Migratory Soaring Birds Project
Mainstreaming Conservation of Migratory Soaring Birds into Key Productive Sectors along the Rift Valley / Red Sea Flyway.
The nature of the threats to soaring birds and their pattern of migration, means that their conservation can only be achieved by considering land-use beyond the boundaries of protected areas and by involving sectors other than conservation in implementation. It requires that the goal of soaring bird conservation is incorporated into the production sectors where the threats originate – primarily energy, agriculture, waste management, development and tourism.
To remove the threats it is necessary to engage these sectors in meaningful conservation action, with conservation and biodiversity integrated with, rather than distinct from, the rest of the economy. Therefore the project aims to incorporate biodiversity priorities into the policies, strategies, legal frameworks, decisions and actions of the fullrange of players in these sectors.
‘Mainstreaming’ – Integration of Soaring Bird Conservation into Production Sectors and Landscapes
Migrating birds are among the most remarkable components of global biodiversity. Their seasonal migrations, often many thousands of miles long, appeal to man’s imagination and create wonder, awe and a sense of mystery.
Managing and protecting migratory bird populations is particularly challenging. This is because of the vast range of habitats they occupy during the course of their seasonal cycle and the need to undertake work in very different ecological and political conditions in the breeding grounds, in the wintering areas, as well as along the migratory routes.
Soaring migrants use a system of ascent on thermals of hot air and then under - going long, shallow, downward glides. This method, which cannot be used over large water bodies or high mountains, limits the migratory routes, resulting in patterns of movement in ‘flyways’ rather like the routes used by long-haul airliners.
Migrating birds become especially concentrated, creating a ‘bottleneck’, where ever the flyways are forced to cross seas or mountain ranges. This concentration makes soaring migrants highly vulnerable at these points. This project focuses on the eastern sector of the African-Eurasia Flyway (Rift Valley and Red Sea Flyways), which is possibly the most significant corridor for bird migration in the world.
Migrating Soaring Birds
Several parts of the flyway are undergoing a period of rapid development. Until the recent past many coastal regions were undeveloped arid lands with small settlements and low numbers of indigenous inhabitants. However, expanding urban, industrial, agricultural and tourism development are now creating hazards to birds in areas where no previous threats existed. These threats include direct threats from the development activities or related infrastructure, destruction or degradation of habitats, pollutant contamination and the construction of power lines or similar infrastructure works that obstruct the flyway resulting in fatal collisions. Soaring birds are also directly threatened by hunting.
Threats to Soaring Birds
The ‘Migratory Soaring Birds’ project is making the flyway system (its communities, planning authorities, land-use systems) ‘soaring bird friendly’; ensuring safe passage between breeding and non-breeding grounds.
The project seeks to achieve its objectives by addressing the underlying causes of the threats that affect soaring bird’s diversity within the flyway – the ‘barriers’ to soaring bird conservation. Birds maybe in danger of being killed throughout the flyway and the project will therefore take a ‘flyway system’ approach. Although the dangers to soaring birds are particularly high, the solutions are sector-specific in nature. Action will therefore most effectively take the form of effective dialogue, awareness raising, stakeholder participation and incentives for sustainable
management backed by a mix of measures underpinning the policy, legal and legislative foundation for making the flyway safe for soaring migratory birds.
The project will be executed by BirdLife International in partnership with national NGO partners and government agencies in Djibouti, Egypt, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Jordan, Lebanon, Palestinian Authority, Saudi Arabia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen.
Check the Migratory Soaring Birds website for all the news and updates.