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

Around early November 2019, we loaded up the car and headed toward Tale, Lezhe, the site of an ongoing investigation into the arrival of Moustached Warbler in collaboration with AOS’s Hungarian partners, the very same project I had seen on YouTube a year ago! However, it was not the birds that impressed me the most, but the level of effort displayed by AOS to fund such project. Here I was, living with three people I did not know two days ago, hanging out on the beach for 14+ hours a day, talking, joking, listening to music, singing traditional music, and trading stories. I felt like I had known Erald, Klea, and Admir for a lifetime. Most importantly to me, we were Albanians doing much-needed science in our own country. In my head, we made Albania a better place that week.

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Wildlife conservation at a young age

Wildlife conservation at a young age

On 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.

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Three other nests of the European Roller confirmed in Albania

Three other nests of the European Roller confirmed in Albania

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.

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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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World Environment Day 2020 – #TimeForNature / AOS ALB

World Environment Day 2020 – #TimeForNature / AOS ALB

During the isolation due to COVID-19, the appearance of wild fauna alongside urban areas and the improvement of air quality were nothing but calls of nature to increase vigilance in its conservation and observance. In this wave of reflection, on World Environment Day, dedicated to biodiversity and its importance in the quality of our lives, the #𝗔𝗢𝗦 team members via this video urge for more conservation actions and return of nature to our lives. The mitigation of the impact/pressure on ecosystems - especially the wetland ones that provide irreplaceable and priceless services to man - we need to change the way how economic development and society work today. Nature-friendly interaction is the solution and the response towards sustainable development and recovery of the crisis that nature and biodiversity are facing. Therefore, nature conservation stands for even more security and sustainability for us! LET'S BRING NATURE BACK TOGETHER INTO OUR LIVES!...

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Breeding waterbirds of the Vjosa-Narta area

Breeding waterbirds of the Vjosa-Narta area

During this period, the team of AOS field-ornithologists has been thoroughly engaged, as always, in monitoring and observing the population of waterbirds species in our coastal wetland sites. The latest field-visit of the AOS team was conducted in the Vjosa-Narta area, aiming to collect and provide data on waterbird species breeding in this wetland site. The AOS team completed covering the monitoring of every water body and other suitable breeding grounds including - islets, dikes, drainage canals, fishing, and salt basins ponds - thus providing a clear overview of the breeding waterbirds species and their population in the Vjosa-Narta area. The results obtained from the survey of the Vjosa-Narta area.  The results obtained from this survey are, as usual, very interesting. Below we are providing details on the colonially nesting waterbirds:  📌 Pied Avocet (Recurvirostra avosetta) with 305-320 breeding pairs 📌 Little Tern (Sternula albifrons) with 175-185 breeding pairs 📌 Collared...

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Environmental Crime Digest No.1: two cases suspected of poisoning reported by AOS

Environmental Crime Digest No.1: two cases suspected of poisoning reported by AOS

The first edition of the joint electronic newsletter of REC Albania (The Resource Environmental Center) and OSCE Presence in Albania (Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe), entitled “Environmental Crime Digest No.1 ” was published at the beginning of June. This electronic publication is comprised of cases of environmental crime reported by the media and environmental associations and development around this issue in our country. It was created by the environmental organizations and members of the environmental crime advisory group in Albania as an instrument to collect and communicate specific cases of environmental crime with the help of law enforcement authorities. Amongst other cases reported by different stakeholders involved in this issue, Albanian Ornithological Society (AOS) reported on two carcasses of European badger, suspected as poisoning cases. English version of the article published in the May edition of "Environmental Crime Digest" by AOS: Environmental...

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