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June 20131 FAMILIAR CHAT JUNE 2013 SLIDE INDEX 1)Introduction 2)i. Bird Communication 3)ii. Bird Communication 4)iii. Bird Communication 5)iv. Dawn Chorus.

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Presentation on theme: "June 20131 FAMILIAR CHAT JUNE 2013 SLIDE INDEX 1)Introduction 2)i. Bird Communication 3)ii. Bird Communication 4)iii. Bird Communication 5)iv. Dawn Chorus."— Presentation transcript:


2 June 20131 FAMILIAR CHAT JUNE 2013 SLIDE INDEX 1)Introduction 2)i. Bird Communication 3)ii. Bird Communication 4)iii. Bird Communication 5)iv. Dawn Chorus 6)Fostering Partnerships 7)BirdLife News 8)BirdWord 9)Bird Spots 10)Laughing Doves 11)Keeping Plants Alive during Water Shortage 12)Important Bird Areas 13)Assessing IBAs 14)Thinking about BLBs Future 15)Owls (part 2) 16)Owls 17)Vulture Champion – Kalahari Rest 18)Xigera Bird Recognition (A few lbjs) (Dont look if you want to test yourself!!) 1)Familiar Chat 2)Rattling Cisticola 3)Zitting Cisticola 4)Redbilled Quelea 5)Chinspot Batis Thanks to Ian N White for use of his photos. Bird sounds from NB This form of presentation is still experimental. If you have problems opening the files, please let me know. If you have ideas or suggestions about formats best for emailing etc. I will be grateful! Janet

3 Familiar Chat Did you know that many birds are much better songsters than most humans and this is despite the fact that they lack vocal chords. Rather, birds produce sounds in a structure called the syrinx, which mammals lack. This structure is suspended in an air sac at the base of the neck, and sounds are produced by exhaled air causing vibrations of thin membranes within the syrinx. Daphne Goldsworthy (Familiar Chat Sept 05) 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 Dear Members It is easy to spend hour upon hour browsing the internet for interesting articles about birds. Feel free to send them for inclusion in future editions of the Familiar Chat, but I still need the local touch - please send items about what your local group is doing and I will ask the staff in the office to keep us informed about what is happening there. The theme of this edition of the Chat is birdsong. But Im also trying to highlight the importance of BirdLife Botswana to conservation in Botswana by including articles on IBAs and Bird Migratory Day. Ive tried to convert as much of the info as I can into beak sized portions, but Ive put links or web addresses to items I think interesting, but which are too long to include. Double click on the speaker symbols and see what happens! Thanks Janet This newsletter is in the Powerpoint format. You need to download (not view) it to get the sound effects. I find it easiest to open hyperlinks by right clicking the link and then left clicking open hyperlink. If you have a problem please let me know which version of PowerPoint you are using, Ill see if I can help! 1 June 20132 Do birds sing only to attract mates and repel rivals – or do they enjoy it?

4 Bird Communication Adapted from an article by Tony Whitehead, education officer for the RSPB in the South West Birds use their voices to communicate with other birds. Using voice is a particularly efficient way to communicate over distance, especially when you are small and live in dense habitats such as woodlands. A bird call says something clear and unambiguous about the caller (I'm a robin and I'm worried about that cat down there is 'tick, tick tick'). And, as communication is a two way thing, these calls have to influence the behaviour of the birds listening (that robin 'tick, ticking' over there is worried about something, I'd better be on my guard too). Bird song is a very specialised form of bird call that, unlike all the quacks, honks and tweets we hear throughout the year, serves one function only – to ensure the breeding success of the singer, to indicate clearly that the singer is healthy and fit and ready to breed. It's largely a boy thing, designed so that other females of the same species are attracted and males of the same species are repelled. 2 3 3June 2013

5 Theme tunes (Bird Commumication cont.) Each species has its own signature song, each song is different, because, first of all it has to identify the singer's species. Females need to know this if they are to choose the right partner! A long, loud song indicates a bird in good condition. In some species, a wide variety of sounds in a song is especially attractive to the ladies.. All this, just so that the female can judge the quality of a potential father. For other males too, simply listening to a song delivered with bravado will often be enough to cause them to seek space and females elsewhere. And this, most importantly, saves them having to come to blows to see who's the best, which long ago, bird evolution determined was a massive waste of time and effort and very much a last resort. As bird song is part of the breeding cycle, most birds sing in the breeding season. They are prompted to start singing, it appears, by increasing daylight (more light sets their little hormones racing and in response, they sing). They stop singing when they start moulting, as the last thing you want to do when your feathers start falling out and you are not quite as quick off your perch is to advertise your presence to predators. A moulting hawk 4June 2013

6 The Dawn Chorus (Bird Commumication cont.) Some birds, of course, sing in winter, but this is linked to defending feeding territories rather than breeding. Just as there is a seasonal cycle to bird song there is also a daily cycle, with the most intense period being at first light, the so called 'dawn chorus'. Why sing so intensely at dawn though? First of all, male birds may die overnight if they have not been able to feed well during the previous day. So, first light is a time when when birds can announce their survival, and this advertises something of their feeding abilities to potential mates - and of course, it's important that females know if males can find food or not, especially when they will be relying on this after their chicks have hatched. Also, a side product is that birds looking for territories can hear where the spaces are and move in. Secondly, many females lay eggs at first light and immediately after this are at their most fertile. This is a time when males need to fend off other potential suitors, and as we now know, song is a key way they do this. Hence the dawn chorus. Well, this is what is suggested and there are a few other suggestions as well, such as dawn being a still, quiet time and thus sound carries better. Another theory is that because birds can't feed in early light, they sing to occupy the time. The sounds of the Dawn Chorus are becoming less common in the UK. as the State of The UKs Birds report reveals that populations of both summer migrants and resident species are declining. Cuckoos 62% Nightingales 52% over past 20 years Turtle Doves 93% Blackbirds 15% Song Thrush 50% over past 40 years WHY? Habitat destruction and Climate change have affected migratory species spending the European winter in Africa. Residents are being affected by pesticides and habitat destruction Common Blackbird (UK) 5June 2013

7 Fostering partnerships It is widely acknowledged that one plus one does not equal three – except in the world of partnerships. Department of Wildlife & National Parks (DWNP) and BirdLife Botswana have aptly demonstrated that truism. All BirdLife Botswanas programmes are consistent with the mission of DWNP and the organization has taken the lead in promoting the concept of co-management as well as developing a model to enhance financial sustainability of Botswanas Protected Areas. Through their species programme, BirdLife Botswana strives to conserve globally threatened birds while keeping common birds common. The sites and habitats programme greatly contributes towards the management effectiveness of Protected Areas that have also been identified as Important Bird Areas. The DWNP, therefore, recognizes BirdLife Botswana as a natural ally in biodiversity conservation and will, as far as possible, commit money and people in order to nurture this strategic partnership. Already, DWNP officers actively participate in monitoring of common birds and Important Bird Areas. A DWNP representative sits on the Board of BirdLife Botswana and there are good indications that the collaboration will grow from strength to strength. Dr Michael Flyman Chief Wildlife Officer (Research and Statistics) DWNP 22 May 2013 6June 2013

8 On the 4 th May 2013. The BirdLife Botswana Board were updated on the activities of the organisiation. Some interesting phrases were used. BirdLife was described as a catalyst for change (with regard to its community project in Sua), BirdLife is the voice of birds in Botswana and we are Natural Allies of the Department of Wildlife and National Parks. So - ask not what BirdLife can do for you, ask what you can do for BirdLife, The Chairman pointed out that we have in our employ some of the best environmentalists in Botswana. Through grants from organisations such as the UNDP the name of BirdLife Botswana is on the cover of serious scientific research papers. Our Director has the ear of Senior Government Officials and is the media face for the organisation. On the 4 th May 2013 BirdLife Botswana held its AGM. Those who attended were informed on the current state of the Organisation – Were short of money! We need more members! Go and look at the new display of items in our corner of the quilting shop at Kgale Hill Mall! We had an interesting talk from visiting US bird handler, Megan Stewart, about the use of captive bred birds of prey to control Quelea in Pandamatenga. These tiny birds do massive damage to the sorghum crops and current methods are ineffective and cruel. Is this method better? We finished with a lovely meal (thank you ladies) ! AS A MEMBER OF BIRDLIFE YOU DO MAKE A DIFFERENCE!! 4 7June 2013

9 1)Birds need to be ________ and of the same __________before they can breed 2)The word for putting things into groups _______________________ 3)Another word for feathers _______________________ 4)A bird which lives here all the time _______________________ 5)This shrike has a crimson one _______, some canaries have yellow or white ones ______________ 6)All birds eat with their _________ but sometimes they are called _______ 7)If we cant see them we can hear them _________ 8)Most birds live in a particular _______ 9)Not fully mature __________________ 8June 2013

10 Bird Spots by BirdLife Botswana 2013 Orange breasted bush shrike Chinspot batis Cape white eye Mocking chat Pied barbet Crested barbet Black collared barbet Brown headed kingfisher Golden tailed woodpecker Black eyed bulbul Black cockoo Yellow billed hornbill White brown robin Black robin Black stock Brown scraper thrush Korric grey thrush Yellow fronted tinker bobbit Kurrichane grey thrush Stone scraper thrush Serogong Gorge & Manganese mine sites May 2013 Species Count Little Grebe 10 Reed Cormorant 1 White-breasted Cormorant 2 African Spoonbill 3 Greater Flamingo 80 Lesser Flamingo 5 Spur-winged Goose 4 Egyptian Goose 60 Cape Shoveler 4 Red-billed Teal 15 Crested Francolin 1 Red-knobbed Coot 30 Black-winged Stilt 30 Pied Avocet 1 Blacksmith Lapwing 60 Kittlitz's Plover 2 Three-banded Plover 4 Breeding 1x Juv Wood Sandpiper 2 Common Sandpiper 6 Little Stint 1 Ruff 1 Burchell's Sandgrouse 150 around 09:00 Cape Turtle-Dove 2 Laughing Dove 2 Namaqua Dove 1 Little Bee-eater 2 Blue-cheeked Bee-eater 5 Cape Wagtail 1 African (Richard's) Pipit 4 African Red-eyed Bulbul 4 Yellow-bellied Eremomela 1 White-browed (Red-backed) Scrub-Robin1 Arrow-marked Babbler 4 Wattled Starling 10 Cape Glossy Starling 2 White-browed Sparrow-Weaver 4 Cape Sparrow 1 Scaly-feathered Finch 20 Common / Greater Scimitarbill 1 Southern Yellow-billed Hornbill 1 Chinspot Batis 2 Crimson-breasted Shrike 1 Brubru 1 Rattling Cisticola 1 Tawny-flanked Prinia1 Black-faced / Black-cheeked Waxbill2 Thagale Dam (07/04/2013) 9June 2013

11 10June 2013

12 11June 2013 Reduce the amount of water that is lost through evaporation from the soil and prevent heat-stress to plants by mulching around the base of the plant, adding plenty of moisture-retentive organic matter such as compost will also help. Target watering by using a watering can, it takes longer but helps you to apply the water where it is most needed. It is more efficient is to water when temperatures start to drop in the evening as less is lost to evaporation and the plants have the whole night to take up the moisture. Recycling Water: Using 'grey water' from your house is an excellent way to recycle water to your garden. Use ecological cleaning products. A typical washing powder contains around 25 ingredients, some of which will be petroleum based and these can accumulate in the soil. Conventional products contain surfactants, phosphates or phosphate replacements, chelating agents, salts, thickeners, fragrances, colourants etc. Some of these are likely to be non-degradable and others can have negative effects on plants (such as EDTA or NTA which assist the uptake of heavy metals). Read the packets – Sunlight, Amway, Skip and others claim to be biodegradeable. Be careful about using 'fresh' grey water on plants. All products will leave a surplus of active ingredients in grey water which could weaken plants if applied directly. This is where grey water filtering and storage systems really come into their own. By allowing the water to stand microorganisms can start to degrade these active ingredients and contaminants can sink to the bottom (a rough guide is to let it stand for about 1 day. Try not to store the water too long. In hot weather pathogens can develop in the grey water unless it is treated. so don't store it too long and use it for ornamental plants rather than edibles if you are unsure. Don't apply grey water directly to plants, residues may build up on leaves. Dont run grey water through hoses or sprinkler systems as small droplets may contaminate surfaces and could be inhaled. Dont put all the dirty water in the same place, spread it around the garden Dont use recycling as an excuse to have a longer shower!

13 Together as one for nature and people BirdLife International is a Partnership of 116 national conservation organisations and the world leader in bird conservation. BirdLifes unique local to global approach enables it to deliver high impact and long term conservation for the benefit of nature and people 12June 2013 Important Bird Areas (IBAs) The selection of Important Bird Areas (IBAs) has been a particularly effective way of identifying conservation priorities. IBAs are key sites for conservation – small enough to be conserved in their entirety and often already part of a protected-area network. They do one (or more) of three things: Hold significant numbers of one or more globally threatened species Are one of a set of sites that together hold a suite of restricted-range species or biome- restricted species Have exceptionally large numbers of migratory or congregatory species Regional IBA pages It is impossible, both practically and financially, to develop separate projects to conserve all species at risk in the world, one by one. Thus the identification of particular sites, which are important for many species together, is a key component of BirdLife's priority setting. /important_birding_areas.html

14 13 HOW WE ASSESS IMPORTANT BIRD AREAS Important Bird Programme, a well-tested and cost-effective conservation approach has been an effective for monitoring and managing sites and ecosystems where biodiversity is especially concentrated (National Parks and Game Reserves). It is implemented by BirdLife Botswana in collaboration with Department of Wildlife and National Parks and community groups living around these sites.The exercise is less time consuming hence can be done on a day tour at any of the sites. Information provided by various monitoring teams is consolidated, validated and interpreted, then publicised in the annual biodiversity status and trend. Each habitat is considered separately as different species and situations call for different approaches. Interested individuals are encouraged to take part, the monitoring form used to gather information request for the following: 1. RECORDERS INFORMATION 2. STATE: CONDITION OF BIRD POPULATION (TRIGGER SPECIES) AND HABITAT 3. PRESSURE (THREATS TO THE IBA) 4. RESPONSE (CONSERVATION ACTIONS TAKEN AT THE IBA) 5. DETAILS AND EXPLANATION ON ACTIONS In conclusion, monitoring biodiversity in protected areas is a very crucial exercise aiming at finding the status and trends of biodiversity in these important sites for sustainable management. Like other biodiversity indicators, it is meant to raise awareness on environmental issues, report to government and international policies and regulations e. g Conversion on Biological Diversity. However, this approach cannot cover all important and threatened wildlife. Stakeholders should embark on other indicator groups to complement birds and help cover biodiversity more comprehensively. BirdLife Botswanas strategy thus reflects our aim to conserve all of nature, while retaining a practical emphasis on birds. Lesego Ratse June 2013

15 14 Thinking about BirdLife Botswana... Dear friend, member and supporter of BLB, Sometime in the future, hopefully still quite a long time away, you are going to become too old and frail to lift your binoculars to look at a bird. That will indeed be a sad occasion and one that gives us no pleasure. A few years after that, several of us will attend a ceremony marking your passing. We will all be dressed in black, just like a drongo. That will be an even sadder occasion. Now out of this sadness it is possible to generate a little pleasure. What we are thinking is that you might want to leave a little of your estate to BirdLife Botswana. In this way we will remember you and you will support a worthy cause which is ever-short of funds. If you wish to leave a bigger slice of your estate, then we might be able to use those funds to build a home for BLB and remember your name in perpetuity. We are all going to pass on to happy birding grounds at some time in the future, whenever that will be. We are humbly requesting you to think of modifying your will or codicil to that will, and leave something to BLB. It will be much appreciated by a growing Society always desperate for funds to save species and protect sites. Sincerely Harold World Migratory Bird Day 2013 was celebrated in over 65 countries, including events held by BirdLife Partners around the world from Paraguay to Lebanon to China. Even here in Botswana, hundreds of children enjoyed a day singing and dancing and learning about birds. Mogoditshane Senior Secondary School hosted the day – please send any photographs you may have for publication in the next magazine. World Migratory Bird Day. One of the main goals of BirdLifes Important Bird Areas Programme is to identify and conserve a network of sites for migratory species. Are we nearly there yet??

16 June 201315 Management Plan for Southern Sua Pan Prepared for the villages of Mmatshumo, Mosu, Mokubilo and Mmea With support of BirdLife Botswana and Dept of Wildlife and National Parks Makgadikgadi Framework Management Plan With the support of Botswana Government and Centre for Applied Research Enhancing the Value of Protected Areas of Makgadikgadi Wetland System With the support of Botswana Govt. Ministry of Environmental Affairs, Dept. of wildlife and National Parks, BirdLife Botswan a Appraisal on Optimising Financial and Operational Management Effectiveness of Protected Areas in Botswana With the support of Botswana Govt. Ministry of Environment Wildlife and Tourism, Dept. of Wildlife and National Parks BLB has produced (with assistance from UNDAF and Forest Conservation Botswana) a 50 page colouring book as part of our school education programme. Take a look at the BLB items in the Quilt Shop – buy as a present or treat yourself! Virat Kootsositse with the Scientific Publications Dr. Kabelo Senyatso – Director BLB

17 June 201316 The two owlet species are related but the Pearl-spotted Owlet has a wider distribution in Botswana and occurs in more habitats - bushveld, woodland and Acacia savanna, whereby the Barred Owlet in found in riverine habitats in the north. The owlets are mainly active at night but also are frequently seen during the day when they are also active. The Pearl-spotted Owlet (Glaucidium perlatum) is only 18 cm long. Its Latin/scientific name refers to the pearl-sized spots on its plumage. Geoff Lockwood, in A Beginners Guide: OWLS gives the following description pointers. A poorly defined facial disk (Most owls have distinctly defined faces) A small flattened head with distinctive false face markings on the back of the head and no obvious ear tufts/horns Brown upperparts extensively marked with white tear- or pearl- shaped spots White underparts with broad brown streaks Very large feet in relation to the size of the bird. This owlet has a call that is a series of piercing, rising whistled notes. This call is easy to imitate and imitating it, or playing recorded calls, will often bring the owlet closer to see who the caller is or will bring other birds closer ready to attack as a group, or mob the owlet. These birds mob the owlet and try to chase it away because it also eats other birds, in addition to arthropods (insects and their relatives) and rodents. Along with the ability to rotate its head almost to a full circle to see what is happening all around it, the false face markings on the back of its head help confuse predators. Pearl-spotted Owlets prefer to nest in holes in trees that have been made by woodpeckers in the main trunk of a tree, although they also will use natural holes and even nest boxes. Two to four eggs are laid (two days apart) which the female incubates after all the eggs are laid, for 28-29 days. Before egg-laying begins (egg-laying is between August and November, but mostly in October) the owlet pair spend time together near the nest hole and often call and also call in duet with the male calling first and the female answering in a higher tone. But once the eggs are laid they become quiet and are more difficult to locate. Pearl-spotted Owlets may use the same nest over several years as they do stay together all year round in a territory. However, other birds may use the nest at different times of the year before it is used again by the owlets. In the March 2013 edition of the Familiar Chat we introduced the series on owls. In that edition the ten species of owls that occur in Botswana were listed along with their areas of distribution in the country. Some basic information about owls was given and in these following articles more information will be given about these owls. We start here with two of the smallest species, which are now called owlets, due to their very small size. Pearl Spotted Owlet OWLS #2

18 June 201317 Barred Owlet The Barred Owlet (Glaucidium capense) is at 20 cm long, only slightly larger than the Pearl-spotted Owlet. Geoff Lockwood also gives description pointers for this owlet, with which you can easily compare the two owlets. A large rounded head with a poorly defined facial disc Entire upperparts and breast are dark brown with narrow pale orange barring White underparts have dark brown triangular blotches The Barred Owlet uses riverine (close to rivers) habitats in Botswana but also occurs in coastal bush on the eastern side of Southern Africa. It prefers more dense vegetation than the Pearl-spotted owlet. The Barred Owlet mainly eats arthropods and in comparison with the pellets of the Pearl-spotted Owlet, this owlets pellets usually disintegrate because they are mostly made up of just the remains of insects and their relatives. Both owlets usually hunt from a perch and drop onto prey from above. The call of the Barred Owlet is a series of fairly high pitched notes, though quite different from the Pearl- spotted Owlet. The Barred Owlet and the Pearl-spotted Owlet do not normally use the same habitats but Pearl- spotted Owlets may occasionally be seen in areas in the north and two could be confused, but the Barred Owlet is larger and has a bigger head and its upperparts are barred, not spotted. Two to three eggs are laid in a natural hole in a tree (apparently they do not use woodpecker prepared holes – perhaps because the entrance holes are too small) and incubation is from 28-32 days. These owlets start incubating when the first egg is laid. References consulted for this article are the following. Geoff Lockwood: A Beginners Guide: OWLS Warwick Tarboto: A Guide to the Nests & Eggs of Southern African Birds Wrwick Tarboton & Rudy Erasmus: Owls & Owling in Southern Africa Doreen McCulloch

19 June 201318 Bird conservation is everybodys business, but as the saying goes everybodys business is nobodys business. For this reason, the BirdLife Partnership promotes a system of Species Champions where individuals or organisations commit themselves to the protection of a chosen globally threatened bird by undertaking conservation action to improve its status. A few Vulture Champions have emerged recently, and this article features one of them – Bill Sieberhagen of Kalahari Rest near Kang. I had heard about the substantial number of White- backed (Endangered) and Lappet-faced (Vulnerable) vultures that occur at Kalahari Rest, from BirdLife Botswana member Chris Brewster, who had once stayed there. I recently had occasion to phone Bill to find out whether there was any possibility of catching a Lappet- faced Vulture there to fit it with a satellite tracking device – part of a BirdLife Botswana project to determine vulture movements throughout the country. Its so nice to hear that Im not the only one interested in vultures was Bills response, Ive been feeding and protecting them here on my game farm for the past eight years. The upshot of this is that I ended up at Kalahari Rest with colleagues from CKGR Research and Denver Zoo during May with the aim of catching vultures there. On arrival, Bill made us immediately welcome by providing free bait for the vulture capture. Apart from the Lodge and game farm, there is a very active abattoir on the farm, and offal is readily available. Usually the offal is discarded at a specific place on the farm three times a week – a de facto vulture restaurant – and the vultures, being intelligent birds, have of course realised this and congregate in substantial numbers at this site. Every day vultures also drink at particular waterpoints on the farm, and we were shown how metal grids had been placed over the drinking troughs to enable the birds to drink without fouling the water. We were assured that the vultures preferred one pan in particular, and were advised to set up our capture operation there. We were ultimately successful in catching a large number of vultures due to the support and guidance we received. Bill plans to make a proper vulture restaurant at Kalahari Rest, as part of his further commitment to vulture conservation. This will include a viewing hide, and a future article will keep Familiar Chat readers abreast of these developments. Article and Photo – Pete Hancock VULTURE CHAMPION – KALAHARI REST

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