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

Thursday, February 2, 2017

Issues for large soaring birds

This blog post will not talk much about what the tagged birds are doing.  The vulture is mostly around the Tahwa Landfill site, one eagle is near Al Kamil and one is near Al Mudaybi.  You can look back at earlier posts to see some detail, and we'll post new information soon.  However, there are two items we wanted to bring to your attention:  soaring birds' collisions with aircraft and large birds' collision and electrocution at power lines in Sudan.

Many people are aware of the hazard that birds, especially large ones, pose to civilian and military aircraft, especially since that Tom Hanks movie:  "Sully".  Hollywood aside, birds strike is a huge problem that costs lots of money annually.  This is from Wikipedia:

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) in the US estimates bird strikes cost US aviation 400 million dollars annually and have resulted in over 200 worldwide deaths since 1988. In the United Kingdom, the Central Science Laboratory estimates that worldwide, the cost of birdstrikes to airlines is around US$1.2 billion annually.

Even if you quibble with the numbers, they are very large, and that does not even consider the worst part of "bird strike", which is the potential for humans to die or be injured in large numbers.

The point we are trying to make is that apart from the conservation value, better understanding of how soaring birds  (like the eagles and vulture we are tracking) move in the environment has huge benefits for human health (maybe outweighing the conservation benefit)!  If you want to read more then here is a link: http://wildlife.org/tagging-vultures-for-safetys-sake/

Results of a collision with a turkey vulture in USA. (photo from site mentioned above)
The second topic we want to remind you of is that large birds like vultures and eagles are at risk of electrocution and collision along power lines.  Even in Oman we know that some birds get electrocuted (though we don't know how many). Look back at the post for 21 December 2015. http://egyptianvultureoman.blogspot.co.at/2015_12_01_archive.html 

Sudan is one of the poorest countries in the world, and particularly dangerous power lines occur there, right in the area where many migratory and resident large birds live.  Have a look at this link:
http://www.birdlife.org/africa/news/how-many-more-killer-powerlines-are-there-sudan .  However... good for the Sudanese government!  Despite being poor and needing to supply electricity to many parts of a huge country, the Sudan has taken steps to address the problem.  Click on this link to see how they are trying to make the most dangerous power lines safe again.   http://lifeneophron.eu/en/news-view/187.html
Bird carcasses found along a stretch of power line in Sudan (photo from the site mentioned above)

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