BirdLife Europe e-news, Vol XII, Issue 8, September 2015
In this issue
 

From vital to fatal:
Migrations gone wrong


By Luca Bonaccorsi

Something must have gone very wrong with our world if a synonym of life has become the metaphor of its exact opposite. Migrations (and human ones are no exception) are at the very core of life and yet today they’re more commonly associated with tales of pain, horror and death.
 
Zugunruhe is a fascinating German word that describes this drive towards life. It’s a compound word consisting of zug (move, migration) and unruhe (anxiety, restlessness). A popular TV series describes it poetically:

"When a change comes, some species feel the urge to migrate. They call it zugunruhe, a pull of the soul to a far off place. Following a scent in the wind, a star in the sky. The ancient message comes calling the kindred to take flight and gather together. Only then can they hope to survive the cruel season to come."
 
This “restlessness” was first observed and studied in caged migratory birds. But it has been observed also in resident species in equatorial Africa. According to scientists it’s a genetic heritage of a “migratory past”. A heritage from the past that might prove, in their opinion, very useful in the future, in light of global changes to come. A “pull of the soul” is simply a poetic way to name an essential instinct to survive.
 
So maybe, we are all migrants: it’s simply our nature. It does help to put things in the right context even if you’re not an expert in geopolitics (or populism).
 
This month’s newsletter is dedicated to migrations. And of course, this being BirdLife, we’re talking birds.
 
With hearts and eyes heavy with sorrow for the horrifying sight of a drowned Syrian child, we must salute our birds as they take off for their wintering grounds in the south.
 
It’s a voyage that will leave millions of victims on the ground. Many (25 million, according to BirdLife’s most recent estimate), will be killed illegally in the Med: in Italy, Greece, Cyprus, Malta, Spain, Egypt, Lebanon and other countries.
 
We discuss this topic with an extraordinary guest: author and passionate birder Jonathan Franzen, who launches a strong appeal to birders: mobilise and be more involved in conservation.
 
And we analyse the many dangers that the birds will face during their epic journey: from power lines and bioenergy (Erajaa) to sterilised farmland (Robijns). And the solutions: from citizen science (Ramirez) to conservation projects (Thompson) and political battles (Brunner).
Special guest

 
'Birding and conservation go together... You can't do one and not care about the other'
American author and avid birder Jonathan Franzen speaks out on the illegal killing of birds in the Mediterranean and calls on birders to join the fight against it.
 
Migration policy news
Extent of illegal bird killing in the Mediterranean revealed in our report
BirdLife International’s first review of the illegal killing of birds in the Mediterranean has uncovered the shocking death toll suffered by a number of the region’s speciesBy Finlay Duncan

Citizens speak up: Don't mess with the Nature Directives, implement them!

520,325 citizens called on the European Commission to protect environmental laws in the biggest response to an EU public consultation. Is the Commission listening? By Ariel Brunner
Migrating through the energy maze
Energy production is increasingly catching up to illegal killing, poisoning and habitat destruction as a major danger to migratory birds. By Sini Erajaa
Your birdwatching could now protect your favourite species
The new Euro Bird Portal project logs 30 million sightings from all over Europe every year. These can help scientists better understand migration, tackle effects of climate change on birds and possibly prevent avian flu. By Ivan Ramirez  
Migrant birds losing breeding grounds to poor farm management
Up to 65% of migratory birds depend on farmlands for breeding or for resting and feeding. But unhelpful policies and poor implementation are making their lives difficult. By Trees Robijns
More than 25 million birds are illegally killed every year in the Mediterranean.

Donate to help BirdLife stop #birdkilling
Other news from Europe and Central Asia

Saving the Egyptian Vulture: Mission still possible

Egyptian Vultures have been listed as globally "Endangered" since 2007. Accidental poisoning, persecution for traditional medicine, and electrocution in power lines are all major killers, and many juveniles even die on their first migration. What is being done? By Stoyan Nikolov
 

Protecting the Mediterranean’s migratory birds

The annual journey these birds make is perilous not just because of the weather, but man-made dangers as well. BirdLife and its partners have compiled a report on the worst places for birds in the Mediterranean region. Read what's being done to save them.  By Claire Thompson

How tracking one turtle-dove could save the species

The population of turtle-doves has plummeted by 77% across Europe since 1980. At this rate, it will be gone in a few decades. 'Titan', the RSPB's tracker-fitted bird, gives us a glimpse of his 1000-km migration and how we can protect this vulnerable species. By Jamie Wyver

Coming soon: An atlas of Spain's migratory birds

BirdLife in Spain's Migra initiative is gathering in-depth data on everything to do with the country's migrating species, from black spots and potential threats to routes favoured, speed and altitude of flight. Here's how and why they do it. By Juan Carlos del Moral

Migration in Italy: The good, the bad and the ugly

The shape and position of Italy in the Mediterranean makes it important for birds travelling between Eurasia and Africa. LIPU, BirdLife's partner in Italy, takes stock of the migratory species' conservation status. By Claudio Celada
All you need to know about Euro Birdwatch 2015
Euro Birdwatch is an event attended across Europe and Central Asia by scientists and casual birders alike. Read more to brush up on your knowledge of the event; plus, learn how you can participate and witness the wonders of bird migration in your country. By Gert Ottens 

The migration of soaring birds of prey explained

Everything you need to know about bottlenecks, thermal air currents and migratory routes in the Mediterranean. Plus, read more on how Georgia is tackling the illegal killing of these species. By Brecht Verhelst
PEGASUS - Sustainable land management from a different perspective
 
The PEGASUS project, of which BirdLife is a partner, will be working over 3 years to help change the way we manage farms and forests to better deliver goods and ecosystem services. Check out their website, their LinkedIn page and profile, or follow them on Twitter,  to stay updated on the project. t.r. 
Events
REGISTRATION NOW OPEN
14 September: BirdLife and EEB conference: “Is the EU on the right path towards long-term food security?

23 September: Final BestGrid conference, “Implementing projects in common interest”, Brussels, Belgium.

24-25 September: Innovation in Environmental Education, ICT and Intergenerational Learning, Sant’ Apollonia Auditorium, Florence, Italy.

24-26 SeptemberInternational Wolf Conference, Wolfsburg, Germany.

1-4 October: Sagres Birdwatching and Nature activities Festival, Portugal, France.

3-4 October: EuroBirdwatch

9-10 October: Avifauna and Climate Change, ahead of COP 21, LPO and National Museum of Natural History, Paris.

9-14 November: Sixth session of the Meeting of the Parties (MOP6) to the Agreement on the Conservation of African-Eurasian Migratory Waterbirds (AEWA), Bonn, Germany.

23-25 November: Protecting Seabirds in the Mediterranean: Advancing the Marine Protected Area NetworkMalta.

5-10 September, 2016: 20th International Conference of the European Bird Census Council "Birds in a changing world", University of Halle (Saale), Germany. The conference website will be available for session proposals on the 1 September, 2015. 

1-10 September, 2016: IUCN World Conservation Congress, Hawaii, USA. The Congress is now accepting submissions for hosting a workshop, Knowledge Café session or training course at the Congress.

11-13 May, 2016: The European Association for Zoos and Aquaria Conservation Forum, BioParc Fuengirola, Spain. The forum is now accepting abstracts for oral presentations, workshops, round table topics, posters, short movies and documentaries.
Jobs

Ecosystem Services Internship at BirdLife Americas Secretariat: BirdLife International’s Secretariat for the Americas, based in Quito, Ecuador, is offering an interesting internship opportunity, working with the regional team and projects implementing TESSA all over the continent. 

Fundraising Director: BirdLife International is looking to apppoint a new Fundraising Director.

Project Manager (RSPB): The RSPB is seeking a dynamic Project Manager to manage the day-to-day strategic and operational implementation of the Rainforest Friendly Cocoa Project. Closing date: 15 September, 2015

Technical Advisor - Operations (RSPB): The RSPB is seeking a dynamic Technical Advisor for Operations to provide technical and operational support to deliver the objectives of a REDD Project. Closing date: 15 September, 2015

 
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