Senegalese children learn about birds


This 2010 German language video is about birds in the Djoudj National Park in Senegal.

From BirdLife:

Children taught to identify and count birds in Senegal

By Blandine Melis, 1 Feb 2017

Studies have shown that children learn to love and connect much more easily with nature than adults because they naturally explore and learn through social engagements.

In an effort to get children interested in bird conservation and provide practical and sustainable solutions that will benefit nature and people in the future, BirdLife International experts and other conservation stakeholders in Senegal have given kids the opportunity to develop a lasting interest in bird science.

On 15 January 2017, during events marking the International Waterbird Count Day in Senegal, ornithologists invited 16 students to participate and connect with nature. The children were selected from four schools in the Kalissaye Ornithological Nature Reserve in southern Senegal and they accompanied rangers to the field where they identified and counted birds in the Casamance area.

“The young people, accompanied by a Life and Earth Science teacher from Hillol Middle School were quick to grasp the skills and became ‘budding scientists’. They learned very quickly how to use binoculars, recognize criteria of bird identification and complete an observation collection protocol adapted to their capacity,” explained Blandine Mélis, BirdLife’s Conservation and Migratory Birds (CMB) Project Communications Officer for West Africa.

The children benefitted from the expertise of members of a potential BirdLife partner organisation in Senegal, the Association Nature-Communautés Développement supported by BirdLife’s CMB team in West Africa.

After the bird count exercise on the boat, a drawing competition took place on the beach where the children made very creative and high quality drawings inspired by their curiosity.

Through the CMB project, BirdLife international has strengthened networks and promoted the conservation of migratory birds and their habitats along the west coast of Africa. The Casamance event was part of a bigger environmental education program within the project, expected to last for a period of about two years in the protected site.

The BirdLife CMB project partnership with the Association Nature-Communautés Développement, has committed to facilitate the discovery of the territory in the Kalissaye Reserve and ensure that young people are properly involved in the management of the Reserve.

The project has developed a sustainable plan to ensure that these young people participate in several other practical activities in the future. These activities will include the “I don’t like garbage day”, which is a day set aside for waste collection to keep the environment clean. The children will also take part in reforestation activities and establish tree nurseries, as well as other actions that promote the conservation of migratory birds and their habitats along the west coast of Africa.

Wildlife clubs will also be created in schools outside the protected area to raise awareness and educate many more children on the importance of conserving birds and their habitats. Through these clubs, the school children will be encouraged to compete with their mates in different domains that can boost their curiosity and make them more resourceful. These competitions will guide the children to draw, write poems, sing and develop short sketches for conservation of nature and biodiversity, and protection of the ecosystem services.

Birds in Senegal, elsewhere in West Africa: here.

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Dutch farmers help Senegalese farmers to help godwits


This is a black-tailed godwit video.

Translated from BirdLife in the Netherlands, 24 May 2016:

We also look across the border. After the breeding season our Dutch black-tailed godwits will migrate south. Most overwinter in Africa. They rest there, and need safety and food.

The Society for Versatile Farmlands decided to support their fellow farmers in Senegal with a donation of € 11,000 by way of BirdLife in the Netherlands. This wonderful initiative came from Teunis Jacob Slob, one of the first pro-grassland birds farmers. BirdLife in the Netherlands contributed to the project: at the Lac de Guiers, in the northwest of Senegal, we involve local farmers in protecting the godwits. Together, we ensure that the birds find food (rice) and find peace. In spring they will be strong enough to fly back to the Netherlands.

Senegalese and Dutch black-tailed godwit research


This video is called Godwits – Limosa limosa at Giganta Ricefields, Porto Alto, Portugal.

From BirdLife:

Gerrit and Khady: a Black-tailed Godwit romance

By Obaka Torto, Mon, 30/06/2014 – 14:59

Through the work of BirdLife International, Africa and Europe have come together many times for the love of birds. Khady Gueye from Senegal and Gerrit Gerritsen from the Netherlands offer a fine example of this. Both Khady and Gerrit are passionate about Black-tailed Godwits (Limosa limosa), a ‘Near Threatened’ migratory shorebird. Khady studies them while they winter in Senegal and Gerrit is the godwit conservation specialist of Vogelbescherming Nederland (VBN, BirdLife in the Netherlands). He makes every effort to conserve the breeding habitat of the godwits in the Netherlands. The linkage between the two is even stronger. A bird ringed by Gerrit in 2007 went missing for six years, only to be rediscovered alive and well by Khady in Senegal in 2013.

Khady and Gerrit in Friesland, The Netherlands (Photo: Barend van Gemerden/VBN)

Khady and Gerrit in Friesland, The Netherlands (Photo: Barend van Gemerden/VBN)

Khady met Gerrit during her visit to Friesland, a province in the North of the Netherlands. Here she joined the researchers from the University of Groningen / Global Flyway Network to study the breeding habits of Black-tailed Godwits. Thanks to the team of Prof. Theunis Piersma and Jos Hooijmeijer, Khady learned a great deal about godwits and research techniques that will help her study.

Khady: “My job was to assist the team in their research; looking for nests and chicks, monitoring and ringing chicks. We also captured adults to read their rings and conduct biometric measurements. I improved my skills in reading rings and I now have a clear idea on how to study the availability of feeding resources for the birds at a site.”

Khady with just fledged chick of Black-tailed Godwit (Photo: Barend van Gemerden)

Khady with just fledged chick of Black-tailed Godwit (Photo: Barend van Gemerden)

Khady proved to be a valuable member of the team and her interest in the Black-tailed Godwit and determination to continue her research was held in high esteem by the entire team in the Netherlands. Khady: “Most exciting was working with the research team of Jos Hooijmeijer in the Netherlands, and the prospect of them coming to Senegal during the next season. While I was there, I better understood the ecology, migration strategies, as well as threats to the Black-tailed Godwit.”

Overall, Khady was highly impressed by what she saw in the Netherlands. “From my point of view, it is a very organized country. In Friesland in particular, people are friendly and pleasant. In this part of the Netherlands, the conservation of biodiversity and especially birds, is extremely important to the community.” To strengthen the commitment of the local community, Khady also participated in a successful visit of school children to a farm where many godwits breed. Khady’s presence emphasised the international connections that exist through migratory birds.

Khady scanning for Black-tailed Godwits in Senegal (Photo: Barend van Gemerden/VBN)

Khady scanning for Black-tailed Godwits in Senegal (Photo: Barend van Gemerden/VBN)

Young Graduates Research Project

Khady Gueye is a one of the awardees of the Young Graduates Research Project (YGRP) award, a conservation project grant under The Conservation of Migratory Birds (CMB) project, funded jointly by MAVA Foundation and Vogelbescherming Nederland (VBN).

This award is targeted at MSc-level students conducting ongoing research on migratory bird species in Cape Verde, Guinea, Guinea Bissau, Mauritania, Senegal, Sierra Leone and the Gambia.

This is a recurring award and the next grant opportunity will be announced shortly, so stay tuned to the CMB project page!

Birds wintering in Senegal, new research


This French video shows part of the documentary film L’île au faucon, by Allain Bougrain- Dubourg. It is about birds wintering in Senegal; especially lesser kestrels breeding in Spain and elsewhere in southern Europe.

Dutch biologists do research on Montagu’s harriers from Europe, wintering in Senegal. A male harrier wintered in 2013 near Kelcom in Senegal, and again this year. In the summer of 2013, he had nested in Spain.

In Senegal, they feed mainly on locusts.

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Eurasian migratory birds need big African trees


This video from England is about a common redstart.

This blog reported already about the count this month of migratory shorebirds in west Europe and west Africa.

More inland in Africa, people count migratory birds as well.

There is an international BirdLife program: Living on the Edge; for improving migratory bird habitats and livelihoods in the Sahel region, just south of the Sahara desert.

In this program, there is participation from Burkina Faso NATURAMA, Mauritania, Nigeria Conservation Foundation (NCF) – Nigeria; and Senegal. And also from European countries where the migratory birds are in summer.

This morning, Vroege Vogels radio in the Netherlands reported about it. Where do Eurasian migratory birds like common redstart and spotted flycatcher spend their African winters?

It turns out they do so overwhelmingly in just about ten tree species, all in the Acacia genus. And much more so in older, taller trees than in small, young trees.

This research result means there should be more conservation of acacia trees, especially tall, older ones.

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Coastal bird count, from Europe to South Africa


This video, in Dutch, is about counting shorebirds in Senegal.

This January, wintering coastal birds are counted, all the way from the Wadden sea in western Europe, to South Africa. People from all (West) European and (West) African countries along these coasts will participate in the counting.

This count will help conservation of these birds, all along their east Atlantic migration flyway.

African coastal birds, photo by Barend van Gemerden

Here is a beautiful photo by Barend van Gemerden. It shows great egrets, western reef herons, curlews and redshanks along a West African coast.

Photos of some of the bird counters are here.

Wader Quest and the Shorebirds of South Africa: here.

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