Showing posts from June, 2008

Bird Population Extremes

It seems as though extremes in life are not good, and I think bird population extremes are no different.

 The most numerous bird in the world, as reported in the wonderful BBC documentary Planet Earth, is thought to be the Red-billed Quelea. It is found in Africa and its population is estimated to be a staggering 1.5 billion! People have reported seeing flocks that bolt out the sun and take 5-6 hours to pass. What an incredible sight that must be!

With regard to the rarest bird in the world (i.e. with a population in the wild) there are a number of species that are listed as Critically Endangered with populations below 100 individuals. By continent these species are:
Cherry-throated Tanager (South America)Kakapo (Australia/New Zealand)Black Stilt (Australia/New Zealand)Slender-billed Curlew (Europe/Asia)Ivory-billed Woodpecker (North America)The North American entry is perhaps a bit controversial, and the search is ongoing for this bird. It has apparently been seen in Arkansas by a few…

Atlantic Puffins in Trouble

An ongoing study of Atlantic puffins in Britain has found that after four decades of increases in population, the Atlantic puffins of the North Sea island of May are in sharp decline. The population numbers have plummeted by almost a third in five years, declining from 69,300 pairs in 2003 to 41,000 pairs today.
The exact cause for this decline is not exactly known but Professor Mike Harris, who conducted the study, believes it could be climate change. The warming of the sea leads to less fish for the puffins to eat. Puffins are good indicators of the health of the ecosystem in general as they sit at the top of the food chain. An additional census study is planned for later this year on the Farne Islands, another stronghold for the birds. This data will give a better indication of the status of the puffins in Britain as a whole.
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