Drones Harass Nesting Bald Eagles

Nesting Bald Eagles have been harassed in recent weeks by a drone. In the most recent incident the drone was purposely flown near a nest in Anne Arundel County, frightening the incubating adult such that it fled the nest and flushing the other bird from its roost. This also occurred twice last year in Garrett County.

Maryland Bird Conservation Partnership (MBCP) Executive Director, Chris Eberly, spoke with WNAV’s Donna Cole for her program 1430 Connection about the most recent incident.

Although flying near eagle nests may not violate FAA regulations, it’s against the law to disrupt nesting native birds (Migratory Bird Treaty Act (MBTA) and Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act).

Please consider contacting your state representative if you agree that irresponsible UAV usage is a threat to cherished Chesapeake area resources. If this type of behavior persists, new legislation may be needed with enhanced penalties for the use of a drone in the commission of another crime.

Red Knots plummet by 25% in a year in Tierra del Fuego

For a while, it looked like they might actually be in recovery. But this year’s census of the American subspecies, the rufa Red Knot, found that numbers have plummeted to an all-time low. The likely cause? Food shortages in Delaware Bay, a crucial feeding stopover site on their migration.

This January, surveyors flying over Tierra del Fuego, South America, beheld a sorry sight: the view from the helicopter windows told a dramatically different story to the same time last year. It wasn’t hard to see that the number of rufa Red Knots Calidris canutus overwintering at this site had fallen dramatically – to a shocking 9,840 birds. This is a 25% decrease on the number recorded in January 2017 (13,127), marginally the lowest recorded since surveys began (the previous low was 9,850 birds in 2011).

And it had all been going so well. The conservationists of the Western Hemisphere Shorebird Reserve Network, who have been conducting this ongoing study, had been quietly hopeful that the promising increase of 15% between 2016 and 2017 would continue. But, sadly, this was not to be. For such a small population, and one that tends to stick together and move as one major flock, it’s not surprising that one setback will impact them all. And that’s what’s happened in this case.

Survival of the fattest

To pinpoint the cause, we need to travel over 10,000 km to Delaware Bay on the Atlantic coast of the USA – which is actually a stopover point on the rufa Red knot’s migration back from Tierra del Fuego, to its Spring breeding grounds in the Arctic.

To find out more….

One in eight bird species threatened with extinction, global study finds

News via the Guardian:

Report on the state of the world’s birds reveals a biodiversity crisis driven by intensive farming, with once-common species such as puffins and snowy owls now at risk.

One in eight bird species are threatened with global extinction, and once widespread creatures such as the puffin, snowy owl and turtle dove are plummeting towards oblivion, according to the definitive study of global bird populations.

The State of the World’s Birds, a five-year compendium of population data from the best-studied group of animals on the planet, reveals a biodiversity crisis driven by the expansion and intensification of agriculture.

In all, 74% of 1,469 globally threatened birds are affected primarily by farming. Logging, invasive species and hunting are the other main threats.

“Each time we undertake this assessment we see slightly more species at risk of extinction – the situation is deteriorating and the trends are intensifying,” said Tris Allinson, senior global science officer for BirdLife International, which produced the report. “The species at risk of extinction were once on mountaintops or remote islands, such as the pink pigeon in Mauritius. Now we’re seeing once widespread and familiar species – European turtle doves, Atlantic puffins and kittiwakes – under threat of global extinction.”