Marsh tits in Poland, new research


This video shows first a nuthatch, then a great tit, then a marsh tit at a bird feeder.

From the Journal of Avian Biology:

Immense plasticity of timing of breeding in a sedentary forest passerine, Poecile palustris

Abstract

Numerous bird species have advanced their breeding seasons in response to climate warming. These changes were mostly brought about by phenotypic plasticity, i.e. flexible reactions of individual birds, rather than by microevolutionary change. Knowing the limits of plasticity is thus of paramount importance in any attempt to predict possible reactions of birds to climate warming. However, the breeding performance of the same individuals in contrasting environmental conditions, necessary to answer this question, is rarely observed.

Here, we provide data on the flexibility in timing of egg-laying of individual Marsh Tit Poecile palustris females breeding in an extremely late (2013) and early (2014) spring in Białowieża National Park (Poland). In both years the birds stayed in the same places in the primeval old-growth forest, free of direct human influences (no nest-boxes, no additional food). The weather variation was within the range of conditions observed during 40 years in the study area, and no climate warming occurred in the Marsh Tit’s pre-breeding period.

Females (n = 16) shifted the onset of laying by 13-23 (median = 20) days between the seasons. This range of individual flexibility encompasses almost the whole latitudinal range of the breeding dates found across Europe. Such a buffer of plasticity would probably be sufficient for Marsh Tits to adjust the onset of egg-laying to the forecasted range of climate change. A combination of temperature and photoperiod appears to be involved in fine tuning of the birds’ breeding times with spring conditions, but how the birds asses[s] and integrate this information remains poorly understood.

Maltese hunting season stopped after wounded kestrel falls among playing children


This 2014 video is about a kestrel couple and their chicks in their nest on a balcony in Poland.

From the Times of Malta:

Monday, April 27, 2015, 13:43

Hunting season closed after shot bird falls into school yard

The hunting season was closed today after a bird which was shot twice crashed bleeding into the yard of St Edward’s College in Cottonera while the children were on their school break this afternoon.

The decision was announced by the prime minister in a tweet. He said what took place today was inexcusable.

“Despite sharp decline in illegalities, today’s hunting incident is inexcusable. I have decided to immediately close down the season,” Dr Muscat said.

The season was supposed to close on Thursday.

The wounded kestrel on the playground in Malta

A teacher, Diana Triganza, who was on supervision at St Edward’s, said the boys, aged between seven and 10 were ‘traumatised’ by what they had seen. Some of them started screaming when the bird fell into the football pitch.

The incident happened at about 12.30. The bird, believed to be a Kestrel, was shot from outside the school grounds.

It was first shot once and hit, and them shot again. Five shots in all were heard.

The police were called and officers from the ALE took away the bird. Officials from the Animal Welfare Department told school teachers that the bird may survive.

HUNTING SEASON CLOSED

In a statement announcing the immediate closure of the spring hunting season, the government pointed out that immediately after the referendum, the prime minister had warned that he would not tolerate abuse.

During the season, the number of abuses fell drastically thanks to strong law enforcement and the collaboration of those involved.

Nonetheless, today’s incident could not be justified. No information about who had carried it out had been received.

Therefore the season was being closed immediately. This, the government said, should be a signal that such abuses would not be tolerated.

Good spadefoot toad news


This video is about a young common spadefoot toad; Poland, spring 2014.

Dutch Vroege Vogels radio reports about European common spadefoot toads.

This species was in danger of becoming extinct in the Netherlands. To prevent that, there was captive breeding in Nijmegen city. In 2012, hundreds of youngsters, bred in Nijmegen, were freed around Nuland village in Noord-Brabant province.

Spadefoot toads are doing well in the garden of Ignas van Bebber in Nuland. This week, he counted seventeen calling males and eleven spawn strings.