Apr 032016
 

Long distance migratory birds that use the African Eurasian flyway have been in serious trouble for at least a few decades, more so than their counterparts that travel shorter distances.

Major declines have been observed for a number of species – including popular symbols of spring, such as the Nightingale – that fly each year between breeding areas in Europe and Asia and non-breeding areas south of the Sahara.

These declines are caused by a variety of factors at different parts of the flyway. In breeding grounds, species are affected most by habitat degradation, especially birds that depend on farms, woodlands and forests.

Birds that breed and feed in agricultural landscapes are often the most threatened, as they are also at risk from intensive farming (which uses more pesticides and grows fast-growing crops), loss of small landscape elements (such as certain species of flower or bushes) and loss of diversity in the landscape.

For example, the Nightingale’s population dropped by 63% from 1980 to 2009, according to the Pan European Common Bird Monitoring Scheme.

The Wood Warbler’s population has declined by 33% since 1980. Photo: David Dillon

In non-breeding areas in Africa, the combination of human-induced habitat degradation, climate change and droughts in the Sahel zone are causing a drop in numbers.

Migratory birds are important to save not only to protect biodiversity and the wonders of nature. These species are indicators of the state of the environment: they need the environment to be in a good state along their flyway, and any degradation impacts their numbers and behaviour. Thus, they can help promote awareness and support for action on broader environmental issues such as habitat loss, agricultural intensification and climate change.

Not surprisingly, the conservation of migratory birds provided one of the main reasons for the birth of BirdLife International. The international dimension of the threats and the need for conservation measures beyond national boundaries are most powerful and compelling arguments for stronger collaboration between BirdLife Partners on a flyway scale.

To strengthen the cooperation, last year the BirdLife Partners in Africa, the Middle East, and Europe and Central Asia developed the 2020 Strategic Framework for flyway conservation. For the first time, BirdLife now has a strategic framework for the conservation of birds along the flyway that brings the three regional Partnerships together.

The issue is urgent: there have been two phases of decline of migratory birds in the last 50 years. The first crisis of numbers was observed in the 1960s-1970s and continued for many species into the ’80s. Birds spending the non-breeding season (winter) in the arid Sahel zone, such as Common Whitethroat (19% population decline from 1970 to 1990), were most affected.

The second decline since the 1980s has mostly affected species such as the Wood Warbler (33% decline in population from 1980-2009) that choose the humid tropics and Guinea forest zone during the non-breeding season.

BirdLife’s major flyway initiatives focus on man-made dangers to birds by safeguarding migratory species from being killed or injured in collisions with energy infrastructure and protecting them from illegal killing and poisoning.

Another important initiative is the raising of awareness through ‘Spring Alive’, a BirdLife International project where teachers and children from more than 50 countries learn about migratory birds and exchange observations. It aims to encourage children’s interest in nature and the conservation of migratory birds and to get them to take action for birds and other wildlife through events organized by BirdLife Partners.

The collaboration is further strengthened by the Partners cooperating on migratory bird conservation in three sub flyways: the East Atlantic Flyway, the Mediterranean Flyway and the Black Sea-Rift Valley Flyway.

Using this strategic framework as a basis for action, Partners are encouraged to step up their national work to conserve migratory birds, engage with and support other Partners where conservation interests are shared, and work internationally in collaboration with other Partners on the flyway.

This article was first published by BirdLife International on 11 Mar 2016.

 

Subscribe to our FREE Newsletter

 

 

Share on social media:

Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedintumblrmail
Facebook Comments

Leave a Reply

avatar
wpDiscuz

Top-Viewed Posts Last 30 Days

  1. POLL: Should the cruel sport of bullfighting be banned? [2804 Views]
  2. POLL: Should South Africa’s canned hunting industry be banned? [1888 Views]
  3. POLL: Should Mozambique’s wildlife park be funded by trophy hunting? [1392 Views]
  4. POLL: Should the use of elephants for “entertainment” be banned? [1270 Views]
  5. POLL: Should Asia’s elephant tourism be banned? [1039 Views]
  6. POLL: Should the use of wild animals in circuses be banned? [942 Views]
  7. Bald Eagle Adopts Baby Hawk Instead of Eating Him [911 Views]
  8. POLL: Should wildlife-killing “cyanide bombs” be banned? [897 Views]
  9. POLL: Should Yellowstone Grizzlies be removed from the Endangered List? [863 Views]
  10. POLL: Should the owning of exotic pets be banned? [745 Views]

Top-Viewed Posts Last 12 Months

  1. POLL: Should there be a worldwide ban on fur farms? [16900 Views]
  2. POLL: Should Congress disband Wildlife “Killing” Services? [11095 Views]
  3. Gray Squirrels versus Red Squirrels – The Facts [10080 Views]
  4. POLL: Should driven grouse-shooting be banned? [8690 Views]
  5. POLL: Should grouse shooting on highland estates be banned? [8232 Views]
  6. POLL: Should the killing of giraffes be outlawed? [4712 Views]
  7. POLL: Should the sale of elephant ivory be legalized? [4081 Views]
  8. POLL: Should foxes be culled to protect domestic pets? [3773 Views]
  9. POLL: Should the coyote continue to be exterminated? [3448 Views]
  10. POLL: Should the use of snares be banned in the UK? [2609 Views]