Conservation

They focus on two successful birding activities

Signed on the dotted line: On 9 October 2017, Deputy Executive Director of NABU Angelika Richter and Head of Consumer Optics at Carl Zeiss AG Jörg Schmitz concluded an agreement in Wetzlar regarding a long-term collaboration between NABU and Carl Zeiss Sports Optics.

ZEISS will sponsor the two NABU hands-on activities: Hour of the Garden Birds and Hour of the Winter Birds. The goal of the partnership is for the signatories to provide new impetus for enjoying the beauty of nature and for birdwatching topics. That’s why ZEISS is also supporting a video series on all aspects of birdwatching.

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The name given for our new spotting scope

In Greek mythology they pictured a harpy as a mixture between a raptor and a woman. The creature was the personification of the evil, especially of greed. As a kind of an embodied storm wind she was very fast and thereby invulnerable. On behalf of Zeus she killed human beings or just nabbed their soul. Even in Astrid Lindgren’s famous children’s book “Ronia, the Robber’s Daughter” the author took up the harpies that regularly attack Ronia and her friend Birk.

What is so special about this bird that is named after such creepy mythical creatures? First of all it is one of the largest birds of prey, and in fact it is even the strongest raptor. Its wingspan measures up to two meters and the female birds, which are heavier than the male, may weigh nine kilos. There are few photos of them, but in most of the existing ones you see prey under their impressive, strong talons. The back part of a harpy eagle’s talon grows up to seven centimeters.

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Watersheds Conservation at Triangle Ranch

Nestled in the southwest corner of Florida and perched at the north end of Myakka River State Park, the 1,143 acre Triangle Ranch teems with birdlife. Christmas Bird Counts conducted since the 1940’s have recorded more than 280 species on the property and surrounding areas, including Florida Sandhill Cranes, Wood Storks, and Crested Caracaras. Now, thanks to the vision of the local philanthropist-turned rancher who purchased the property, leadership from the Conservation Foundation of the Gulf Coast, which secured the funding to purchase a conservation easement on the land, and a grant from the Healthy Watersheds Consortium, this property is now protected forever from development.

Its natural features and ranch lands will provide habitat for birds and help keep water supplies clean for people and nature. Triangle Ranch, which is part of the Myakka Island Conservation Corridor Project, is one of dozens of watershed protection programs underway across the United States that are supported by the Healthy Watersheds Consortium Grant Program. This partnership includes the federal the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Department of Agriculture Natural Resources Conservation Service, and the not-for-profit U.S. Endowment for Forestry and Communities. In the first two years of the partnership, more than $4.1 million in grants has been awarded to 25 projects in 30 states. The partnership is planned to continue for at least four more years.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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