Hooded Plover rescue in Oz

Image courtesy of BirdLife Australia.
Image courtesy of BirdLife Australia.
Monitoring threatened species takes on many forms — not only keeping an eye on populations or nesting attempts, but also looking after the individual birds themselves.
Recently, at Point Roadknight, Anglesea, on Victoria’s Surf Coast, Geoff Gates, one of BirdLife Australia’s (BirdLife Partner) volunteers assisting the Beach-nesting Birds Project, noticed a Hooded Plover — marked with ‘KM’ on its leg-flag — in a bad way. It was hopping on one foot and having trouble keeping up with a small flock of six other Hoodies foraging on a nearby rock platform. Although Geoff watched the bird for 15 minutes, he could not see what was troubling it, but photographs subsequently revealed that something tight was caught around its ankle, cutting into the bird’s flesh and restricting its movement.
Geoff immediately contacted Grainne Maguire, the Beach-nesting Birds Project Manager, and together they hatched a plan to rescue KM.
While Grainne hastily travelled down to the coast from Melbourne (with family in tow and a special plover-catching trap in the boot), Geoff contacted Liz Brown, a local vet from nearby Aireys Inlet (the next town along the coast) who was keen to help.
Within minutes of arriving at the beach, Grainne had quickly and skilfully separated KM from the rest of the flock, which made it easier to trap the injured bird.
Image courtesy of BirdLife Australia.
Image courtesy of BirdLife Australia.
With KM in the hand, the nylon fibre tangled around its leg was easy to see, and Dr Liz quickly removed the offending strand, applied antiseptic ointment to the wound and administered an antibiotic injection.
The bird’s metal identification band was then removed from the injured and swollen leg, and a new band was fitted onto the bird’s healthy leg.
With the ordeal over, KM was released — accompanied by an indignant squawk — and flew straight back to the flock. Watching through binoculars, Grainne and Geoff were both glad to see that although KM was limping a little, it was, nevertheless, using its injured leg.
Thank you to all who assisted.
This tale serves to remind us that by keeping a close watch over our threatened birds, BirdLife Australia’s band of volunteers and staff are making a real difference — making a brighter future for Australia’s birds. There is no doubt that if KM had remained untreated, it would have lost its foot and probably died as a result. The loss of a single Hooded Plover may not seem too drastic, but when the population is so small, the effects of the loss of even one bird can be magnified greatly.
Anyone visiting Point Roadknight over the next few weeks should keep an eye out for KM and let us know how it is faring.
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This article was originally posted to BirdLife Community website by BirdLife Australia.
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A couple for the Spoonies

The critically endangered Spoon-billed Sandpiper is one of the most known and sought after bird species among birdwatchers and bird addicts. Not a single organisation decided to campaign for bringing this unique and adorable little peep back from the brink of extinction. The publicity on the conservation efforts for the Spoon-billed Sandpiper is extremely wide and has reached thousands of members of different NGOs or social media groups.
However, still not many of them are aware of an interesting private project called Wader Quest. Behind the project there is a couple. An ex fireman, a teacher, a nice bird guide and an addict to waders and a wonderful partner, a photographer from Brazil. To make it short, they are the Simpsons.

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The Spooners, Rick & Elis Simpson. © Gyorgy Szimuly
Rick and Elis Simpson launched Wader Quest last year with a tremendous preparation work prior to kick off. Their target was to see a many shorebird species within a year as possible by traveling across the globe. During their trips they try to reach as many locals as possible to spread the word about the importance of shorebird conservation through the conservation efforts of the Spoon-billed Sandpiper.
While they are traveling they try to get more and more donors to support the WWT project on the Spoonie. So what is happening there? A couple is collecting money for their travels under the umbrella of Spoon-billed Sandpiper conservation? The truth is that this amazing couple spends its OWN money and time to find funds for the WWT’s Saving the Spoon-billed Sandpiper Project. If we talk about addiction then Rick & Elis are definitely role models! I am lucky to know them and they are very close my family’s heart. Life often overwrites even the most perfect plans as it had happened to Rick and Elis. Due to a critical health issue of a very close family member they had to postpone some of the travels but the original idea is still the same, supporting the Spoon-billed Sandpiper conservation efforts. We can show our sympathy to Rick and Elis by donating the Wader Quest Project in these difficult times with a donation of a price of a box of beer or whatever small or larger amount. That is absolutely a personal choice! At the time of writing £1,000.25 cash + £116.95 Gift Aid raised from ‘only’ 29 donors. All donations DIRECTLY go to WWT and in the meantime Rick and Elis make huge efforts to find funds for their travels, but that is a different story – as they said. I am pretty sure that there should be more than 29 people who wishes the Spoon-billed Sandpiper to be back from the brink of EXTINCTION!

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Should you think this project is worth to support, please go to their JustGiving fundraising page:

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Personally, I would like to take the opportunity to thank Elis and Rick for setting up and running this ‘donation quest‘ for an impressive shorebird species, the Spoon-billed Sandpiper!
This article was originally posted by Gyorgy Szimuly at http://szimistylebirding.wordpress.com.

Tragedy strikes Critically Endangered New Zealand shore plover population

Shore Plover chick. Image courtesy of DOC
Shore Plover chick. Image courtesy of DOC
Written by Wildlife Extra
World population of just 200 birds
When Helen Jonas, New Zealand Department of Conservation (DOC) team leader for the Shore Plover recovery on Portland Island visited late last year, she discovered the island population had been reduced to a quarter of what it was, and now just 20 birds remain. The total world population has been reduced to about 200 birds. “This has a huge impact on the viability of the species” said Ms Jonas, as Waikawa was considered to be a safe and stable population.
The privately owned island has been a safe sanctuary to the shore plover for the past thirteen years. The numbers had built up to a point where the population was contributing eggs to other predator free islands. This season’s planned egg translocation turned into a rescue attempt.
Unknown cause
We didn’t know what the issue was and unfortunately we still don’t know” Ms Jonas said. It could have been disease, predation by gulls or hawks, mustelid, rat, cat or even a dog that’s come over with a visitor to the island. As a precaution 12 Shore Plover eggs were removed from the island and taken to Mount Bruce Pukaha in Wairarapa and Isaac’s Wildlife Centre in Christchurch for incubation. The juveniles are planned to be released on Mana Island next month.
We are throwing everything we possibly can at the island to ensure this does not happen again” she said. “We’ve undertaken disease screening, and have sent dead birds over for autopsy and DNA testing. We have had specialised stoat tracking and rat tracking dogs and have put cameras in place. Nothing has turned up so far.”
Just 1 chick fledged
The remaining birds on Waikawa, including the sole fledged chick from this season, are now being protected by more regular pest monitoring and control efforts by Onenui Station owners. It is hoped that the island will be safe for Shore Plover again soon“, Ms Jonas said.
The remaining Shore Plover on the island appear stable and are still nesting and successfully producing chicks. Visitors to the island are reminded to check their loads to ensure they haven’t got any unwanted travellers with them.

San Francisco Bay recognised as ‘Wetland of International Importance’

San Pablo Bay wetlands.  © Mike Perlmutter
San Pablo Bay wetlands. © Mike Perlmutter

Confirming its vital role in the natural health of the hemisphere, San Francisco Bay/Estuary in California, USA has been designated a “Wetland of International Importance” under the Convention on Wetlands, also known as the Ramsar Convention. San Francisco Bay is home to more than 1,000 species of mammals, birds, invertebrates and more than 130 species of fish .

We’ve long known that the Bay is of hemispheric importance to migratory shorebirds and waterfowl, and this recognition just solidifies that stature among the international community”, said Andrea Jones, coastal stewardship program director with Audubon California. “We hope that this will bolster efforts to restore and protect these critically important habitats.

While this designation will not result in new legally-binding protections for wildlife and habitat in the Bay, it does focus international pressure on agencies to step up conservation efforts and may lead to additional funding for wetland restoration.

This designation should be a point of pride for anyone living in the larger San Francisco Bay Area”, said Beth Huning, Coordinator of the San Francisco Bay Joint Venture. “Despite intense urban pressures, San Francisco Bay nonetheless endures as one of our country’s great natural treasures.

The designation is the result of nearly four years of work on the part of member organisations of the San Francisco Bay Joint Venture, which coordinates a number of public and non-profit agencies, landowners, and the business community to protect and restore wetlands for migratory birds and other wildlife. Audubon California played an important role drafting the application in conjunction with other partners.

The Convention on Wetlands of International Importance is an intergovernmental treaty adopted in 1971 that provides a voluntary framework for national action and international cooperation for the conservation and wise use of wetlands and their resources. The Ramsar Convention is the only global environmental treaty that deals with a particular ecosystem, and promotes the “wise use of all wetlands.” The United States signed the treaty in 1987.

This special designation is awarded based on science.  Decades of research from conservation organisations such as PRBO Conservation Science, Audubon California, San Francisco Bay Bird Observatory, and the US Geological Service, among others, summarised results on common and endangered wildlife to make a compelling case for this award.

The designated site includes wetlands and waters of the nearly 400,000 acres in and around the Bay, and encompasses a variety of landowners – both public and private – dedicated to protecting habitat for birds and other wildlife.

This post was originally posted by BirdLife Community

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WorldWaders News Blog Reborn

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Following the announcement of closure of Posterous a new WorldWaders News Blog had to be created on a hopefully more trusted host, the WordPress. Posterous was acquired by Twitter last year and now they announced to close their service by 30 April 2013.

This is a good time for me to rethink the future and structure of WorldWaders News Blog. The blog was launched almost three years ago and had 112 Followers (which is not a huge number as not every reader was willing to register to Posterous!), 185 posts with a total of 111,689 views since then. It was quite popular among shorebird enthusiasts but it was hard to make it up-to-date on my own. The WorldWaders New Blog was always thought to be a multi-authored blog providing news on the actual conservation issues or achievements, species status, projects and other related NGO activities exclusively on shorebirds/waders. I also have learnt that not everyone is one Facebook or other social media so running an independent news blog is a good idea to reach other fans. On Facebook I created a related group which has 2,266 members and counting. It is very popular but I am pretty sure that there are more birdwatchers out of Facebook who would love to read more about shorebirds.

In the coming weeks I establish this news providing network and the WorldWaders News Blog will run again smoothly with news on a global level. I really hope global players and researchers will like this idea and support this initiative. If I will succeed a new and beautifully illustrated digital magazine for mobile devices, exclusively on the Charadriformes, will be launched later this year. Let’s hope I will not find myself alone with this idea!