EU BANS LEAD SHOT IN WETLAND AREAS

EU BANS LEAD SHOT IN WETLAND AREAS

On September 3, 2020, the EU agreed to the European Commission’s proposal to ban hunting with lead ammunition in wetlands. This decision came as a result of an extensive awareness campaign involving environmental organizations from all over Europe.

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BalkanDetox LIFE: New project combats illegal wildlife poisoning across Balkan countries

BalkanDetox LIFE: New project combats illegal wildlife poisoning across Balkan countries

“Intentional wildlife poisoning in Albania hasn’t been regarded as a prohibited action in the legislation over years till July 2019 when use of poison baits and poisonous substances was defined as prohibited activity, with the amendments to the law “On the protection of fauna”.  As a consequence, today, among other things, we are facing a lack of experience, knowledge, and capacities within state institutions which are responsible for combating this phenomenon. I believe that the involvement of these institutions in combating wildlife poisoning and their training under the Balkan Detox LIFE project will make a significant contribution to increasing the institutional knowledge and capacity, as well as help create a healthy structure and an efficient system for dealing with and punishing these issues in the future”, says Klea Duro, AOS’ Project Coordinator.  

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BirdID Albania 2020

BirdID Albania 2020

Pas suksesit të BirdID Albania 2018, AOS (Shoqata Ornitologjike e Shqipërisë) hap thirrjen për aplikime për të gjithë dashamirësit e shpendëve, natyrës dhe jetës së egër në Shqipëri, për BirdID Albania 2020, Kursi II për identifikimin e shpendëve.Kursi ka për qëllim të certifikojë njohuritë në identifikimin e shpendëve të egër nëpërmjet:Vëzhgimit të shpendëve në mjedise natyrore dhe artificiale;Identifikimit të shpendëve në terren nëpërmjet imazheve pamore;Identifikimit të shpendëve në terren nëpërmjet zërave, thirrjeve dhe këngës:Identifikimit të shpendëve të vegjël nëpërmjet unazimeve dhe manipulimit në terren;Përdorimit të programit BirdID online të zhvilluar nga Nord University (Norvegji);Provimit on-line për imazhet dhe zërat dheCertifikimit nga Nord University, Fakulteti i Shkencave Natyrore (Universiteti i Tiranës) dhe AOS (Albanian Ornithological Society).Programi udhëhiqet nga dy trainierë/mësues, anëtarë të AOS dhe të certifikuar nga Nord University (Norvegji)....

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International Vulture Awareness Day 2020

International Vulture Awareness Day 2020

To commemorate this special day, AOS in collaboration with RAPA Gjirokastër, Conservation Youth Club of Gjirokastra (CYC), and the group EcoFriend have conducted a number of activities, with the main focus being on the protection of the Egyptian Vulture’s population in the Drinos Valley.

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Poaching is wreaking havoc in Albania, no reaction from the ministry and the responsible institutions

Poaching is wreaking havoc in Albania, no reaction from the ministry and the responsible institutions

AOS has been observing with great concern the alarming rise of poaching incidents during the month of August. Cases such as the luring (through the usage of electronic calling devices) and killing of the Common Quail in the Western Lowlands, the killing of the European Roller, the killing of numerous flocks of Eurasian Golden Oriole, etc, have been published in various wildlife and hunting related social media outlets.

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Mokoš, the Griffon vulture, returns to the wilderness

Mokoš, the Griffon vulture, returns to the wilderness

The release of the bird took place on the morning of August 14, 2020 in Drino Valley. After the discussion with Croatian experts, we decided to release it in Drino valley due to its proximity to Greece where a colony of Griffon Vultures is located. From there Mokoš can join more quickly with other individuals of his own species. Besides, the Drino Valley and the Vjosa Valley are preferred habitats for vultures, especially the Egyptian Vulture.

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The recovered Stork returns to the wild

The recovered Stork returns to the wild

If we look back at the time of its rescue, the Stork was in poor shape, weakened and frail from the lack of food. In the rehabilitation center, the Stork not only found a safe space but also the necessary food and nutrients for it to reach an optimal weight.

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“Last Song for Migrating Birds” an article published at National Geographic was the inspiration for our volunteer Moed Gerveni

“Last Song for Migrating Birds” an article published at National Geographic was the inspiration for our volunteer Moed Gerveni

When I left Albania in 2012, the thought of wildlife biology and conservation as a career had never crossed my mind. As a matter of fact, it took me four years of living in the city where American ornithology was born – Philadelphia, USA – to realize the immense opportunities, and need for immediate action for younger generations to join the fight across the world. Until 2018, I remained ignorant of the fact that pioneers like AOS and Dr. Taulant Bino joined such battle in my own country years ago. Between a news report I found on YouTube and the famous National Geographic article “Last Song for Migrating Birds”, both of which featured the works of AOS and Dr. Taulant Bino, I decided it was my time to contribute to their cause. After having received a formal training at the oldest scientific institution on the western hemisphere, I did not have much expectations; a younger, more arrogant version of myself had just found out ornithology was a thing in Albania so how advanced could AOS...

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Wildlife conservation at a young age

Wildlife conservation at a young age

The activityOn July 23 and 24, 2020, for the second consecutive year, AOS organized and conducted the monitoring of power lines in the Drinos Valley. This time joined by twelve members from the Conservation Youth Club of Gjirokastra (CYC) and their professor, Dr. Gentian Hyka, under the guidance of four of our experts.This was their first outdoor activity since the group’s consolidation and a one-of-a-kind opportunity, as they are the first youth conservation network in Albania that actively participates in a completely new dimension of wildlife protection, namely the monitoring of power line infrastructure.The members of CYC, divided into two groups and equipped with the necessary supplies (shirts, binoculars, telescopes, hats, bags, bird identification guide etc.), were able to monitor approximately 10 km of power lines, split into short sections designated to each group.During the field survey, we were able to observe various species of birds that use the wires and pylons mainly...

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Three other nests of the European Roller confirmed in Albania

Three other nests of the European Roller confirmed in Albania

The European Roller (Coracias garrulus) is a medium-sized migratory bird with a distinctive vibrant blue to cyan plumage. It generally inhabits dry, warm, open spaces with sparse trees, and is mostly solitary and territorial. Each year, Rollers start their journey in the southern part of Africa, they cross the Sahara desert and Mediterranean Sea in order to breed and raise their young in Europe. Once an abundant species, now they are facing a rapid population decline, especially in Europe. Meanwhile in Albania, prior to two years ago, when a team from AOS discovered the first nest, no one had detected any individual or signs that could confirm their presence. The sighting of the aforementioned nest prompted an intense research that, recently, led our team to discover three new nests in three distinct but relatively close locations. The investigation was laborious but thrilling, due to the European Roller’s intelligence and discrete behavior. Their high level of activity...

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Survey on the use of poison baits in the south of Albania

Survey on the use of poison baits in the south of Albania

Survey on the use of poison baits in the south of Albania At present, the use of poison baits is defined by law as an illegal practice in Europe, including Balkans (recently – Albania), but is still in use by local people as a quick and affordable “solution” for resolving the conflicts with predators and other wildlife. Unlike the other countries in the region, Albania doesn’t possess data on the past wildlife poisoning trajectory and the current situation related to the vulture mortality.  During September-December 2019, in the scope of the “Anti-Poisoning on Wildlife in Albania” project, a dedicated team of the Albanian Ornithological Society (AOS) has conducted a survey in the south of the country. The survey aims to fill gaps on the data of wildlife poisoning in Albania, specifically in the use of poison baits against wildlife, the driving factors, as well as the consequences.  The selection of the areas where the survey was conducted was based on the high concentration of...

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AOS e-Newsletter – May/June edition is now available online!

AOS e-Newsletter – May/June edition is now available online!

We would like to announce that the 3rd edition of the AOS e-Newsletter / May-June edition is now available online. The last two months have been busy and immensely active for the team of Albanian Ornithological Society (AOS).  The May/June edition of the AOS e-Newsletter will inform you about the celebrations and conservation actions undertaken by the AOS team on the marked international/world days dedicated to biodiversity, migratory birds, and the environment.  Besides, during the last two months, the AOS field-ornithologists have been thoroughly engaged in monitoring and observing the breeding activity of waterbirds breeding in the main coastal wetland sites in Albania, those field-monitoring visits have been extended specifically in the complex lagoon of Divjaka-Karavasta and Narta Lagoon– learn more about the results by clicking and scrolling down the 3rd edition of AOS e-Newsletter. Last but not least, meet the newest bird species added to the Albanian ornitho-fauna list,...

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Volunteering with Benefits – AOS Volunteer, Ildiko

Volunteering with Benefits – AOS Volunteer, Ildiko

Volunteering with Benefits When you volunteer, whether it’s to give of your time, talents, or materials, you walk on with your life journey as a different person. I have been volunteering since high school in different parts of the Balkan region; mostly in humanitarian projects focusing on teaching children and teens. But then the tables had turned and I signed up to a course to learn about identifying (IDing) birds with AOS -AlbanianOrnithological Society, and to be a student myself. What a change! Bird Watching has been a long wished hobby of mine that I wanted to pursue since I taught an elementary class on Flying Creatures years back.  Sadly though, I never really had a proper chance, so it took this course to actually have my first real birding experience. “The Squad” Meeting AOS has taken me through a range of new experiences and locations in Albania. Firstly, I was inspired by their expert teachers and staff who took turns to teach us in the elements of bird IDing both in the...

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The clinical state of the Griffon vulture Mokos is improving

The clinical state of the Griffon vulture Mokos is improving

The tagged specimen of Griffon vulture (Gyps fulvus) with a satellite transmitter, named as Mokoš, was recaptured by the AOS field-ornithologists in Shkrodra region after we got notified by our regional partners, BirdLife Montenegro (CZIP) and BirdLife Slovenia (DOPPS), for the geographical data of the place where the specimen was located.  Mokoš was found to have suffered great weight loss, exhaustion, and in addition, non-capable to continue its flight towards the respective destination. Therefore, the AOS field-ornithologists according to the instructions that were provided by the experts of the Beli Visitor Center, immediately sent the specimen of Griffon vulture at the Center for the Rehabilitation of Wild Bird, located in Divjaka-Karavasta National Park. Since the 1st day of arrival in the Rehabilitation Center, Mokoš has been under the treatment and continuous supervision according to the clinical scheme counseled and provided by the international experts in such clinical...

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Backyard Birding During a Pandemic: A Deeper Appreciation for the House Martin – AOS Volunteer, Calese

Backyard Birding During a Pandemic: A Deeper Appreciation for the House Martin – AOS Volunteer, Calese

Last year the House Martins arrived in Albania at about the same time that I did. They caught my attention right away, with their acrobatic swooping and gliding above the neighbourhood where I live. I excitedly noticed that several of them had begun to build nests on the eaves of my home. I also noticed several mud circles where nests had previously existed, but had collapsed or been removed before my family’s arrival, so I suspected that these House Martins might use my home as a nesting site year after year. What a great opportunity to observe a bird species I wasn’t yet familiar with!   It didn’t take long for me to discover the mess that comes along with house martin nests: first the mud crumbles, then the grass and string, and finally--piles and piles of droppings, a charming accent to my front step. (I might add that the mess does, however, provide a wonderful summer cleaning job for kids).  Despite the mess, I enjoyed having the house martins around.  They’re beautiful birds,...

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Results from the gap analysis report on the Albanian legislation and publicly available information regarding the agricultural chemicals

Results from the gap analysis report on the Albanian legislation and publicly available information regarding the agricultural chemicals

Nowadays, in Albania as well as in many other countries, the intensification of agriculture activities dictates an escalation tendency for the use of agricultural chemicals – which the inappropriate application of those, not accordingly to the respective directives approved by the legal framework – impacts the human health, environment, and wildlife. The consequences of such a phenomenon have turned out a major and potential threat for the population of scavenger animals, including here – the population of Egyptian Vulture. In order to alleviate these impacts and to ensure sustainable use of agricultural chemicals, there is specific legislation that regulates the use, import, storage, and treatment of these chemicals. Following the working meeting that took place in both North Macedonia and Albania, focused on pesticides and VMP legislation analysis in the frame of action A1 of the LIFE project "Egyptian Vulture New LIFE”, the Albanian Ornithological Society  (AOS) conducted a gap...

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Results from the monitoring of breeding waterbirds in Divjaka-Karavasta National Park

Results from the monitoring of breeding waterbirds in Divjaka-Karavasta National Park

Throughout 2020 the team of AOS field-ornithologists has been engaged in monitoring breeding birds in Divjaka-Karavasta National Park and in implementing appropriate conservation measures for specific waterbird species in order to provide a safe and suitable habitat during the breeding season.  Like every year, the monitoring of breeding birds in Divjaka launched in January with the monitoring of the Dalmatian Pelican (Pelecanus crispus) colony that, this year (2020), reached the record number of 85 breeding pairs. This was followed by the monitoring of other bird species, first the Mallard (Anas platyrhynchos) and Yellow-legged Gull (Larus michahellis).  However, there is greater diversity of waterbird species breeding in Divjaka than that.  The stronghold of waterbirds -Divjaka- is inhabited by other breeding waterbird species as well. Since April 2020,  the status and progress of the breeding season have been monitored and evaluated by a dedicated team of AOS field-experts....

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A specimen of Griffon Vulture in Divjaka Rehabilitation Center

A specimen of Griffon Vulture in Divjaka Rehabilitation Center

During the first weekend of June (midnight of June 6th, 2020), AOS field-ornithologists were contacted by members of CZIP (BirdLife Montenegro) and DOPS (BirdLife Slovenia) about a tagged specimen of Griffon Vulture (Gyps fulvus) with a satellite transmitter indicating that it was located in Shkodra. This specimen of Griffon Vulture, born in 2019, in Cres Island (Croatia), is a male named Mokoš. According to the routes and locations where the specimen rested and spent the nights, the members of Beli Center concluded that he found no food and continued to fly south until he no longer had the strength to fly.                            (a) The location of Mokoš / (b) The route followed by Mokoš Based on the geographical data provided by the GPS transmitter, the AOS team headed towards the respective location early in the morning (on June 7th, 2020), to check and observe the conditions where Mokoš was situated.  Mokoš was found to have suffered great weight loss, exhausted, and unable...

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