If you click on any images in the blog, it will be opened in a separate window, will be larger and it will be easier to see detail.

Blog posts after 1 Feb 2018 about Steppe eagles tracked from Oman can be found at the Steppe eagle blog

Saturday, May 19, 2018

Electrocution of vultures


Back in 2015 one of the Egyptian vultures we were tracking in Oman was electrocuted.  You can look back at blog posts for 21 and 23 December 2015 to read more.  Now this news from Iran (photo below) about an electrocuted Egyptian vulture.  Although this bird was not being tracked by us, one of the birds fitted with a tag in Oman this past January is in the area (See map below).

Electrocution is a global problem for many large soaring birds, including eagles and vultures.  Some of those species, like the Egyptian vulture and Steppe eagle, are globally endangered.  One of our analyses of tracking data from vultures in Oman will be to identify areas in which there is a particularly high risk of electrocution, and then plan conservation actions to reduce that risk.  This can be achieved by ensuring that new power lines are designed to be safe and that existing lines are fitted with devices that reduce electrocution risk.  Happily, this effort would benefit both large birds by reducing electrocutions, but also reduce expensive repairs and down-time related to power outages caused by electrocution of birds.


An adult Egyptian vulture electrocuted on Qeshm Island, Iran on 18 May 2018.


Tracking of an adult Egyptian vulture during May 2018.  Qeshm Island is where the electrocution of the bird in the photo above occurred.


Monday, April 23, 2018

A little migration

Finally, after what appeared to be much indecision, 171318 has hopped across the Straits of Hormuz and is in Iran just west of the city of Bandar Abbas.  You can look back at posts from 15 March and 16 February to see descriptions of this bird's behaviour since being fitted with a transmitter.  Basically, since that time it has been moving up and down the north Oman coast from Musandam to Sur (I have yet to calculate how many km it travelled, but it will be thousands!)  So far this is the only one of the 13 vultures we caught that has made a migratory move, and all the others are behaving quite differently than this one.  We'll have to wait to see what happens.

On another front... the Steppe eagle we are tracking seems to be settling in central Kazakhstan.  I'll post something on that in the coming days.  Stay tuned... https://steppeeaglesoman.blogspot.co.at/

Movements of  Egyptian vulture 171318 during 19-23 April 2018.
Crossing of the Straits of Hormuz by 171318


Tuesday, March 20, 2018

Egyptian vulture tracking paper

Here's a tip:  We have just published an article on Egyptian vultures we tracked via satellite.  You can read it online here:
http://rdcu.be/JqCl
Pass the link on to others you think might be interested.

Also, remember to keep an eye out for colour marked birds, especially Egyptian vultures (we have now colour marked 17 in Oman).  So many people are taking great pictures of birds.  Like the one of a subadult Egyptian vulture by Hassan Mohamed below.
Sub-adult Egyptian vulture

For those of you who are photographing birds, make sure to look closely at your photos.  Sometimes one does not see a colour mark (or ring or transmitter) until one looks at a reasonable picture.  Below are photos (by A. Kovac) of a colour-ringed Steppe eagle (from Russia) photographed at Raysut rubbish dump in Salalah.



Thursday, March 15, 2018

What's up with 171318?

171318 is an adult Egyptian vulture we caught and fitted with a transmitter on 20 January.  All the other vultures we have captured have stayed in fairly limited areas in NE Oman, travelling no farther west than Bid Bid.  Below is a simple animation of the movements of 171318.  Double click on the video to open it in a larger screen.  As you can see, its movements are very different.  We'll have to wait to see what happens.


Tuesday, March 6, 2018

Tayeh

One of the satellite transmitters we deployed in January in Oman was provided by  the Vulture Conservation Foundation.  They had a little contest amongst their supporters to give the vulture a name, and the supporters chose, "Tayeh" التائه , the wanderer. Below is a map of what Tayah has done since it was caught, and a map of what it has done during the first week of March.  Recently, it seems to be concentrating its time in the hills south of the village of Jaslut جحلوت, and maybe this is a sign that this is a resident bird and not a migrant.  We'll have to wait and see.

You should take the opportunity to visit the Vulture Conservation Foundation's web site.  It has a lot of information on other things they are doing for vultures, including tracking Egyptian vultures that spend their summers on the Iberian Peninsula and their winters in  West Africa (those birds are migrating now!).
Movements of an adult Egyptian vulture (Tayeh) during mid January - early March 2018.

Movements of an adult Egyptian vulture (Tayeh) during mid 1-6 March 2018.

Releasing Tayeh on 19 Jan 2018.

Friday, February 23, 2018

Injured vulture released

On 29 January I visited the New Al Amerat Landfill with Dr. Andy Kwarteng of Sultan Qaboos University. While there we found a sub-adult Egyptian vulture that had a spiral shaped piece of wire through its foot. With the help of the Suez workers, we collected the bird and took it to the Sama Veterinary Clinic, where Dr. Ninko Marijanovic removed the wire, cleaned the wound and gave the bird antibiotics.  The next day, thanks to Dr. Barbara Golachowska, the bird was taken to Bait al Barakah to recover.  Now, three weeks later, we can happily report that the bird has been released back into the wild.  Sadly, we did not have a transmitter to fit to it, but it was fitted with colour and metal rings.  Below are some pictures of the injury and a video of the bird's release.  Thanks everyone for helping out.  Keep in mind that Egyptian vultures are globally endangered, so saving even a single bird is important.

Before
After

Friday, February 16, 2018

More updating. January and early February 2018

As reported in the last post, we managed to capture 13 Egyptian vultures in January, and fit them with satellite radio transmitters.  This is the first of the blog posts that will follow those birds, reporting from time to time on their movements and other events.  Below are maps from two of them, whose transmitter numbers are 171318 and 171328.

171328 was captured and fitted with a transmitter on 20 January.  After release, it moved south to a location in the mountains SW of Quriayat.  It has spent most of its time there, but has also visited the rubbish dump near Ibra.  This type of behaviour is typical of most vultures we have tracked, with birds settling into an area, and making occasional forays out to other places.  Over time the map becomes one in which the movement of birds is clustered around places (especially rubbish dumps).  One thing to keep in mind is that this is an adult bird and it might be holding a territory and could be a breeder.  We'll have to wait and see.

171328 being released, 20 January 2018.  Photo by M. McGrady

Movements of an adult Egyptian vulture (171328) during January and early February 2018.
171318 has behaved differently from the other birds we have tracked in that it has been almost always on the move and has not settled anywhere for very long.  Its movements have lead it to do at least two laps of northern Oman, from Sur to Musandam!  171318 was also captured and fitted with a transmitter on 20 January.

171318 being held by Dr B. Meyburg.  Photo: M. McGrady
Movements of an adult Egyptian vulture (171318) during late January and early February 2018.
Other places where information on this work is available include: https://thevulturechronicles.wordpress.com/2018/02/13/omans-egyptian-vultures/ and http://timesofoman.com/article/128064

You can also visit our blog which shows the movements of Steppe Eagles tagged by us in Oman in January 2017.  https://steppeeaglesoman.blogspot.co.at/