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Friday, April 20th, 2018
avinews
Butterflies
A hard winter for the Red Admiral

Last winter was a hard one for Red Admirals. In contrast to species such as the Brimstone, Red Admirals do not enter “proper” dormancy in winter. They remain inactive during periods of cold weather, but become active on any suitable day and need to refuel. However, days with suitable conditions for flight were rare in Switzerland during the winter 2017/2018, which was characterised by above-average precipitation and below-average sunshine duration. The notion of a hard winter from a Red Admiral’s perspective is further corroborated by butterfly observations recorded on www.ornitho.ch. During the first mild and sunny days in March Red Admirals were recorded in much lower numbers compared to Brimstones, than after last year’s sunny and dry winter.
How will 2018 continue for the Red Admiral? Help us find out! Please report your observations to www.ornitho.ch and thus support the Red Admiral Citizen Science project initiated by the University of Bern.
Thank you very much!

Insect Migration & Ecology Research Group, Institute of Ecology and Evolution, University of Bern   More

Important note: With its red banded and white spotted black wings, the Red Admiral can be easily distinguished from other butterflies. However, caution is needed when identifying flying individuals. Possible confusion species are Small Tortoiseshell and Painted Lady. Both species are also known to be migratory. For instance, migrating Small tortoiseshells are currently being observed in the Alps.
A useful identification guide can be found here.

posted by Hans Schmid
 
Monday, April 2nd, 2018
avinews
Birds
Disturbance during the breeding period and pictures taken at nests

While birdwatching, be irreproachable!

More and more people are interested in birdwatching and that is wonderful! At the same time, we also know that birds are suffering heavy threats and that many species are weakened by perturbations and that their habitats disappear… For all these reasons, ALL OF US should adopt an irreproachable behaviour at any circumstances and regardless to the species considered. A code of ethics, which has already been adopted by most of us, exists. Nevertheless, Nos Oiseaux, ornitho.ch, Birdlife Switzerland, Ficedula and the Swiss Ornithological Institute would like you to pay a special attention to the following points:

  • Do not drive on restricted roads (especially in mountainous and agricultural areas).
  • Never leave the official paths in natural reserves.
  • Never enter agriculture areas or ecological compensation zones.
  • Don't imitate the songs and calls and avoid tape-luring.
  • A picture is nothing worth if it was taken to the detriment of the bird or its environment. Moreover such pictures will never be accepted for any of our publications. Avoid taking photos of birds on the nest, as the breeding success is strongly correlated to the disturbance level. (Note that disruptions during the breeding period imply a violation of the Federal Hunting Act and can therefore be prosecuted).
  • A rare bird does NOT justify transgressing the rules cited above.
  • Teach your family and friends to observe the same comportment.

Thank you for your understanding and your sensitivity towards nature and birds.

posted by Hans Schmid
 
Saturday, March 31st, 2018
technews
Birds
NaturaList: using offline maps

The NaturaList-App (currently only available for Android) enables users to directly enter records in the field and transfer them to ornitho. But what happens if you happen to have no internet access for example in remote alpine valleys, in bordering areas (e.g. Rheindetla A) or simply because you used up your mobile data? No problem if you use the offline-fuctionality of NaturaList. It allows you to donwload high quality maps prior to your birding trip. If you have internet access NaturaList will show the downloaded base map for orientation. Our latest video is a step-by-step instruction (in German) on how to download maps on your smartphone.

BTW: The Swiss Ornithological Institute is covering the costs for the high quality base maps of swisstopo in order to say thanks for your tremendous effort by entering thousands of observations every year.

posted by Hans Schmid
 
Monday, March 26th, 2018
technews
Birds
Bird migration live on radar

The bird migration over Sempach can now be followed up live on ornitho.ch. A radar device developed by the Swiss Ornithological Institute monitors the migration from the Institute visitor centre and gives an update every hour. This service, offered by the Swiss Ornithological Institute, gives the users of ornitho.ch an up-to-date overview of the bird migration intensity, the direction and mean altitude, from the middle of the Swiss Plateau. Last but not least, these continuous records give the Swiss Ornithological Institute useful reference values for future research projects.

Your ornitho.ch team

posted by Hans Schmid
 
Sunday, March 18th, 2018
avinews
Birds
Communication of the Swiss Rarities Committee

The Swiss Rarities Committee (SRC) has published the minutes of its last meeting, held on 20 February 2018, on the SRC website (www.vogelwarte.ch/src). Among the reports accepted during that meeting are the 1st record of Vinous-throated Parrotbill (cat. C), the 2nd record of Dusky Warbler, the 7th record of Pine Bunting, the 13th record of Pygmy Cormorant since 1900, the 13th and 14th records of Lesser Spotted Eagle since 1900, the 16th record of Chiffchaff with characters of the subspecies Phylloscopus collybita tristis, the 19th record of Richard’s Pipit and the 20th record of Long-legged Buzzard.

In order to facilitate its administrative work, the SRC recommends to send the rarities reports and photographic proofs as soon as possible and if possible in electronic format (preferably as Word file) to the following address: sak@vogelwarte.ch. The form can be downloaded from the SRC website (www.vogelwarte.ch/src-downloads).

The SRC thanks you for your collaboration and wishes you many interesting spring observations.

posted by Bernard Volet
 
Friday, March 16th, 2018
technews
New: mortality tool

Information on animals’ death circumstances, especially for particularly exposed species, can provide important clues to take the most appropriate and effective protection measures.

As a result, Biolovision has developed a new mortality tool with which injured or dead animals can be reported as well as the assumed circumstances, such as electric shocks, collisions with windows or cars, falls into a chimney, etc. This new module is available both on the ornitho platforms ("Additional Information / Information" in the 3rd step) and in the NaturaList app. Please submit such observation only with a very precise localization. Instruction video can be found here.

This development of this new module has been funded by the Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes region, LPO AuRA and the LPO network.

Your ornitho.ch team

posted by Hans Schmid
 
Wednesday, March 14th, 2018
avinews
Birds
Monitoring the breeding populatio of Rooks

The spring is here... As a result Rooks are already present in their breeding colonies and eager to build or repair their nests!

The correct way to submit sightings about Rook colonies:
In order to monitor Rook colonies and report them correctly, please follow the instructions in the "Rook monitoring" section (here, in German). These instructions will help you to determine when and how to report colonies and how to properly use the “colony breeder tool” from ornitho.ch for this species.

Many thanks for your commitment!

Martin Spiess

Swiss Ornithological Institute

posted by Hans Schmid
 
Wednesday, January 3rd, 2018
avinews
Birds
Winter Mountain Bird Race 2018 (L'Oiseau-Course d'Hiver d'Altitude = OCHA)

This very special Bird Race was invented by our younger birder colleagues from the French-speaking part of Switzerland (Groupe des jeunes de Nos Oiseaux). This event is THE ornithological and social event you shouldn’t miss this winter!

The main idea is to record a maximum of bird species in the middle of the winter during a 24 hours period but … only above 1000 m above sea level!

Here the rules:

  • The 2018 "race" will take place on one of the following weekends: 27th-28th January, 3rd-4th February or 10th-11th February 2018.
  • Each group is composed of at least two persons who will remain together during the whole race. Each and every bird species must be observed by at least two members of the group.
  • Only the bird species observed above 1000 m above sea level are eligible. (It’s a Swiss Race but highly motivated birders are allowed to take part everywhere else in the world!).
  • As soon as the 24 hours period starts, only displacement with muscle power is allowed (on foot, by bicycle, skis, snowshoes, skateboard, row-boat ...). No car, no public transportation.
  • A cheese fondue meal has to be organized among the participants in the evening before the race starts (Saturday evening).
  • At the end of the "race", the organizer (henridescombes@hotmail.com) will receive from each group a short report with a commented list of species.
  • Participate at your own risk!

More information can be found here.

posted by Hans Schmid
 
Saturday, December 30th, 2017
avinews
Birds
We wish you a Happy New Year!

Ornitho.ch and the whole ornitho family can look back with pleasure and a great debt of gratitude to another very successful year. In our 10th year, more than 1.6 million sightings were submitted to ornitho.ch in 2017. This is about 10% less than in the top-year 2016. However, as the field work of the breeding bird atlas had come to an end, this modest decrease had to be expected. The last months were again well above the number of records of the previous year. Today, ornitho.ch can count on 13.7 million of sightings and more than 400,000 pictures!

In my position of head of the swiss and international steering group of “ornitho” I would like to thank Gaëtan Delaloye and his “Biolovision”-crew for their tireless efforts. Furthermore, I am very grateful to the regional coordinators for their meticulous controls. The support of the Swiss Ornithological Institute must be acknowledged too: its important financial and human commitment allows the continuous development and improvement of “ornitho” far beyond the borders of our country, resulting in a spectacular increase in the ornithological activity. Since this year, Croatia is a new member of the ornitho-family (www.fauna.hr). In many parts of Europe such an increase would have been unimaginable only a few years ago. Last but not least, a big thank to all the collaborators and photographers for their commitment and for the huge amount of high-quality data that have been submitted to ornitho.ch.

I wish you all a birdy, healthy and carefree 2018!

Hans Schmid

Head of the Ornitho International Steering Group

posted by Hans Schmid
 
Friday, December 29th, 2017
avinews
Birds
Second “Wintering White Stork Census”

The migratory behavior of the White Storks has been subject to important changes in the last years and decades. An increasing number of storks does no longer migrate until West Africa for the winter but stays in the south of Spain. In Switzerland too, more and more White Storks are staying there for the winter.

On 6th January 2018 the second “Wintering White Stork Census” will take place in Switzerland. This census should allow us to measure the changes in the behaviour of the White Storks and identifies the areas of importance for a successful wintering.

We need your help to record the White Storks overwintering in Switzerland.
 
Goal of the project:

Monitoring of the wintering population of White Storks (quantity and distribution).

Method:

On 6th January 2018 the White Storks should be monitored in all areas of Switzerland from 15: 30 until dusk. The data are collected in collaboration with the Swiss Ornithological Institute and regional organizations. The collected results are used for further evaluations.

a) Count the White Storks (with binoculars).

b) Submit your sightings on ornitho.ch. Indicate the number of ringed and non-ringed birds and give also details about ring type (metal or black plastic) and any visible markings you may read.

c) Should you want to try to read the ring markings with a telescope, make sure you do it after having counted the Storks. (Unpacking and setting up a telescope could disturb the storks and make them fly away).

More information on www.storch-schweiz.ch

Thanks in advance for your help!

posted by Hans Schmid
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