Tuesday 23 October 2012

Aylal, again at Tamri

Aylal, which was based in the Douira area since April, has been making trips eastwards, sometimes up to 18 kilometres inland. Occasionally there was also a shift to the south to the Souss-Massa National Park limits.
On October 19th, however, in the morning, it moved northwards, stopping at Cape Ghir and finishing at Tamri area, where it has been spending last days.

Friday 12 October 2012

US Fish and Wildlife Service supports NBI

The US Fish and Wildlife Service has awarded Northern Bald Ibis conservation project with US$24,821 through its Wildlife Without Borders programme.

This is one of only twelve selected for funding, out of one hundred proposals received.

Those funds will be used to improve knowledge about movements of NBI as well as for improving breeding habitat and roosts, as well as trying to attrack birds to deserted colonies.

Another recent contribution from the Mohamed bin Zayed Species Conservation Fund will also help to improve knowledge about the movements of the species.

Sunday 7 October 2012

Northern Bald Ibis in Ancient Egypt

In 1989, Gunter Dreyer discovered in a tomb at Abydos, 300 miles south of Cairo, ivory or bone tablets some 5,400 years old, that reveal one of the oldest known stage of the hieroglyphic writing. Those small plates, about three centimeters squared, were probably used as labels to show the origin and content of boxes and containers. Among more than 200 pieces, one represents, apparently, a Northern Bald Ibis.

Akh, about -3400
Since then, a crested ibis has represented the hieroglyph Akh, having probably an phonetic correlation between the bird and the concept.
Representing Akh besides a solar disk is very common  
The Akh is one of the five constituents of the human personality which becomes eternal and unchanged in the Death Realm. Akh also means "to be resplendent, to shine", wich could be related to the glossy Northern Bald Ibis feathers.

Northern bald ibis as Egyptian hieroglyph
Another Akh in a sunk-relief 

The coloured versions of the Akh seem to diverge from the natural colour pattern. This is probably due to the fact of a progressive decline of Northern Bald Ibis. The material and pictorial evidence dealing with the northern bald ibis is much more accurate, precise, and elaborate in the early periods of Egyptian history (until the end of the 3rd millennium BC) while, in later times, the representations become more and more schematized, showing probably that the artists were no familiar to the bird in the late phase because ok the extinction of the species in Egypt.

More information about Northern Bald Ibis in Egypt is available on this interesting work by Jiří Janák.

Tuesday 2 October 2012

Untagged NBI in Spain

As a result of the recent sight of an untagged NBI in Manchester (UK) it's worth to remember other non-ringed birds that have been spotted in the last decade. On  http://rarebirdspain.net there's information on those records in Spain. 
Sightings of NBI in Spain are extremely rare during 20th century. The only known observation of this species was in Doñana, Southern Spain, in 1958. Nevertheless in 2004 one specimen was observed in very good condition in La Aldehuela (more than 1000 m osl), Ávila (Central Spain) between December 17th and 22th.  Apparently, the bird was there since one month before.
Northern bald ibis in Ávila (M. Rouco)
Observations stopped when temperatures became rougher.
Another image of the same animal  (M.Rouco)

During the same month another individual was seen in Extremadura. In this case, it was a young bird observed between December 1st and 6th and again, between March 24rd and 27th, 2005, near  Trujillo, Cáceres
Young NBI in Cáceres, on the ruins of  de Santo Domingo church (J. Briz)
This bird was still seen through a total of ten months  (Prieta, J. y Mayordomo, S. 2011. Aves de Extremadura. Vol. 4. Anuario 2004-2008. SEO-Cáceres. Plasencia), though its fitness was slowly deteriorated at the end of September, 2005.

The potential arrival of Moroccan birds is very unlikely, given the distance and the lack of observations in the last decades. Apparently, both birds came from any private owned zoological park having its birds untagged and whose facilities are inadequate to keep birds safe and secure. 

More recently, a SEO/BirdLife's team spotted another untagged NBI in southern Spain. In this case was, again, one young bird. Different sightings belonging, probably, to the same bird occured between February and May 2012, in the area of the Campiñas of Eastern Seville. This location is not far from the place were "proyecto Eremita" are been released and where they nest. It this case, we cannot rule out that any wild-born bird from released individuals has escaped to the compulsory tagging.

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