Álftir skotnar á Íslandi

Illegal hunting of Whooper Swans in Iceland!

All wild birds in Iceland are protected under Icelandic Act No. 64/1994, with the exceptions provided for in the hunting season guidelines of the Environment Agency of Iceland. Whooper Swans have been fully protected since 1913.

Nevertheless, illegal hunting does take place in Iceland as this picture of Whooper Swans shot in Iceland graphically shows.

A study of Whooper Swans (Cygnus cygnus) has been carried out by taking X-rays of live birds overwintering in the UK. The study showed that shot-in pellets occurred in 13.2 – 14.9% of all Whooper Swans. The likelihood of a bird having been shot increased with its age.

The study also publishes the cause of death of 361 of 962 ringed Whooper Swans found dead since 1980. Of those which had been shot, 20 had been shot in Iceland, five in the UK, two in Ireland and one in France.

The study can be read here:

Incidence of embedded shotgun pellets in Bewick’s swans Cygnus columbianus bewickii and whooper swans Cygnus cygnus wintering in the UK

The study suggests that a considerable amount of illegal hunting occurs in Iceland.

BirdLife Iceland condemns all illegal hunting of any species.

 

Figures from the study:

Fig. 1. Distribution of (a) the NW European Bewick’s swan population and (b) the Icelandic whooper swan population (from Robinson et al., 2004a, Robinson et al., 2004b).
Fig. 1. Distribution of (a) the NW European Bewick’s swan population and (b) the Icelandic whooper swan population (from Robinson et al., 2004a, Robinson et al., 2004b).
Fig. 2. X-ray of a Bewick’s swan with embedded shotgun pellets (arrows) and showing the gizzard (oval).
Fig. 2. X-ray of a Bewick’s swan with embedded shotgun pellets (arrows) and showing the gizzard (oval).
Fig. 3. Percentage of birds with embedded pellets in relation to their age (in years) for Bewick’s swans X-rayed between 1970 and 2008 and for whooper swans X-rayed between 1988 and 2007.
Fig. 3. Percentage of birds with embedded pellets in relation to their age (in years) for Bewick’s swans X-rayed between 1970 and 2008 and for whooper swans X-rayed between 1988 and 2007.
Fig. 4. Pellet count frequency in Bewick’s and whooper swans, recorded as the percentage of swans of each species found to at least one embedded pellet.
Fig. 4. Pellet count frequency in Bewick’s and whooper swans, recorded as the percentage of swans of each species found to at least one embedded pellet.
Fig. 5. Incidence of shotgun pellets for Bewick’s swans X-rayed between 1970 and 2008 and for whooper swans X-rayed between 1988 and 2007.
Fig. 5. Incidence of shotgun pellets for Bewick’s swans X-rayed between 1970 and 2008 and for whooper swans X-rayed between 1988 and 2007.
Fig. 6. Percentage of Bewick’s and whooper swans with an increased pellet count on re-capture (n = number of birds shot/number of birds X-rayed more than once).
Fig. 6. Percentage of Bewick’s and whooper swans with an increased pellet count on re-capture (n = number of birds shot/number of birds X-rayed more than once).
Fig. 7. Mean body condition (calculated as the residuals from regressing mid-winter mass with body size) recorded for swans with and without embedded shotgun pellets for (a) Bewick’s swans and (b) whooper swans. For whooper swans, there was only one bird recorded with pellets for cygnet males, cygnet females and yearling females (n = number of birds recorded with mean body condition).
Fig. 7. Mean body condition (calculated as the residuals from regressing mid-winter mass with body size) recorded for swans with and without embedded shotgun pellets for (a) Bewick’s swans and (b) whooper swans. For whooper swans, there was only one bird recorded with pellets for cygnet males, cygnet females and yearling females (n = number of birds recorded with mean body condition).

 

Lokað skilti

Office closed July 1st – August 15th

Fuglavernd BirdLife Iceland office at Hverfisgata 105, 101 Reykjavík will close for summer holidays from July 1st until August 15th.

During that period emails will be read, but late replyed. If the matter is urgent you can try contacting us via Social Media.

The same applies to our online store, orders placed will not be handled for delivery or pick up during that time.

 

The human puffin

Yesterday morning we at the Fuglavernd BirdLife office had a visit from an American tourist. He wanted to spend the day in Reykjavík and at the same time do some good. His idea was giving people the opportunity to have their photo taken with a human puffin for a small donation.

Later in the day, he came back with the donations collected and sent us this fun picture. We highly appreciate this wonderful gesture and the support.

1)Gui-Xi Young hjá BirdLife Europe, 2)Hólmfríður Arnardóttir framkvæmdastýra Fuglaverndar BirdLife Iceland, 3)Sandra Jovanovic frá BirdLife Serbia, 4) Jovana Janjusevicfrá Czip BirdLife Montenegro, 5)Tuba Kilickarci frá Doga BirdLife Turkey, 6) Natia Javakhishvili frá Sabuko BirdLife Georgia, 7) Karoline Kalinowska-Wysocka frá Otob BirdLife Polland og 8) Nigar Agayeva frá Azos BirdLife Azerbaijan.

BirdLife International General Meeting

At the end of September, Hólmfríður Arnardóttir General Manager of Fuglavernd BirdLife Iceland, attended a meeting with BirdLife International. BirdLife International is the oldest conservation organization in the world and has been operating since 1922. A total of 121 countries are members of BirdLife, one conservation organisation is a representative of each country and Fuglavernd is a representative of Iceland.

The purpose of the meeting is for BirdLife administrators and staff to exchange practical information and share experiences that differ between countries and cultures. BirdLife has six regions, BirdLife Europe and Central Asia, BirdLife Africa, BirdLife America, BirdLife Asia, BirdLife Middle East and BirdLife Pacific, and more than 200 people participated in the meeting. Women within the BirdLife association are ever increasing, and a few of them were gathered for this photograph.

In the photo are:
1)Gui-Xi Young with BirdLife Europe, 2)Hólmfríður Arnardóttir General Manager of Fuglavernd BirdLife Iceland, 3) Sandra Jovanovic with Društvo za zaštitu i proučavanje ptica Srbije BirdLife Serbia, 4) Jovana Janjusevic with Czip BirdLife Montenegro, 5) Tuba Kilickarci with Doga BirdLife Turkey, 6) Natia Javakhishvili with Sabuko BirdLife Georgia, 7) Karoline Kalinowska-Wysocka with Otob BirdLife Poland and 8) Nigar Agayeva with Aos BirdLife Azerbaijan.

 

Why are puffins vanishing?

Abstract from NY Times: Why Are Puffins Vanishing? The Hunt for Clues Goes Deep (Into Their Burrows)

Overfishing, hunting and pollution are putting pressure on the birds, but climate change may prove to be the biggest challenge.

“The puffin is the most common bird in Iceland,” said Erpur Snaer Hansen, acting director of the South Iceland Nature Research Center. “It’s also the most hunted one.”

Dr. Hansen is working with Dr. Fayet, a junior research fellow at the University of Oxford who is from France, on her project to monitor the activities of four puffin colonies, two in Iceland and others in Wales and Norway. Since 2010, he also has conducted a census, a twice-yearly “puffin rally” in which he travels more than 3,100 miles around Iceland, visiting some 700 marked burrows in 12 colonies, counting eggs and chicks.

The temperature of waters around the country is governed by long-term cycles of what is known as the Atlantic Multidecadal Oscillation,
with periods of colder water alternating with warmer. Between the 1965-1995 cold cycle and the current warm cycle, Dr. Hansen said, winter temperature records show about one degree Celsius of additional warming — a seemingly small amount, but disastrous for the sand eels.
His theory, he said, is this: “If you increase temperatures one degree, you’re changing their growth rates and their ability to survive the winter,” he said.

Dr. Hansen’s puffin rallies show that 40 percent of the population of Icelandic puffin chicks is losing body mass over time, another bad sign.

When the adults can’t catch enough to feed themselves and the chicks, they make an instinctive Malthusian choice; the chicks starve.
Dr. Fayet called her quest “heartbreaking”: “You put your hand in the burrow and feel with your hand a little ball on the floor, but then you realize it’s cold, and not moving.”

Dr. Hansen with a puffin chick pulled out of its burrow. ©Josh Haner – NY Times
Dead puffins taken by hunters that Dr. Hansen encountered on Lundey Island. ©Josh Haner – NY Times
Taking a break while hauling equipment on Iceland’s southeastern coast. ©Josh Haner – NY Times

Greinin í heild í NY Times: Why Are Puffins Vanishing? The Hunt for Clues Goes Deep (Into Their Burrows)