Crowd-sourcing an atlas of migratory bird hunting

OSME has received a request from Dr Paul Jepson of the School of Geography and the Environment, University of Oxford, asking us to help with a project to create an atlas of migratory bird hunting. As he states, this practice is still widespread yet we lack an easily accessible overview of where hunting happens and what the trends are.

Dr Jepson has created a short questionnaire linked to a mapping interface on the Ushahdi platform.

Nestboxes in Iraq

The following link is to an article in the latest issue of British Birds describing how nestboxes were made and put up by school children in Kurdistan, Iraq. Nest holes are at a premium in this area so the nestboxes should help Great Tits (which have been found to nest in holes on the ground) and Sombre Tits (which have a globally restricted range). It is hoped that the boxes may also be used by the large number of Western and Eastern Rock Nuthatches in the area.

Critically Endangered Sociable Lapwings needlessly killed in Kuwait

Photo above: Male Sociable Lapwing, as it should be seen, on the breeding grounds of Kazakhstan
OSME have been supporting Sociable Lapwing work across the region for a number of years, so it is with great sadness we are hearing reports of 3 individuals being killed in Kuwait, apparently for ‘fun’. The key threat to Sociable Lapwings is the hunting of birds at stopover sites whilst on migration. There is evidence from known stopover sites in north-eastern Syria and some areas in Iraq from 2008 and 2009 that Sociable Lapwings are widely hunted by local hunters and visiting falconers from the Gulf States. Regretably, this is the first confirmed hunting . . .

News from Iraq; Darwin Conservation Project

Over the last week, Nature Iraq staff visited five schools in the area surrounding Peramagroon mountain, near Sulaimani, to construct nestboxes with primary, secondary, and high school students. One hundred and eight students built forty three nestboxes, designed to provide homes for Great Tits, a common species in the area. School teachers and directors were involved and engaged with the project, and all gave positive feedback. In the coming weeks, NI staff will return to the schools to help mount the boxes and follow up with the communities.