1 Sep 2010

Conservation gets personal - BirdLife's August 2010 Round Up

By Nick Askew

“Conservation is all about what each of us can do personally to help”, said Richard Grimmett - BirdLife’s Assistant Director of Conservation - last month. Richard was speaking about the success of BirdLife’s Common Swift nesting boxes which were erected recently by our office manager and are already attracting the attention of these fabulous migratory birds (Swift box success at BirdLife’s UK office). Common Swifts are in sharp decline in the UK, and these new nesting boxes look set to provide some valuable nest sites for them. They’re also great fun to watch hurtling around the car park. BirdLife news in August resonated with the importance of individual actions when conserving biodiversity. Working on the high seas off the coast of Argentina, BirdLife’s Albatross Task Force instructor Nahuel Chavez blogged about his recent experience working in strong winds when 40 Cape Petrel were flung onto the deck of the ship. Read about how he saved the birds during a snow storm whilst wearing his slippers (Albatross Task Force Diaries – Argentina). Last month was also the 22nd British Birdwatching Fair which was attended by tens of thousands of birdwatchers. This year the funds raised will help the BirdLife Partner organisation in Ethiopia (the Ethiopian Wildlife and Natural History Society) to take the urgent steps needed to secure the future of this country’s unique birds (British birdwatchers rally to help Ethiopia). The fair could not happen without an army of volunteers who give their time freely each year to run the hugely successful event. It was therefore very fitting to hear that the prize of a trip to Ethiopia was won by volunteer who had worked at Birdfair for over 20 years. Very well deserved. We also reported how last month how another - particularly important - individual is supporting BirdLife’s work. BirdLife’s efforts to save threatened rainforests around the globe received a major boost following the support of HSH Prince Albert II of Monaco. “… the work of BirdLife allows whole areas to be protected and preserved – unique areas of the globe whose importance is key both for our survival and for our knowledge of the world”, stressed the Prince (Tropical rainforests get major boost from Royal and Corporate support). On the same day, we also reported that Singapore Airlines announced a US$3 million contribution to establish a 'Harapan Fund' managed by BirdLife. "We are delighted that Singapore Airlines has decided to help us conserve tropical forests”, said Dr Marco Lambertini - Chief Executive of BirdLife International. Finally, last week we launched an urgent appeal following a massive forest fire on the island of Madeira which has killed several breeding adults and 65% of this year’s chicks of Europe’s rarest seabird - Zino’s Petrel (Endangered). Brought back from the very brink of extinction following work by SPEA (BirdLife in Portugal) and others, this was devastating news to report (Catastrophic forest fire delivers huge blow to Europe’s rarest seabird). The appeal saw one of the fasted responses from BirdLife supporters around the globe. Donations are now over £3,000 and the funds will be channelled straight to action on the ground to carry out emergency conservation work needed before the winter sets in. Thank you so much to those who donated so generously. If you still want to help, please follow this link: www.justgiving.com/zinos-petrel-disaster. Your personal donation really will make a difference.