Conservation

Champions of the Flyway - Winner 2017

Imagine being in one of the world’s best spots for visible migration, in right time, surrounded by talented and inspiring birdwatchers and doing this for good cause – doesn’t that sound good? Well, this is what Champions of the Flyway is about. It is a fund raiser against illegal killing of the migratory birds around the Mediterranean Sea and a famous bird race, which takes place in southern Israel each March. The Zeiss Arctic Redpolls is one of the teams that Zeiss Sport Optics has supported during many years.

We are a group of 4 birdwatchers from Finland. We had scored the 2nd place on 2015 and 1st place on 2016, so the burden of winning had worn off. We aimed to have a nice intensive day of birdwatching and lots of good time. We were also putting the new Gavia Conquest spotting scope on a hard test.

Will it be an asset in the game or should it be dumped? Well, we got what we aimed for and more – here is how it all rolled out.

more

On the track of the Red Kite

At first sight the name „Red Kite“ for Milvus milvus seems strange to non-English speakers. What has a bird to do with a flying kite in autumn? Actually a lot if you watch the Red Kite using the thermal, how it glides through the air. Even if one cannot recognize the rusty brown feathers against the light, you always identify the bird species by its fork tail while coasting in the sky. A little bigger than a common buzzard the Red Kite looks for prey on its glider flight. If the kite finds a field mouse, a mole or thrushes and blackbirds it kills its prey with strong strokes of its beak in the next tree it comes across.

In general the Red Kite is quite flexible in regards to options on nutrition: In spring lots of beetles and earthworms are on its menu, close to water it likes to hunt fish. Even carrion is an acceptable meal. In some areas the Red Kite became scarcer where dumps were closed. In winter when hunting prey gets more difficult the Red Kite robs Black Kites or crows. If it cannot wrangle their prey directly, it harasses them long enough until they regurgitate the food and provides it to the Red Kite.

more

Interview with William Velmala

William Velmala is a well-known birder and ornithologist in Finland. He has been active in public science, having written some hundreds of magazine articles, book reviews and book chapters on birds. He has also had many confidential posts in ornithological societies, and is currently a member of both the Nomenclatural Committee and Rarities Committee of BirdLife Finland. Last autumn William was awarded the Silver Medal of BirdLife Finland.

William has quite an array of professional posts related to birds and ornithology. He has worked in the Finnish Ringing Scheme at the Finnish Museum of Natural History, as a PhD student at the Ecology Department at University of Turku, given bird classes at folk high schools and worked as a bird expert in a pest control company. Currently he is working as an Environmental Expert in a consultancy company Pöyry Finland Inc. and conducts field surveys on birds and bats, as well as environmental impact assessments and so on. We met William and asked about his passion for birds.

more

ZEISS supports nature conservation and education in Israel

Established in 1953, The Society for the Protection of Nature in Israel (SPNI) is Israel's leading environmental non-profit organization. For over 60 years SPNI has been dedicated to protecting and preserving Israel's natural resources, environment, natural assets and unique landscape.

In October, ZEISS and SPNI signed a partnership. Three of Israel’s most important Birdwatching Centres will now represent ZEISS products helping to support the local employees and volunteers in their research projects, but also visitors to experience nature from a different perspective.

more

ZEISS supports the Honduras Birding for Conservation Tour

The inaugural Honduras Birding for Conservation Tour took place in northwestern Honduras from November 4 to 12, 2016.
Five teams of ten birders, and two guides birded during proscribed hours each day, rotating between some of Honduras’ most famous birding hotspots, including Santa Barbara, Pico Bonito, and Meambar Blue Mountain national parks as well as Lake Yojoa, the Lancetilla Botanical Gardens, and the Mayan ruins at Copán.

The purpose of the tour was to raise awareness of the birding opportunities in Honduras, to encourage more eco- and avitourism there, and to raise money and awareness for conservation of Honduran birds and habitat. Everyone—from tour organizers to guides to participants to the Honduran government and the national media outlets—seemed to agree that the inaugural Honduras Birding for Conservation Tour (HBCT) was a grand success. Carl Zeiss Sports Optics was a major sponsor of the tour—more about that later on in this post.

more

ZEISS Supports NABU Naturschutzjugend in Hamburg

People generally associate Hamburg with bustling trade and busy streets, and not with nature. Apart from its port, Hamburg is a typical big city in Europe – with a large number of paved areas. The locals only encounter nature in one of the city’s parks or once they venture further afield. And yet there are a great many children and young people who enjoy spending time in the great outdoors and are committed to nature conservation.

“In a big city like Hamburg, there are plenty of things for children and young people to do in their free time. It’s not always easy to position our Naturschutzjugend activities. Still, we have quite a number of volunteers and popular youth groups,” says 19-year-old Jan Göldner. When Jan isn’t studying for his high school diploma or working a shift at the hardware store, he spends a lot of time as a regional youth spokesman for Naturschutzjugend and runs a youth group that focuses on nature conservation.

more

Fascinating and irreplaceable: bird species such as the steppe eagle, the Rüppel’s vulture and the great knot are one of a kind – but they may soon disappear if we don’t take action now:

on the 2015 Red List for Birds, BirdLife International stated that population numbers are dwindling at a faster rate than they were just one year earlier. ZEISS has pledged to be a Red Listing Sponsor in the interests of conserving bird species diversity.

more

More than 100 million of birds on their journey to the south

Every fall, more than 100 million birds head to southern Europe and Africa. They journey not to evade the harsh winter but primarily in pursuit of accessible food. While sources of food abound in the spring, making the northern climes ideal for raising their young,

sub-zero temperatures, snow and shorter days in winter render their search for nourishment much more difficult. Migratory birds are therefore almost genetically predisposed to fly off to warmer climes.

more

Created in 1969, today the national park covers 50,720 ha and is the largest nature reserve in Western Europe. The diversity in biotopes is as varied as Doñana is large. Secluded beaches, huge flood plains, lagoons, wandering dunes, extensive forests of pine and spruce, and expansive heaths make it a safe place for migratory birds to rest and spend the winter. It is a unique breeding ground for endangered birds such as marbled ducks, white-headed ducks and rare mammals like the Iberian lynx.

People are only granted access to a very few areas in the national park. One of the finest experiences is to go on one of the rare four to seven-hour-long jeep tours of the park. These tours start from the El Acebuche visitor centre. From here you can start to explore the park's open countryside and small lagoons on short trails.

more