Wednesday, January 07, 2009

Out of Africa.

Remember this! Some time this year the BTO will launch an 'Out of Africa' survey which will monitor all bird species migrating to our shores from Africa. While we spend lots of time and money protecting these birds when they are here we are doing very little to protect them in their wintering grounds in Africa. Indeed we probably know very little that is meaningful about their current distribution and habitat requirements in Africa. We do know that rainfall in Africa is a very important component of survival but, after that, we are probably guessing. Additionally, we do know from data collected in the UK over the last 30 years that Yellow Wagtail numbers are down 70% while for Turtle Dove, Cuckoo and Whitethroat declines are 88%, 67% and 62% respectively.
Today Roy Armstrong, Liverpool Graduate and now Senior Lecturer from the University of Cumbria, launched a research programme entitled Project Gambia. This study will aim to collect crucial data about bird populations in this small country in Africa - as one in ten of all UK breeding species are in some way dependent upon Gambia.

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