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March 2014 Familiar Chat N e w s l e t t e r o f B i r d L i f e B o t s w a n a What is Botswana’s National Bird? Ask around and you’ll probably get many.

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Presentation on theme: "March 2014 Familiar Chat N e w s l e t t e r o f B i r d L i f e B o t s w a n a What is Botswana’s National Bird? Ask around and you’ll probably get many."— Presentation transcript:

1 March 2014 Familiar Chat N e w s l e t t e r o f B i r d L i f e B o t s w a n a What is Botswana’s National Bird? Ask around and you’ll probably get many different answers. The internet tells us Botswana’s National Bird is the Lilac-breasted Roller – can the internet be wrong? A “reliable source” within BirdLife tells us the Lilac- breasted Roller has never been the official choice. However, Botswana is soon to adopt the less colourful – but more stately, Kori Bustard. As one of the heaviest flying birds, it can weigh up to 20Kg. It’s meat has long been considered as fit for chiefs only. These days, poaching is a serious problem and the species, like too many others, is endangered. Inside this edition – learn more about yet another of Botswana’s beautiful owls. How something as simple as a birdbath can affect the environment. Progress on helping the vultures, everything you always wanted to know about bird pooh (or not!) and a quick look at a 66 000 000 yr old oviraptorosaurus. Unusual breeding habits of the Lilac -breasted Roller and how some opportunistic species can be found in unlikely places. A quick quiz, an introduction to a new staff member and a summary of events from our Director. To learn more see BirdLife Botswana’s online Fact Sheet March 2014

2 1) Are you a FaceBook user? If so, ‘Like’ the BirdLife Botswana page so that you keep up-to-date with issues pertaining to the conservation of birds and wildlife, and the debates regarding the sustainable use of these resources. The BirdLife Botswana is vibrant page, updated daily with conservation and development news of interest. … 2) BirdLife Botswana develops a Sustainable Land Management (SLM) project around the Flamingo sanctuary (southern Sua Pan). BirdLife Botswana, supported by the Department of Forestry and Range Resources and the Depart- ment of Environmental Affairs under the Ministry of Environment, Wildlife and Tourism, is finalising a proposal to be implemented with the financial support of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the Global Environment Facility (GEF). Prevalent land and livestock management processes in Botswana’s Makgadikgadi ecosystem are likely to compromise the continued flow of ecosystem goods and services from the savannah ecosystem that are necessary to sustain the national economy, livelihoods and the rich fauna and flora diversity, including the flagship flamingos. The long-term solution proposed by the project is to mainstream SLM principles into the Sub-district-wide land-use planning, and at a few pilot sites into both livestock production (through strengthening Farmer’s Association and providing through them technical backstopping to enable farmers to improve livestock productivity whilst enhancing rangeland conditions) and arable farming (through conservation agriculture). This projects offers BirdLife Botswana an excellent opportunity to directly work with farmers, who have to a large extent been a key contributor to the threats facing globally threatened birds such as vultures, and by working with them (including through promoting community-based bird tourism projects), the future looks positive for birds and rangelands of southern Sua Pan. 3) BirdLife Botswana participated at the Botswana Wildlife Research Symposium, 4-6 February 2014 at Botswana Wildlife Training Institute (BWTI) in Maun, Botswana. Dr Kabelo Senyatso presented two papers: (1) Bird Population Monitoring: Engaging Batswana in biodiversity monitoring and testing the extent to which Botswana’s ‘ common’ birds do indicate the status of co-occuring biodiversity, which shared lessons from this magnificent citizen-science project, and (2) Optimizing financial and operational sustainability of Botswana’s protected area: key findings from the Strategic Partnerships to Improve the Financial and Operational Sustainability of Protected Areas project. Both papers were well received, and helped place BirdLife Botswana in the radar insofar as wildlife research is concerned. For more information on these projects contact Dr Kabelo Senyatso “Not yet. Don’t fly off until the moment they raise their binoculars”

3 1) Which of the following birds builds a nest that is a metre across and two metres high? a) Hamerkop b) Ringed Plover c) Shoebill d) Cattle Egret 2) This is a chick of which bird? a) Thunderflier b) Wormdigger c) Lilytrotter d) Froghopper 3) Which of the following bee-eaters hitches a ride on a Kori Bustard's (Ardeotis kori) back, using it as a moving perch to hunt insects? a)European Bee-eater b) Carmine Bee-eater c) Little Bee-eater d) White-fronted Bee-eater 4)Which of the following kingfishers is black and white? a) Pied Kingfisher b) Woodland Kingfisher b)Brown-hooded d) Malachite Kingfisher 5) All hornbills nest in tree holes in which the female bird seals herself and stays there during the entire incubation period. a)True b) False 6) Which of the following storks has an air sack dangling from its neck? a) Yellow-billed Stork b) Abdim’s Stork c) African Open-billed Stork d) Marabou Stork 7) What is an obvious difference between the Greater Flamingo (Phoenicopterus ruber) and the Lesser flamingo (Phoenicopterus minor), besides the size? a) The Greater Flamingo is a darker colour b) The Lesser Flamingo has short legs c) The Lesser Flamingo has webbed feet whilst the greater does not d) The Greater Flamingo has a black tip on pale beak whilst the Lesser has a dark red beak 8) Which of the following Louries is also called the “Go-away- bird"? a) Knysna b) Purplecrested c) Grey d) Livingstone’s 9) Which bird built this nest which might support up to 300 individuals? (no clues, it’s too easy! 10) True or False I think we consider too much the good luck of the early bird and not enough the bad luck of the early worm. Franklin D Roosevelt

4 South Africa, Botswana and Namibia are uniting in the flight to save southern Africa’s vultures. Conservationists and NGOs have recognised the need for a collaborative conservation awareness campaign across these three countries to spread the message about the urgent need to conserve vulture species on the African continent. Initial monitoring in 2013 reflected a massive decline of vulture numbers throughout southern Africa and Africa in its entirety. The number of vultures killed during 2013 escalated when elephant poachers realized that after the birds had eaten from the dead carcasses, they would take to the air in their hundreds. This "fly off" often alerted authorities to the incident, and thus began the start of heavily lacing the dead animals with poison after removing the ivory. Many believe that tens of thousands of vultures have died in this way during 2013 alone. We are now in crisis mode and these coordinated series of events are one way to bring this plight to the attention of the general public. Vultures play a vital role as free sanitary workers and are believed to avert epidemics of anthrax and botulism in livestock, wildlife and our human populations. They are also invaluable to farmers, by pinpointing dead or sick livestock, and warning of the whereabouts of poachers. A group of five people representing Vulture Conservation in South Africa, under the leadership of Ms Kerri Wolter, will tour Botswana in early April, calling in at Kasane, Maun, Ghanzi and Gaborone and giving lectures to concerned residents in these towns. Monday 7th April at 17:30 University of Botswana Room 219 Science block, near where our AGM was held last year. Anybody concerned with the plight of our vultures is invited to attend. We will serve coffee and tea and snacks at 17:00 Learn MORE 3 rd April in Kasane Phil Zappala - 4 th April in Maun 5 th April Ghanzi Kevin Grant Fight for the Plight of Vultures

5 Small birds lose more water than large birds (surface area : volume ratio) Birds get water by i)dipping the beak in water and tipping the head back ii)Dipping their beak in water and sucking iii)Holding their beaks open in the rain iv)Cellular respiration v)Food Waste produced in fish and amphibian eggs can be dissolved and carried away in the surrounding water. Waste produced in the eggs of birds and reptiles needs to be stored in a non-toxic form until hatching. Producing uric acid takes more energy than producing urea – but means birds and reptiles can reproduce on land Birds would not be able to fly if they had to carry water for making urine. Birds pooh around 20 times a day… Bird pooh has three components i)greeny/black pasty solid – from the digestive system ii)White liquidy stuff – uric acid from the kidneys iii)Clear liquid urine - makes pooh appear glossy Some birds produce only white pooh – any indigestible solid waste is regurgitated as pellets. Birds often pooh as they take off to fly – ridding themselves of excess weight Parent birds remove pooh from nests to avoid a tell-tale mess underneath Bird pooh is valued as a fertiliser (especially that from seabirds) and was used to make gunpowder (pigeon coops were well guarded to prevent theft!) Dog pooh is smellier than bird pooh because it stays in the body long enough to ferment – and because a dog’s diet is mainly meat which contains proteins high in sulphates Birds have a multi-purpose cloaca, the orifice through which they expel waste, lay eggs and have sex. The digestive and excretary systems empty into the cloaca but waste does not have time to mix before being expelled / / Birds need water to live, They need to get rid of the waste products of metabolism More water is lost through evaporative cooling when it is hot The more active the bird the more water it needs Birds cannot control when they release their waste. Birds lose water when they exhale and through their skin (even though they have no sweat glands) and when they get rid of waste All animals produce poisonous nitrogenous waste during the breakdown of proteins. This needs to be excreted. Birds (and reptiles) excrete uric acid, which is insoluble and non toxic, mammals produce urea which is toxic and needs diluting with lots of water. Oh POOH! Migrating birds can’t just drop down for a drink in mid-Atlantic, but they still need to get rid of their cellular waste.

6 2) African Jacana (Actophilornis africanus) - It is called lilytrotter because of its ability to walk over waterlilies and other aquatic plants using its very long toes. It is also called "Jesus bird" because it appears as if it is walking on the surface of the water. The strange thing about this extraordinary bird is that the female mates with up to four different males and then the males incubate the eggs when they are hatched. The best place to see an African Jacana is in the Okavango region of Botswana. 3) The Carmine Bee-eater has a body length of 38cm and red and pink plumage and occurs in very large flocks. They usually feed over grassland and follow animal herds where they can find plenty of insects. They even rest on the backs of grazing animals, ostriches or bustards from where they swoop to eat any insect passing by. Their nesting colonies can be found on cliffs near rivers and consist of thousands of pairs, each with their own separate nest. The Carmine Bee-eater is partially migrant. 4) The Pied Kingfisher (Ceryle rudis) is the only kingfisher that hovers above the water with its head looking down before diving to catch a fish or an insect. The Malachite Kingfisher is mostly blue, orange and white, the Woodland Kingfisher is blue while the Brown-hooded Kingfisher is grey, brown, black and blue 6) The Marabou Stork (Leptoptilos crumeniferus) is one of the world's largest flying birds, standing around 150cm high. It is mostly a scavenger and is often seen together with vultures eating animal carcasses, although it can also hunt and kill live prey such as fish, insects and small birds. The air sack hanging from its neck is used for various kinds of display behaviour. 7) These two species of flamingo often occur together, but do not compete with each other because the Greater Flamingo eats larger organisms while the Lesser Flamingo feeds mainly on blue-green algae. They both feed in shallow water by filtering small organisms with their bill 8) The Grey Lourie (Corythaixoides concolor) inhabits open woodlands and is quite common. It is called the “Go-away bird" because of its call: 'kwaaaay' 9) Amazingly it is true. The nests are constructed in camelthorns or on telegraph poles and have more then 50 entrances. A very strange fact concerning this nest is that it works like an air conditioner, keeping the chambers cool when the weather is hot and warm on cold winter nights. The Sociable Weaver spends its entire life in this nest, although other birds frequently take over some parts, such as Pygmy Falcons. 5) Hornbills nest in cavities, usually in large trees. In all species except the two ground hornbills (Bucorvus), the male walls in the female on the nest, closing the hole with mud except for a small opening through which he passes food. After the eggs hatch, the female breaks out, but the young may be walled in again.eggs 1) The strangest aspect of Hamerkop behavior is the huge nest, sometimes more than 1.5 metres (4 ft 11 in) across, comprising perhaps 10,000 sticks and strong enough to support a man's weight. The birds decorate the outside with any bright-coloured objects they can find. When possible, they build the nest in the fork of a tree, often over water

7 THE AFRICAN - EURASIAN WATERBIRD AGREEMENT What is it? The Agreement on the Conservation of African-Eurasian Migratory Water-birds (AEWA) is an inter- governmental treaty dedicated to the conservation of migratory water-birds and their habitats across Africa, Europe, the Middle East, Central Asia, Greenland and the Canadian Archipelago. Developed under the framework of the Convention on Migratory Species (CMS) and administered by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), AEWA brings together countries and the wider international conservation community in an effort to establish coordinated conservation and management of migratory water-birds throughout their entire migratory range. What is the status of AEWA in Botswana? Botswana is not yet a signatory to the agreement and BirdLife Botswana and the Department of Wildlife and National Parks are facilitating the process of acceding through funding from the Government of Switzerland via the AEWA secretariat and the United Nations Development Programme. BLB has carried out obligatory consultation with stakeholders. 1)Bilateral meetings with stakeholders were conducted 2)An online survey was administered to all stakeholders 3)A multi-stakeholder workshop was conducted on the 5 th - 6 th November 2013 at Maharaja Conference Centre. The workshop attracted the Acting AEWA Acting Executive Secretary, The AEWA African Initiative Coordinator, Director of the DWNP, the Deputy Director of the Department of Environmental Affairs, Attorney General ’ s Chambers, Department of Waste Management and Pollution Control, Department of Water Affairs, Water Utilities Corporation, and many other representatives from critical Departments. All this was done to establish whether Botswana is in a position to accede or not and to deliberate on the pros and cons of accession should Botswana decide to do it. BirdLife Botswana has drafted a paper that reviews some of the major legislation that may affect accession, the advantages and disadvantages of accession and lastly explores regional strategies and action plans regarding trans-boundary conservation. The result of the multi-stakeholder workshop was a declaration which shows how the Ministry of Environment, Wildlife and Tourism, BirdLife Botswana and stakeholders commit to continue to support the country ’ s bid to accede to the agreement. The next step in the accession process will be the drafting of ratification instruments and the ultimate accession by Botswana. The team will keep you, the reader informed throughout the process of accession. Michael Cranwell Molaodi Local Empowerment Coordinator (BirdLife Botswana) (

8 Introducing Vulture Safe Zones …. In order for vulture populations to recover, and to provide a safe environment for breeding birds, use of poisons, especially those that are very dangerous to vultures like Diclofenac must be virtually eliminated throughout the species ’ range. This is a huge challenge, but one which must be undertaken to prevent the loss of vultures forever. Our campaign is doing vital awareness raising and advocacy, targeting grass roots level in local communities where vultures are still found. The vision is to provide Vulture Safe Zones replicated across their range, Free from poison use, vultures might eventually be released in these areas. The vulture restaurant tactic (providing safe food in designated areas) is still under discussion. Tsogo Bethel Vulture Awareness Campaign Co-Ordinator Birdlife has launched an awareness campaign “ I want Botswana Vulture ALIVE not DEAD ” which aims to compile existing information and formulate this into a working national monitoring system. Strong cooperation between conservation organizations, government departments - especially the Department of Wildlife and National Parks, community based organizations and other non-governmental organizations will lead to the development of educational materials and other communication resources. As the most efficient and natural consumer of dead animal remains, vultures play a vital role in ecosystems. They clean the environment of rotting carcasses and help to prevent the spread of diseases. However, in Botswana, they remain CRITICALLY ENDANGERED. The population has crashed because of The use of some types of drugs on livestock, which are toxic to vultures, The use of poisons by poachers to limit signalization of poaching sides by vultures Farmers using poison as a method of predator control Spreading the message of the dangers to vultures from poisons and promoting alternative livestock drugs, and regulation of poisonous substances that enter Botswana are vital in order to save the vultures from extinction. The sight of rotting carcasses on roadsides – with associated bad smells - is becoming common as the vultures which used to consume them are disappearing

9 This fifth Owl article is dedicated to the Barn Owl, which is the world’s most numerous owl species and also is found in all parts of Botswana. It has an extensive world distribution as it is found across five continents and on many islands and is probably the best known owl in Botswana. Males and females are similar in size and are usually found in pairs, wherever they occur. The Barn Owl is medium-sized and looks paler in colour than other owl species found here. This paleness is referred to by its scientific name, Tyto alba. Alba means white, however the Barn Owl is not really white but is much paler than most other owls found in Botswana. It does have a distinctive white, heart-shaped face (facial disc) and dark eyes. The Barn Owl does not have any “ear” tufts such as those on the Spotted and Giant Eagle Owls. While the upperparts of its body are covered with orange-grey feathers with black and white spotting on them, the underparts are a very pale orange-white with some darker spots. At night the underparts appear almost white. As this owl, like most others, has special feathers that allow it to fly without making a sound it sometimes frightens people at night who say it just suddenly appears in the dark of the night like a ghost. Because of this, over time stories and beliefs that owls are evil, dangerous or bring bad luck have been handed down as folklore – even to present generations who also might believe, although these are myths and not based on scientific proof. However, these beliefs have caused many owls to be killed by people, which is unfortunate as Barn Owls, and other owls, actually help people by preying on rodents that eat people’s stored grain or food supplies and destroy things in houses and other buildings. Barn Owls are very vocal and pairs call to each other often. The call is a shrill, eerie screech given when they are flying or when they are on a perch. These screeching calls are often accompanied by hissing sounds, which together probably cause some people to fear them. While some cultures fear owls for the reasons given above, in other cultures owls are accepted and seen as symbols of wisdom and scholarship. People need to understand the beneficial role that owls have in keeping rodents and other such pests under control naturally and learn to appreciate and protect owls. Barn Owls are found in most habitats except for forests, and as their name indicates they also are attracted to places of human habitation. They like buildings like barns and old abandoned buildings, caves, mineshafts and even Hamerkop nests where they can rest in dark areas during the day. OWLS # 5

10 Although a Barn Owl’s diet is varied, abundant and easily caught prey usually makes up its daily diet. When there is an abundance of prey animals such as mice or gerbils they can reproduce rapidly. Rodents, other small mammals like shrews and gerbils, other birds, reptiles and insects can all be part of their diet. Although Barn Owls usually breed at the end of the rainy season, if there is lots of food/prey available they can, and do, breed at any time of the year. During the times of plenty more owls breed and they also lay a greater number of eggs than their usual clutch (eggs laid in a nest) of 5-6. A record is 19 eggs laid in one nest. At times when there is little food available Barn Owls may not breed at all Interestingly, in the 1 November 2013 issue of the Farmer’s Weekly from South Africa, grain farmers are warned that due to certain conditions there has been a significant increase in gerbil (a small desert/ dry area burrowing rodent with long hind legs adapted to leaping) populations in the North West that need to be controlled now before they multiply even more and destroy entire crops. The article suggests ways of destroying gerbils’ underground burrows and by using poisons, but suggests that the most effective natural way to control them is to attract owls by building and placing owl nest boxes and perches near their grain fields. Owls do not make their own nests but use nests constructed by other birds or animals, however some such as Barn Owls readily use man-made nest boxes. See the June 2011 Familiar Chat for diagrams and instructions on how to construct a Barn Owl box – which can also be modified for other owls, or contact the BirdLife Botswana office for a copy. Almost everyone knows what an owl is yet many have never seen one. Since most owls are nocturnal they are not always easy to see. But evidence of owls being present is easy to find – if you know what to look for. Because owls, like other birds, do not have teeth to chew their food, they either swallow their prey whole or tear off pieces to eat. Parts of the food/prey such as bones and hair are not digestible, and are compacted and spat out by the owl. These compacted remains are called pellets and the size and shape of a pellet can also help identify what species of owl made them. Pellets can be found near perches and places where owls rest during the day or in areas where they are nesting. Pellets can be softened with water and then separated to be able to see and identify what prey items the owls have been eating. By examining pellets in this way scientists have even found new species of small mammals that they didn’t know occurred in an area. So collect some owl pellets if you see them and find out for yourself what they are eating. If the pellets contain bones of animals but no heads/skulls, or just skulls and no bones it indicates that the owl has chicks and is removing the heads from the prey items that might be difficult for the chicks to swallow. Sometimes the adult owl will then swallow These heads and then spit them up again in a pellet. So go out and look for some owl pellets and see what surprises you might find inside. Doreen McColaugh Resources consulted for this article: -A Beginner’s Guide OWLS by G. Lockwood, Birds of Botswana by K. Newman Nests & Eggs of Southern Africa by W. TarbotonOwls & Owling in Southern Africa by W. Tarboton & R. Erasmus

11 Orapa Today and Tomorrow Through the Orapa, Letlhakane and Damtshaa Mines Sustainability Department (OLDM), Debswana are anticipating a time when the diamonds in the Boteti District Kimberlite pipes will have been exhausted. They have set up a focus group called ‘Orapa Today and Tomorrow’ which is involved in developing structures outside the mine, for example in Tourism related fields. It is the aim of OLDM to encourage local communities to view their surroundings in a more environmentally friendly way. To see the natural environment as essential to economic survival and to see how the natural environment depends on our care if it is to sustain the local economy in the future. An event was held at Boteti House Primary school, attended by teachers and pupils from the school and representatives of Debswana, led by Tumelo Ntlavakgosi, the Environmental Manager for Orapa Township. Peter D’arcy, representing BirdLife Botswana, handed over birdbaths to the school. These birdbaths had been donated by Debswana. In his address, Mr D’arcy explained why birds are an important part of our environment. Why should I have a Birdbath? Birds need water in all seasons. They need it to bathe and keep their feathers in tip-top condition for good insulation against the sun’s harsh rays in summer and the cold in winter as well as for efficient flight. Splashing in the water also helps control parasites. They need it to drink, too. Seed-eating birds in particular need water, as their main food source is very dry. Insect-eaters need more water in the winter because they do not eat as many juicy caterpillars. An ornamental, especially designed birdbath looks good in your garden, but a shallow dish or an upturned dustbin lid sunk into the ground will also work. It needs to be shallow, the garden birds we are targeting do not swim, they only paddle. A small rock in the middle will help the birds reach the water easily. Clean it often, as a layer of algae, dead leaves and bird droppings soon builds up. Site your birdbath carefully; birds need clear visibility, nearby bushes for cover and perches on which to sit and preen. It should be safe from predators, especially domestic cats. A pond provides water for birds, but make sure that it has at least one shallow side – it will attract plenty of other wildlife to your garden, too. Remember to break the ice on your birdbath in very cold weather. (adapted from RSPB A-Z of WildLife gardens)

12 The conservation of birds influences directly the survival of many types of plant. Birds are the means by which many plants distribute their seeds. The seeds may stick to their feathers and be carried to other places where they will fall to the ground and germinate. The berries from the Mopipi tree contain seeds that birds eat and then defecate in another place through their droppings. Such droppings may provide a natural fertiliser for these seeds - an advantage for successful germination and growth. They help the plant kingdom as pollinators and also as agents for the dispersal of seeds. Bird extinctions and population reductions in the 21st century may disrupt ecosystems and lead to the extinction of dependent plant species. This is what nearly happened to a number of plant species on Mauritius when the Dodo became extinct! They help control human pests such as mosquitos, flies and other insects, rodents etc. They wake us in the mornings at our homes, cattle posts and lands with their dawn chorus. Nowadays birds attract tourists which is important for the Orapa Game Park and increasingly for the the surrounding communities where Community Trusts are growing up to help exploit tourism in and around Makgadigadi and along the Boteti River. Further, birds are part of all ecosystems and without them there is imbalance in our environment. For the last three centuries, industrial, agricultural and other human developments have increasingly degraded habitats and caused this natural balance to become insecure. Almost all bird species worldwide have been affected directly or indirectly by these negative changes. Change in many environments is indicated by variation in the numbers and distribution of the bird species that are commonly found there. The disappearance of some bird species from any environment is a critical indicator that the environment is changing drastically. As such it is the responsibility of all of us to avoid such situations happening. The very simple activity of looking at the birds around us is therefore a way of assessing the condition of our environment. In spite of the fact that bird species are important to maintain an ecological balance, many species are being threatened by habitat loss, human persecution and introduced predators. BirdLife Botswana is an NGO affiliated with similar conservation organisations numbering more than 125 across the globe. Within Botswana it has identified around 20 species that are potentially or actually threatened within our borders. Of these, 4 are found in the Orapa Game Park. These are: the Lappet-faced Vulture, White-backed Vulture, Kori Bustard and Martial Eagle. Bird tourism is a growing industry. The potential for Orapa Game Park is great. In line with the “Orapa Today and Tomorrow” initiative, tourism is one of the activities that will ensure the creation of income to the Orapa community, post mine closure. The influx of tourists in the area will not only create revenue, but it will also safeguard jobs, therefore it is important to take action with regard to biodiversity conservation.” So what role can we play? The simplest practice is promoting bird conservation awareness. This includes sharing bird information with other community members, taking part in conservation programmes and staying informed about local bird issues. Together with the Orapa Game Park, let us strive to protect the birds in our area. The representatives from the primary schools were asked to find a place where their birdbaths would be prominently displayed. The position should be protected from animals such as cats, and where children may see but not disturb the birds that will come to drink and wash themselves. The teachers were asked to organise a group of students from within their schools to take turns to keep some water in their bird-baths throughout the year. WHY DO WE NEED BIRDS? Peter D’arcy BirdLife Botswana “ Each one of us has a role to play in ensuring that the message on protection of birds and their habitats is spread within Botswana and beyond for the benefit of current and future generations.”

13 Three metres long and 225Kg in mass - it’s unlikely you will meet this OVIRAPTOROSAURUS on a Sunday morning bird walk! With long limbs, a stubby tail, - likely framed by a fan of tail feathers, a short, parrot like beak and with a bony crest on the skull, this monster was a native of North America sixty six million years ago, (the Cretaceous period). Recently discovered fossils showed no direct evidence, but the species was so closely related to birds that it was very likely covered in feathers that looked identical to those of modern birds. An ancestor of modern birds or a relative that became extinct – scientists are not sure. No one knows why the dino needed feathers-—courtship displays and insulation are two theories—but the scientists do know it’s environment was hot. Physical features on the North American skeletons indicate Anzu dined on a variety of items from the Cretaceous smorgasbord, including vegetation, small animals, and possibly eggs. Small prongs of bone found on the skulls' palates may have helped the dinosaurs swallow eggs; the same prongs are found today in egg- eating snakes. The dinosaur also had big hands with large, curved claws, which are usually found on animals that grab small prey to shove down their throats. The Anzu's jaw shape suggested it could shear pieces off plants. Adapted from - Christine Dell'Amore National GeographicNational Geographic PUBLISHED MARCH 19, 2014 Going Back in Time……. A short introduction - I am a volunteer of JICA ( Japanese International Cooperation Agency). My assignment is to work in BirdLife on a project to develop eco-tourism, with a focus on birds. My previous job was as a tour guide and an agent of a travel agency in Japan. My specialty was to organise school trips and educational conferences. I am sure I can use my experience to help me in my assignment with BirdLife. I love any kind of nature activity, so I can't wait to participate in a birdwalk - I've heard it's fun. My recent hobby is rock climbing. If anyone knows about climbing area or climbers, I'd really love to get some info about it. Something Old Someone New Shougo Moroishi

14 Lilac-breasted Roller Breeding Account November 2013 This is a short report on the breeding of a pair of Lilac-breasted Rollers (Coracias caudata) for a second time in the same 2013/2014 season. On 3 November 2013, two surviving chicks left the nest-log placed in an acacia thorn tree in my garden in Francistown. A full report on the observations made has already been submitted to Birdlife Botswana for possible publication. Neither the two fledged chicks nor the two adult rollers left the garden surrounds but kept in close proximity of the nest. The chicks were still very dependent on the parents for food and could be seen and heard calling when the parents were within sight. There was much noisy to-ing and fro-ing by the four birds. I noted that the female, identified by her lost tail streamer, kept returning to the nest-log and disappearing inside for brief periods. The behaviour continued for several days with the chicks still being fed inside and outside of the garden boundary wall. One day, I was observing the antics of the adults when I noticed the male mounting the female. Copulation seemed to take place but I really did not imagine that this could have been another mating so soon after the first brood. Their behaviour continued to intrigue me as the fledged birds were still being fed by both parents but the female was spending more and more time inside the nest. To satisfy my curiosity, I waited until I was certain that both adults were away from the nest and managed to examine the inside of the nest. Using a small 12v battery and torch bulb, I lowered the attached cable into the hole. It was then that my suspicions were founded. In a mirror poked into the now-illuminated log, I could see three immaculate white eggs. This was 12 November 2013, not even two weeks after the previous brood had flown. Needless to report, the garden was now a hive of activity with the parents taking turn in incubation and still feeding the ever-ravenous fledglings. On 6 December 2013, on examining the nest, I could see that one egg had hatched. The usual food items were brought in to feed the new brood. Very small beetles and grass-hoppers to start with and as the nestlings grew, larger prey such as centipedes and very small lizards. After a few days, I checked the nest to see what progress was being made and, sadly, saw the lifeless body of a chick. So, there was a brood of two again – just like the previous breeding. Prey brought to the nest included much larger lizards and insects. It is now 2 January 2014 and the two chicks are still in the nest. This particular morning, there was great commotion when the two fledged chicks which had hitherto been largely absent from the garden, had paid a visit. They flew into the nest-hole as if to greet the new chicks. However, their presence was not appreciated by the adults which flew in very noisily and attempted to chase off the “intruders”. So for a few hours, there were six rollers within the confines of my garden! In past years, where I have made observations on nesting rollers, I have never seen this kind of behaviour. These older chicks have been extremely reluctant to leave their birth site, much to the apparent annoyance of the parents. So, once again, the current belief that Lilac-breasted Rollers are single- brooded has again been proved incorrect. Mike Soroczynski FRANCISTOWN 3 January 2014 05/12/13 1 day old roller chick

15 You could write a book about waste paper, (and create more waste while you were doing it!) but I’ve been limited to 500 words! Do you ever wonder what happens to all the rubbish that you throw away? Well firstly not everything you throw away is rubbish nor is it wasted! Several people make a living out of other peoples’ rubbish and all of it tells a story. Lets take a wander through the waste world of paper. Paper comes in all sorts of grades: Egg boxes, Cereal boxes, Cardboard boxes, Newspaper, Tissue broke, Magazines, Books, Duplicate slip books, Tri colour invoice books, carbonized computer paper, white printing paper, photocopy paper, to name but a few! Waste cardboard tells a story in itself….all sorts of boxes. It reminds me of that song “Little Boxes’ every time I see the pile of cardboard in the warehouse, with all the different colour printing. Looking into the piles of cardboard you get a very good idea of where different goods are coming from, Beer from Namibia, chicken from Brazil, tv’s and furniture from China, Medicines & prawns from India, glass from Dubai, car parts from America, and recently a box from Taiwan with all the words in Chinese so I couldn’t tell what had been in it! But what happens to these waste boxes? Lets follow a cardboard box through its cycle. A box comes from any place in the world. Eventually it hopefully arrives, not in a landfill, but at a paper salvage site. There it is cleaned of any plastic and then, together with many other cardboard boxes, it is made into a bale weighing between 110kgs and 450 kgs depending on the size of the baler. These bales are then loaded onto a truck and taken to Adapt and Survive in a new Environment

16 a paper mill, where they will eventually be made into more cardboard for another cardboard box!. Office paper is another story. Did you know that toilet paper, napkins, tissues are all made from “waste” office papers? Very careful sorting is necessary. If invoice books ( which have glued ends) are mixed with these papers, your toilet paper will have lots of little holes in it! Photocopier paper will give black spots in your tissues. Paper bags, which have both white and brown paper and glue, and usually very vibrant coloured printing, are the most difficult paper to recycle. In the white mix the brown paper will make the tissue look muddy. In the cardboard mix the white paper will make spots of white in the liner paper for boxes, and the glue will make holes in any paper made from the bags. At last to counteract this some paper mills have invested in refiners which remove these problems. Not only does “waste” paper create a living for a lot of people it also provides food for birds! In the early morning or late evening there will be lots of birds – sparrows, both the House sparrow and the Cape Sparrow, Cape Wagtails, Bronze Manikins, Black- chested Prinias, Blue Waxbills, and of course doves, all congregating on the pavement outside the warehouse, picking up all the food scraps which have come together with the boxes and papers. Suzanne Coleman

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