Category Archives: Birds

Endangered Earth


In the past 10 years we have lost several animal species – in this day and age we consider ourselves better than our predecessors, yet we are still the main cause of animals going extinct… we’re no better than those before us – in some ways we’re worse, as we are not doing what we do to survive; we are doing it for “fun” or “progress”. In what civilised or ‘advanced’ society is there place for this abominable behaviour? Yes, this post is looking to be an informative rant-type…

In the past century many animal species have been wiped from the planet, below is a selection (from the past decade) of those lost forever:
(1) 2015 – Eastern Cougar
(2) 2014 – Malagasy Hippopotamus
(3) 2013 – Formosan Clouded Leopard
(4) 2012 – Pinta Tortoise
(5) 2012 – Zanzibar Leopard
(6) 2012 – Japanese River Otter
(7) 2011 – Western Black Rhinoceros
(8) 2010 – Alatora Grebe
(9) 2010 – Derwent River Sea Star
(10) 2009 – Christmas Island Pipistrelle Bat
(11) 2008 – Spotted Green Pigeon (Liverpool Pigeon)
(12) 2008 – Caribbean Monk Seal

Many species that are extinct today is due to humans – we hunt to extinction, we destroy habitats, we remove animals from the wild for fashion or entertainment – we first make them extinct in the wild and then we deplete the captive animals until they’re gone… and many other reasons.
The ICUN Red List contains information of the endangerment of species.
We used to hunt sustainably for food, and in many countries/cultures this is still the case, but most of the hunting (at least in first world cultures) is for “fun” or “sport” and is unjustifiably cruel and unnecessary. The man that hunts to feed his family and/or community is not the reason Elephants and Rhino’s are depleting in number and becoming extinct; the cruelty of riding out with a pack of dogs to have them tear apart an innocent fox is not for any justifiable reason; the mind-set of people needs to change to make a difference… the bans we have in place need to be enforced to make a difference… we all want a better world but that won’t happen if we cannot really change.

We have bans (in certain countries) on things like fox hunting, whale hunting (whaling), shark finning, dog and cock fighting, removing animals from the wild (with conservation excepted), and many more abhorrent things – yet these bans are not universal, and often not enforced. If there are no consequences for these actions, or these consequences are not adhered to and/ or enforced, then what power do these bans have? Where then is the protection for these creatures?

Red Fox

Animals are a lot more important to their ecosystems than people give them credit for – the removal or addition of one species has an affect on everything around it. Take the reintroduction of wolves to Yellowstone National Park for example – video link here (this is in no way my video) – thanks to wolves being back in the ecosystem, the rivers went back to how they used to be, plants that had been destroyed by the overpopulation of deer returned, because the wolves kept down the deer population – things went back to the way they were; back to how they should be. Why did the ecosystem breakdown in the first place; why did the wolves become extinct in Yellowstone? Because of us. Because of humans. Because we killed them off…Grey Wolf

The way we are going, the same thing will happen again and again, with more species. We, as a species, need to change before we are the only species left on a dying planet – small steps to ensure that other species don’t become myth and fairy-tales, instead of living, breathing creatures that share this planet.

Pink Flamingos Day: 29 May 2018

Happy Pink Flamingos Day! (As opposed to Green Flamingos Day 😉 )

Flamingos are large birds with long, stick-like legs and long, slender necks. Flamingos are wading water birds, inhabiting alkaline, saline and/or estuarine lagoons and lakes (usually lacking in vegetation). Flamingos are not a migratory bird; there are six known species, which can be found in a variety of places.

  • Africa:
    – Greater flamingo (Phoenicopterus roseus)
    – Lesser flamingo (Phoeniconaias minor)
  • South America:
    – Andean flamingo (Phoenicoparrus andinus)
    – Chilean flamingo (Phoenicopterus chilensis)
    – James’ or Puna flamingo (Phoenicoparrus jamesi)
  • Caribbean, the Yucatan Peninsula and the Galapagos Islands
    – Caribbean flamingo (Phoenicopterus ruber)

A group of Flamingos is called a flock or a colony. Colonies can be made up of 50 or so birds up to colonies with thousands of individuals. Flamingos reach maturity around five years of age, and are monogamous (same mate for life)

Yes, it’s true… flamingos are pink due to the food they eat. They eat insects, invertebrates, small fish, and algae. They stir up food from the mud with their feet, and hold their breath whilst they duck under water to catch a meal.

The algae they eat is full of beta carotene (also in foods such as tomato, carrot, sweet potato causing the colour) which causes the pink colouration, as well as carotenoids in the molluscs and crustaceans they consume. Depending on the levels of the carotene and carotenoids in the foods available in their habitat, will determine the shade and brightness of the Flamingos colouration. Flamingos are born white/grey and turn a pink-colour at around two years old.


All images are open source, Google images, or my own – or photos donated for use by the pet owners.


If you have any questions or comments; please post a comment below, or contact Ali’s Answers via one of my social media pages…
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Moving: With Pets (Part 1)

Moving is stressful when it’s just you and your junk (speaking from experience) – but how does moving take its toll on your pets? You can bet they’ll be stressed and anxious too, even if they’re not packing or trying to organise a removal company!

Here are some tips to help your pets cope with moving… part 1: packing and travelling.

On a practical level – remember to update your contact details on microchips, tags, pet passports, etc. – as well as with your pet insurance company and your local vet. If you’re moving a significant distance, remember to find a new local vet and get all your pet’s details transferred.

Updating the tag is something you can do easily, and may choose to do before moving day in case your pet wanders off during or post transit.

Packing:

Your pet’s belongings and foodstuffs – if you can pack these last do. In particular pack bowls/bottles last so that your pet can have a drink upon arrival, as they will likely need one!

If you have a designated area in your home for your pet and will do so in your new home, this can all be packed last so your pet can chill whilst you pack up, and then unpacked first so your pet can begin to settle whilst you move the rest of your stuff in.

Maine coon snoozing on suitcases

Welfare:

If your pet is prone to being anxious in transit there are steps you can take to ensure their welfare is one of the top priorities on moving day…

• Allocate one person (if possible) to be in charge of your pet – checking on them at regular intervals during the move to ensure they’re doing okay.

• Ensure the removal company staff know where your pet is and how their belongings are to be transported – i.e. any of your pet’s things that are to stay with your pet and not be packed deep into the removal van you should make the removal co. staff aware of.

• Pheromone sprays and collars are very beneficial to a distressed pet – companies such as Feliway and Adaptil provide such items for dogs and cats (for more information please click here for Feliway and here for Adaptil).

• Animals can be placed into carriers with a familiar scented item (current bedding rather than fresh, blanket or owners item of clothing, etc).

• Placing a blanket or towel or sheet over the carrier can also help in keeping your pet calm.

• Ensure pets in carriers have something to keep them occupied if they so wish – you don’t want chewing of carrier bars (potentially damaging their teeth/gums) when you could provide a chew toy to keep them occupied.

• Ensure your pet is secure in transit; whether this means entrusting someone responsible to holding the carrier, or fitting the carrier safely into a vehicle, or ensuring your dog’s seat-belt is secure and he can’t get to anything he shouldn’t whilst on the move – make sure your pet is safe and secure.
A big pet peeve of mine is people who have dogs loose in the car – not only is their jumping about distracting to you and other drivers, even a small dog (say 5-10kg in weight) can cause serious damage to you if you have an accident and the dog is thrown into someone – not to mention the injury the dog will sustain by being unrestrained! We wear seat-belts to avoid injury if we were to be involved in an accident; its the same principal – secure your dog.

• If you ware moving far away and the journey is long – remember your pet would enjoy a bathroom/ water break and a leg stretch. Ensure that any exercise is done safely and with your pet on a lead – your can get harnesses/leads for dogs, cats, rabbits, ferrets and more.

 

To follow: I will cover moving with fish, amphibians and reptiles, and once you’re in your new place.


All images are open source, Google images, or my own – or photos donated for use by the pet owners.


If you have any questions or comments; please post a comment below, or contact Ali’s Answers via one of my social media pages…
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National Bird Day: 5th January 2018

National Bird Day is on 5th January every year; it is scheduled for the end of the annual Christmas Bird Count. The count helps to monitor our nation’s birds; members of the public go out and count as many birds as they can see during the three week count.

It is estimated that approximately 12% of the population of all bird species could face extinction within the next century. Many parrot species and songbirds face extinction due to illegal trade (see my post about the Javanese Songbird Trade for some related information), disease, and loss of habitat.

Today, National Bird Day, is to promote care and conservation of birds, as well as to raise awareness about their decline. It also marks the end of the Christmas Bird Count – which monitors wild populations to measure the numbers of individuals.

Many countries have a national bird, and I am going to use a few as examples to show the importance of National Bird Day, and the conservation of birds.

United Kingdom: European Robin 
The population of this bird has increased by 45% since 1970! The current count is 117,000,000-181,000,000 mature adults in Europe alone.

European Robin

United States of America: Bald Eagle
Estimated population of 300k-500k (k = thousand) in the 1700’s; the current population is now 70k in North America, and just 5k in the South. However numbers were as low as only 500 in mid-late 1800’s, so the population has increased again.

Bald Eagle

Italy: Italian Sparrow
The current population is 10-20 million individuals (5-10 million pairs) however have been classified as vulnerable due to their rapid decline at a rate of 54.2% between 2000 and 2015.

Italian Sparrow

Canada: Canada Goose
This species has steadily increased in population  at an estimated rate of 3% between 1998 and 2007. In 2015 the estimated population was 4.2-5.6 million.

Canada Goose

With the information from bird counts, we can take active steps to help conserve species when they need it – to show us the most vulnerable or endangered species, so that we can take steps to avoid their extinction.


All images are open source, Google images, or my own – or photos donated for use by the pet owners.


If you have any questions or comments; please post a comment below, or contact Ali’s Answers via one of my social media pages…
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Javanese Songbird Trade

Songbirds on the brink of extinction due to being wild caught, and then sold as pets in Java (Indonesia). Markets full of beautiful songbirds bundled into cages. Forests erily quiet as the songbirds that should occupy the trees are being sold in these markets; including protected bird species, being illegally caught and sold. These animals are treated as possessions of status as opposed to being cared for as companions. Songbird species native to Java are headed toward extinction – according to the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN). Many species are critically endangered with no signs of improving.

Songbird Market, Java

Despite the efforts of conservationists and breeding programmes, for some species it may be too late. But thankfully, these programmes are still going, still hoping. Maybe some species will recover but the people of Java need to release these birds back into/ stop taking them from the wild, to have them die in cages a stones throw from their natural habitat.

Sumatran laughingthrush

I was made aware of this awful practice by a short segment in between news stories on the BBC – for more information of this on the BBC website please follow this link.


All images are open source, Google images, or my own – or photos donated for use by the pet owners.


If you have any questions or comments; please post a comment below, or contact Ali’s Answers via one of my social media pages…
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World Penguin Day – 25 April 2017

In a few days it’s World Penguin Day! Today (22nd April) is Earth Day – so I’ve decided to post my penguin post a few days early… Penguins are distributed across the Earth, and come in various sizes and appearances. Penguins are flightless, aquatic birds (of varying sizes and habitats).

There are 17 species of penguin worldwide:

  1. Adélie penguins (Pygoscelis adeliae)
    This mid-sized penguin, of the Pygoscelis genus, weighs on average 4.5-5 kg (10-11 lbs) and is only 68-70 cm (27-27.5 “) in height. Adélie penguins live on the Antarctic continent and many surrounding islands. They can dive up to 175 m (575 ft) below the surface and can hold their breath under water for up to 6 minutes, but usually only dive for 2-3 minutes a time.
    Average wild lifespan: 20 years.
  2. African penguins (Spheniscus demersus)
    Also known as “Jackass penguin” due to their donkey-like vocalisations. Populations of this species are distributed across Namibia and South Africa. They can dive up to 99.9 m (328 ft), and hold their breath for over 2 minutes. On average, they grow to a height of 60 cm (2 ft / 24″) and weigh 2.3-4 kg (5.25-9 lbs).
    Average wild lifespan: 12 years.
  3. Chinstrap penguins (Pygoscelis antarctica)
    These little penguins are the smallest of the three species in the Pygoscelis genus, the Chinstrap weighs in at 3-6 kg (7-13 lbs) and has an average height of 71-76 cm (28-30″). Ranging across a variety of locations (Antarctica, Argentina, Bouvet Island, Chile, the Falkland Islands, the French Southern Territories, and South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands); Chinstrap penguins do not often dive deeper than approximately 70 m (200 ft), for no longer than 1 minute at a time.
    Average wild lifespan: 15-20 years.
  4. Emperor penguins (Aptenodytes forsteri)
    The largest and heaviest of all penguin species; the Emperor penguin weighs on average 23 kg (50.7 lbs) and reaches 1.1-1.3 m (3.6-4.2 ft) in height. Native to Antarctica, these penguins can dive up to 565 m (1,850 ft) below the surface and can hold their breath under water for up to 20 minutes.
    Average wild lifespan: 20 years.
  5. Erect-crested penguins (Eudyptes sclateri)
    Belonging to the Eudyptes Genus (crested penguins) the Erect-crested penguin is found  on the Bounty island and the Antipodes island of New Zealand. They tend to feed in the shallows, and therefore tend to keep to short, shallow dives; however, to forage for food when scarce they can dive deep. Weighing 2.5-6 kg (5.5-13.2 lbs) and growing to 65-60 cm (25.5-27.5″).
    Average wild lifespan: 15-20 years.
  6. Fiordland penguins (Eudyptes pachyrhynchus)
    Also belonging to the Eudyptes Genus (crested penguins) the Fiordland penguins can be found on the west coast of the South Island of New Zealand. Not a lot has been recorded about the marine ecology of the Fiordland, however studies show that they tend to take short, shallow dives. This species grows to a height of 55-60 cm (1.8-2 ft / 22-23.6″) and usually weigh 4 kg (8.8 lbs).
    Average wild lifespan: 10-20 years.
  7. Galapagos penguins (Spheniscus mendiculus)
    The mid-sized Galapagos penguin weighs in at 2.5 kg (5.5 lbs) and reach 49 cm (19.2″) in height. This is the only penguin species found in the Galápagos (hence the name), and north of the equator; however most are found among the western islands of Fernandina and Isabela. Diving to depths of 7.9-54.8 m (26-180 ft), with dives lasting an average of 3+ minutes.
    Average wild lifespan: 9.5 years.
  8. Gentoo penguins (Pygoscelis papua)
    Third largest of all penguin species (and largest of the Pygoscelis genus), Gentoos weigh 5-8.5 kg (11-19 lbs) and reach 51-90 cm (20-35″) in height. They range across many sub antarctic islands, and dive for 7 minutes at a time (on average) at depths of up to 200 m (665 ft).
    Average wild lifespan: 15 years.
  9. Humboldt penguins (Spheniscus humboldti)
    This med-size penguin stands at an average height of 70 cm (27.5″) tall, and weighs  4 kg (8.8 lbs) on average. The Humboldt penguin is native to the Peruvian and Chilean coasts; holding their breath underwater for an average of 2 minutes, diving to depths of 15 m (49.2 ft).
    Average wild lifespan: 15-20 years.
  10. King penguins (Aptenodytes patagonicus )
    The second largest and second heaviest of all penguin species, not too dissimilar in appearance to the Emperor; the King penguin weighs in at 15 kg (33 lbs) and reach just under 1 m in height (0.9 m / 3.1 ft). They inhabit a variety of sub antarctic islands, and usually dive to 100 m (330 ft) for feeding, but have been recorded at diving over 500 m (1,600 ft). King penguins can hold their breath under water for 20 minutes.
    Average wild lifespan: 15-20 years.
  11. Little (Blue) penguins (Eudyptula minor)
    This species is the smallest penguin species in the world! Standing at only 30-33 cm (11.8-13″) tall, and weighing in at 1.5 kg (3.3 lbs). They can be found around New Zealand and Southern Australia; the deepest recorded dive is 72 m (236 ft), however on average dive only 5-20 m (16.4-65.6 ft) – holding their breath for approximately 2 minutes at a time before surfacing for air.
    Average wild lifespan: 6 years.
  12. Macaroni penguins (Eudyptes chrysolophus)
    One of the larger species of the Eudyptes Genus (crested penguins), the Macaroni penguin is distributed across Antarctic Peninsula, Bouvet, Prince Edward islands, Heard Island, the Falkland islands, Marion, Crozet, Kerguelen, Chile, Argentina, South Georgia, South Sandwich, South Orkneys, and South Shetlands. They dive for an average of 2-3 minutes at a time, usually between 15-70 m (49.3- 229.6 ft) but can reach depths of 100 m (330 ft). On average, Macaroni penguins grow to 70 cm (27.5″) and weigh 5.5 kg (12.1 lbs).
    Average wild lifespan: 15 years.
  13. Magellanic penguins (Spheniscus magellanicus)
    The Magellanic penguin weighs 60-75 cm (23.6-29.5″) and is 2.5-6.5 kg (5.5-13.3 lbs) in height. Studies show that this species dives anywhere between 6-90 m (19.6-295.2 ft); 66.5-68 m (218-223 ft) on average. Distributed across the coasts of Argentina, southern Chile, and the Falkland Islands.
    Average wild lifespan: 25+ years.
  14. Rockhopper penguins (Eudyptes chrysocome)
    Another penguin of the Eudyptes Genus (crested penguins) this little species weighs just 2.3-3 kg (5-6.6 lbs), and is on average 51 cm (20″) in height. They can dive up to 100 m (330 ft), however tend to stick to the shallows; capable of holding their breath for approximately 6-10 minutes.
    Northern Rockhopper penguins are mostly found in the Gough Island, Tristan da Cunha, and throughout the Atlantic Ocean. Southern Rockhopper penguins are found in Southern Chile, the Falkland Islands, Auckland Islands, Isla Noir and Isla de los Estados, Prince Edward Islands, Diego Ramirez Islands, Campbell Island, Crozet Islands, Kerguelen Islands, Antipodes, and Heard Island.
    Average wild lifespan: 10 years.
  15. Royal penguins (Eudyptes schlegeli)
    Also belonging to the Eudyptes Genus (crested penguins), are 70 cm (27.5″) in height and 4-8 kg (8.8-17.6 lbs) in weight, on average. Found on the sub-Antarctic Macquarie Island and surrounding islands; diving between 50-150 m (164-492 ft) for food, for approximately 5-10 minutes.
    Average wild lifespan: 15-20 years.
  16. Snares penguins (Eudyptes robustus)
    The final species of the Eudyptes Genus (crested penguins), this species stands at 55-70 cm (21.5-27.5″) in height, and weighs 3-4 kg (6.5-8.8 lbs). They usually take short dives at depths of between 20-40 m (65.6-131.2 ft); however, for longer foraging trips, can reach depths of 120 m (393.7 ft). They are found off the coast of New Zealand, and The Snares islands (hence their name).
    Average wild lifespan: 15-20 years.
  17. Yellow-eyed penguins (Megadyptes antipodes)
    The Yellow-eyes penguin population is spread across Campbell Island, Stewart Island, Auckland Island, South Island of New Zealand, and the Otago Peninsula. They dive between 39.9-120 m (131-394 ft) for an average of 3.5 minutes. This species grows to a height of 65-73.6 cm (2.1-2.4 ft / 25.5-29″) and usually weigh 4.3-8.5 kg (9.5-18.75 lbs).
    Average wild lifespan: 10 years.

     


    All images are open source, Google images, or my own – or photos donated for use by the pet owners.


    If you have any questions or comments; please post a comment below, or contact Ali’s Answers via one of my social media pages…
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New Discoveries: Myanmar Jerdon’s Babbler

More of a re-discovery, than a new discovery; this little bird was thought to be extinct for the past 70+ years! Previously, the last sighting of this bird was in 1941! It was first discovered by British naturalist T.C. Jerdon, in 1862.

Their habitat was diminished by the development of local communities; with humans building on the habitat they had demolished. The Myanmar Jerdon’s Babbler lives in grasslands and floodplains, in Myanmar.

This bird is small (like a Sparrow), measuring 16-17cm in length; brown in colour, with a pale underside. The Myanmar Jerdon’s Babbler has a distinctive call, which is what led the team to the re-discovering of this little creature – the call was heard, recorded, and played back; resulting in a reply from the bird itself! The team has estimated there to be a population of approximately 10,000.

Hopefully, this once ‘extinct’ species will continue to rise, and make a come-back!

Open Source Google Image
Myanmar Jerdon’s Babbler – Open Source Google Image

National Pet Week: 4th-10th May

This week is National Pet Week – a week to remember your loving pets; past and present.

All the companion animals that made their way into our hearts; the members of the family that we can’t live without. From large to tiny – no matter what species, pets are held close by their families.

Here are some photo’s of “People’s Pets” shared via various (Ali’s Answers) social media pages (if you want your pet adding to this post, share via the social media options at the end of this post:-

National Visit the Zoo Day

In tribute to all the species kept in zoos and safari parks, enjoy some pictures of species that are wild, unusual, rarely seen (outside of zoos/ safari parks), and protected species/ last of their species.

Not everyone agrees with zoos or safari parks – there can certainly be improvements made; but on the other hand, we all enjoy visiting the zoo or safari park and taking in the exquisite and diverse animal species.

Remembrance

800px-Poppies_Field_in_Flanders

We remember today, at the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month, all the fallen heroes who gave their lives so that we can enjoy all the freedom and pleasures that we do today! We remember all the heroes who fight today, risking their lives daily.

We remember all the men and women who contributed to the war effort and aided in preserving their country. Amongst all the men and women, let us not forget the animals who were and are involved in wars; giving their lives and risking it all alongside soldiers, doing their bit to help in war-time.