Rural birds disappear at breakneck speed (reports)

Birds living in agricultural areas are disappearing at a "vertiginous speed" in France, with populations that have on average reduced by a third in 15 years, alert Tuesday the CNRS and the Museum of Natural History. [19659002] The populations living in cultivated agricultural areas have clearly decreased and this trend has intensified further in 2016 and 2017, show the re-surveys made since 1989 by the "Temporary Monitoring of Common Birds" (STOC), which, within the Museum, also monitors the situation in cities and forests

For the Museum and the CNRS, this decline in the countryside "reaches a level close to the ecological catastrophe."

"We do not take great risks by saying that agricultural practices are well at the origin of this acceleration of the decline, "said AFP Grégoire Loïs, deputy director of Viginature, who oversees STOC, because the birds do not decline at the same pace in others circles.

"It there is a slight decline in the rest of the territory, but nothing to do in terms of amplitude "with agricultural areas, he adds.

In agricultural areas, species such as the skylark, the warbler grisette or ortolan sparrow have lost an average of one in three in fifteen years.

Another study, conducted by the CNRS since 1995 in the Deux-Sèvres, 160 areas of 10 hectares of a typical cereals plain French agricultural territories, comes to drive the nail.

According to this research, in 23 years, all species of lowland birds have seen their populations melt: the lark has lost more than one in three (-35% ), and partridge eight out of ten individuals.

All species are concerned, probably due to the "collapse of insects," note the two institutions.

This massive disappearance is concomitant to the intensification of practices in the last 25 years, particularly 2008-2009, a period which corresponds, inter alia, to the end of the fallows imposed by the Common Agricultural Policy, to the soaring wheat prices, to the resumption of the nitrate over-amendment allowing for over-protein wheat and to the generalization of neonicotinoid insecticides, adds their communiqué.

Observe the birds, a passion without age limit in Colombia

Binoculars in hand, Juan David Camacho walks the jungle. At 10, he is the youngest bird watcher in Colombia but dreams big. His country, a paradise for bird watchers, is the world's number one bird species, and the little boy intends to see them all.

"We leave very early with our cameras , binoculars, tripods and we watch the birds until around noon, in silence, "he said quietly. Without stopping to take a look here and there: there is no question of missing the rare specimen that would land on a branch around Lake Herons, Cali.

Soccer buff like most Colombians, Juan David discovers another passion when his father takes him one day to observe the birds. "The first outings with my dad did not please me too much, but afterwards, if!", He admits mutinous to AFP. It was three years ago.

Since then, once a month, he travels through the tropical forests around Cali, the third largest city in the country with about 2.5 million inhabitants.

Nestled in the heart of the vast expanse of the Valle del Cauca (southwest) and the Andean cordillera, this municipality, which extends from 900 to 4,100 m of altitude, counts "562 species of birds, much more than in all the "Europe", says the expert Carlos Wagner

– Zones prohibited by the war –

"I have already seen 491 and taken 200 in photo", rejoices Juan David. In February, he was at the International Bird Festival, which attracts more than 15,000 people each year to Cali, and gave a lecture on his "Three Years of Passion for Birds."

Too small to reach the lectern On the stage, he grabbed the microphone and commented on the expedition images he and his parents, computer scientist and lawyer, and sometimes other feathered creature lovers. None of them are as young as the child. Some might be his great-grandparents.

The second largest country in the world for its rich biodiversity, after Brazil eight times bigger, Colombia is the one with the most bird species: more than 1,920 19% of those on the planet.

A huge part of the territory, the red zones of the armed conflict, remains to be explored thanks to the ongoing peace process with the guerrillas.

"This is a tropical country, a point of contact between wildlife and North America and South America.In addition, in Colombia, the Andes are divided into three mountain ranges, with multiple valleys (…) so many ecosystems where evolved many species, "says Wagner , 40, director of the festival of Cali.

This other enthusiast grew up in the surrounding countryside, near the San Antonio Forest, site of the first ever great ornithological expedition to Colombia in 1910 by the New York Museum of Natural History.

– L 'avitourism, an economic alternative –

Threatened by deforestation, this 900-hectare eden has been classified as Important Area for Bird Conservation (AICA in Spanish, IBA in English) in 2004 by the great British NGO BirdLife. "But because IAISs were not legally recognized in Colombia, there was no guarantee that they would be respected," says Wagner.

With a project of end of studies in zootechnics on the avitourism, he then strikes, with other enthusiasts of ecology, to sensitize the inhabitants so that they preserve the forest and welcome, against retribution, bird watchers. "We are great romantics, but the farmers have needs: they cut down the trees to cultivate," he admits.

Although Colombia is the kingdom of birds, observation tourism is poorly developed. [19659002] But the government has become aware of this potential source of income. He expects in the future "14,978 observers per year, who would spend nearly nine million dollars", according to a projection of the Ministry of Tourism. Most currently come from the United States, Canada, Argentina and the United Kingdom.

In the forest of San Antonio, a dozen places and guides already welcome observers, at the rate of 15,000 to 20,000 pesos (about 5 to 6.5 dollars) visit.

Olga Gomez, who raises rabbits, turned his small farm of one hectare into a paradise for birds. From white arum trees to red heliconias, the flowers are there to seduce them.

"We have observed up to 25 species, including 18 hummingbirds," says this 66-year-old smiling lady, who keeps a record of visitors to his Finca La Conchita: a thousand in one year.

– Rare Species –

Higher up the mountain, at Finca Alejandria, clouds of hummingbirds of all colors also flutter around red saucers of sweet water. Other species feast on bananas placed on bamboo platforms.

A French family from Amiens marvels. "In our large northern plains, trees have disappeared because of extensive agriculture, we see fewer and fewer birds, and here it's magic!" Says father Marc Bulcourt, 62, a nurse retirement

Then comes a multicolored callist, one of the 79 endemic bird species of Colombia. "Any observer wants to see it at least once before dying!" Exclaims Mr. Wagner, pointing to an extremely rare Multicolored Chlorochrysa Nitidissima, the scientific name of this small turquoise, yellow, and lime green bird.

If Juan David has already seen, he does not intend to abandon his quest: "I have not yet seen a condor," he says. The iconic bird of the Andes is threatened, its populations increasingly reduced, so difficult to observe.

"When I visited all of Colombia, I would like to go to other countries," said the child who dreams, of course, to become an ornithologist.

Motorcyclists in Wales are killed after their helmets hit by birds

A bird in Wales has triggered the death of a local biker. The biker named Robert Patterson was killed after the bird hit his helmet as he advanced his motorcycle at a speed of 96 km per hour.

As reported by British media, The Telegraph Thursday (2/22/2010) Patterson, 51, suffered a skull fracture when a pheasant suddenly came out of the hedge and crashed into his helmet. At the time Patterson was driving with a friend on the outskirts of Wales.

The incident occurred in November 2017, but the results of his investigation were just released this week. The results of the investigation suggest that Patterson's colleagues who rode in the latter could only see a collection of feathers just before the collision occurred.

"Something looked at him – he just collapsed from his motorcycle and went off course," said Patterson's friend, Andrew Edwards, who was driving behind him.

 Robert Patterson Robert Patterson Photo: Daily Post Wales

The results of the investigation also referred to the bird regarding Patterson helmet cover. Due to this bird collision, Patterson helmet is damaged.

"It must have been surprising to find this bird flying and crashing into her face," said North Wales Coroner, Dewi Pritchard Jones, in the report's conclusion of Patterson's tragic death. "The pheasant must have been in the helmet, and my confidence is that it causes the head to push back and trigger a crack at the base of the skull," he added.

Post mortem examination of Patterson's body shows the strength of the 2.7-kilogram female pheasant while crashing a Patterson helmet was enough to make the skull fracture. "It had a significant impact, it was a sudden death, Patterson suffered many injuries including a blow to the head and facial wound, as well as a skull fracture," said a local pathologist, Dr. Mark Lord.

Patterson who works as a window cleaner leaves a wife and four children aged between 7-28 years.

(nvc / rna)

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