my own, no company, ‘nothing to do,’ were very important to me. I think I started making my soul then.”

Her stories — set in imaginary “subworlds” — grew out of her experiences, Le Guin says.

For example her first trip to the Eastern Oregon desert led to “The Tombs of Atuan.”

She checks her science facts, but “most of my research is into the geography of my own imagination,” she says. Le Guin says she started writing when she was 5 years old and never stopped.

‘Study ourselves’

For Strycker, he started watching birds at age 10 and never stopped. He recalls when his fifth-grade teacher suction-cupped a bird feeder on their classroom window.

“The other kids in my class thought birds were pretty dumb,” Strycker says. But he was hooked. “You never know where that spark will come from,” he says.

He’s been able to make a full-time living of his pursuits, funding most of his traveling through the National Science Foundation and other agencies.

In Antarctica, he worked as a seasonal guide on an expedition cruise ship. He now earns an income through his writing, speaking, expeditions and other bird-related projects.

In addition to his literary work — as associate editor of Birding magazine and contributor to about a dozen different bird-related publications — he is a five-time marathoner and completed the entire Pacific Crest Trail from Mexico to Canada in four months in 2011.

There’s a reason, Stycker and other artists say, that they are driven to put a bird on it.

“I think that, by studying birds, we also study ourselves,” says Strycker, who lives in Creswell, just outside of Eugene. “Directly, there are many parallels between bird and human behavior (perhaps more than we like to admit). More than that, for me, birds are an entry point to the outdoors and all kinds of adventures. They take us to places we’d never go otherwise.”

American bald eagle recovered

This video from the USA is called Eagle eating fish; Willamette River; Jennings Lodge, Oregon 8/9/13.

From in the USA:

Rehabilitated bald eagle spotted alive and well along Willamette River four years after release

By Justin Runquist

January 31, 2014 at 4:37 PM

A bald eagle that was found injured in Lake Oswego has recently been spotted along the Willamette River alive and well nearly four years after being released into the wild.

Wildlife photographer Steve Berliner recently moved to the Milwaukie area, where he began seeing the eagle – a male estimated to be about 9 or 10 years old – over the summer flying by with a female companion and young offspring of their own. Berliner believes the birds have settled on nearby Elk Rock Island.

“On average, we probably see them fly by once a week,” he said. “Its appearances are very sporadic, and that’s why I think it’s from further up the river.”

Berliner managed to get clear enough photos to reveal the identification number on the bird’s tag. He’s also captured videos of the bird, one [above] showing it perched on a tree branch and tearing apart a fish.

Berliner later confirmed it was the right eagle with the Audubon Society of Portland, which nursed the bird back to health before releasing it in April 2010.

Deb Sheaffer, who manages the organization’s Wildlife Care Center, said the eagle suffered a number of puncture wounds to one of its knees in March 2010, most likely in a territorial fight with another eagle. Neighbors were alarmed to hear the screaming bird outside their homes.

“We were able to see there was a little fracture in there,” Sheaffer said. “Probably the large talon from the other bird went right into the knee.”

Previously injured birds are hardly ever spotted again once they are released, she said.

“This is what we do all the time; we do rehabilitation on these birds and release them but we hardly know what happens to them,” she said. “We rarely get that information, because very few birds are banded.”

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Bald eagles in the USA, where to see them

This video is called American Bald Eagle.

From Discovery News in the USA:

Endangered Species

Bald Eagle Spotting: Top Spots

Dec 27, 2013 12:43 PM ET // by Tim Wall

Forty years ago, the Endangered Species Act was signed into law by President Richard Nixon. The act’s authors sought to protect animals, plants and other wildlife from extinction caused by “economic growth and development untempered by adequate concern and conservation,” in the words of the Act.

One symbol of the United States, the bald eagle, provides an example of how a change to the economy saved an icon of North America.

DDT, or dichloro-diphenyl-trichloroethane, weakened eagle and other bird egg shells so much that the eggs would collapse under the mother. The chemical was introduced in the 1940s and already had decimated bird populations by the early 1960s.

NEWS: Bald Eagle Nestlings Contaminated by Chemicals

In 1972, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency banned the pesticide. The removal of DDT from the market allowed eagle eggs to regain their strength, and the raptors began a recovery.

Bald eagles soared off of the Endangered Species List in 2007. Although off the list, the birds are still protected by the Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act, Migratory Bird Treaty Act and the Lacey Act, according to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

LIST: Animals Back From the Brink

An eagle-watching trip could be a thrilling way to celebrate the 40th anniversary of the Endangered Species Act and the success of bald eagles.

From coast to coast, National Wildlife Refuges offer winter-long opportunities to observe the raptors, along with special events.

The USFWS presents a cross-country list of these eagle adventures in Maryland, Virginia, Illinois, Tennessee, Missouri, Oklahoma, Utah, California, Oregon and Washington. Here are a few highlights:

Maryland: Blackwater National Wildlife Refuge Eagle Festival March 15, 2014, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. The festival is a free way to see more than 200 eagles overwintering in the refuge, the largest population on the East Coast, north of Florida.

Illinois: Crab Orchard National Wildlife Refuge Eagle Watch Jan. 18-19, 25-26 at  8 a.m., 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. Reservations are required for this guided van trip to see eagle nests.

Missouri: Squaw Creek National Wildlife Refuge Open all winter. A 1.5-mile trail offers views of hundreds of eagles.

Oregon: Winter Wings Festival in Klamath Falls Feb. 13-16. Sessions on bald eagles and other raptors are featured events at this avian extravaganza.

The Endangered Species Act has prevented the extinction of 99% of the more than 2,140 species it currently protects: here.

West Nile Virus Behind Utah Bald Eagle Deaths: here.

Golden eagle, Scotland’s favourite animal

This video from the USA says about itself:

21 Apr 2011

The first of a three segment video revealing the life of nesting Golden Eagles located within Whychus Canyon near Sisters, Oregon. The camera is attached to a telescope and is position about a quarter of a mile from the nest. The eagles are completely unaware of the camera. The nest is on a sheer cliff within a reserve managed by Wolftree, a non-profit, science education organization.

And here is segment #2.

And here is segment #3.

From Scottish Natural Heritage, Tuesday 5th November 2013:

Golden Eagle soars high as Scotland‘s number one

The Golden Eagle has overwhelmingly topped the vote in a campaign to find the Scotland’s favourite wild animal. The impressive bird of prey was competing against the Red Deer, Red Squirrel, Harbour Seal and Otter. Thousands of votes were recorded online following the campaign launch in spring this year and voting closed on 31st October. With almost 40 per cent of the vote, the eagle was well ahead of its counterparts. The next closest was the Red Squirrel with 20 per cent, then the Red Deer and the Otter, with the Harbour Seal in last place.

The campaign was run jointly by Scottish Natural Heritage (SNH) and VisitScotland as part of the Year of Natural Scotland 2013 celebrations. Environment and Climate Change Minister and PAW Scotland Chairman Paul Wheelhouse said: “While we can be enormously proud of all our native wildlife, it is fitting that the magnificent Golden Eagle has topped this poll of Scotland’s ‘Big 5’ species.”

The Golden Eagle has overwhelmingly topped the vote in a campaign to find the Scotland’s favourite wild animal. The impressive bird of prey was competing against the Red Deer, Red Squirrel, Harbour Seal and Otter. Thousands of votes were recorded online following the campaign launch in spring this year and voting closed on 31st October. With almost 40 per cent of the vote, the eagle was well ahead of its counterparts. The next closest was the Red Squirrel with 20 per cent, then the Red Deer and the Otter, with the Harbour Seal in last place.

The campaign was run jointly by Scottish Natural Heritage (SNH) and VisitScotland as part of the Year of Natural Scotland 2013 celebrations. Environment and Climate Change Minister and PAW Scotland Chairman Paul Wheelhouse said: “While we can be enormously proud of all our native wildlife, it is fitting that the magnificent Golden Eagle has topped this poll of Scotland’s ‘Big 5’ species.”

“At present Scotland is home to all of the UK’s breeding pairs of these eagles, and the species has done well to recover after almost being wiped out in the last two centuries. However, recent incidents have shown that the [species] is still threatened by illegal persecution in some areas. We have a responsibility to protect this wonderful bird so that future generations can continue to enjoy its presence in our skies.”

Scotland’s Big 5 were selected because they were all high-profile species, widely associated with Scotland, and with a broad geographical spread. Ian Jardine, SNH chief executive said: “The response to the campaign has been brilliant. Thousands of people have voted for their favourite from Scotland’s Big 5 list. There have been several alternative lists put forward for seabirds, game animals, trees and plants, and support for rarer species like the Pine Marten and Wildcat. It has got people thinking about and talking about wildlife, and showing how much affection and pride people have, not just for the five species on the list, but for Scottish wildlife generally.”

Through the partnership with SNH, VisitScotland promoted the campaign to millions of potential visitors and where best to see them in their natural environments. This saw all of Scotland’s Big 5 championed through a series of billboard advertisements in Manchester, Liverpool, Newcastle, Glasgow and Edinburgh. Alongside this, TV personality Neil Oliver lent his voice to an extensive radio campaign, with written press and online content specially developed throughout the year. Mike Cantlay, Chairman of VisitScotland, added: “We’ve been absolutely delighted with the response that Scotland’s Big 5 campaign has received, and it has been a cornerstone of our celebrations for the Year of Natural Scotland 2013. One of the key pillars of the year was to get as many people here at home out seeing parts of Scotland that they may not have been to before, and the Big 5 campaign has given us a fantastic opportunity to promote even the most remote areas of our wonderful country.”

April 2014: Two golden eagles have been tagged in a new satellite project run by Scottish Natural Heritage (SNH) so there can be greater understanding about the birds’ behaviour: here.