"Notes from the Field" provides frequent updates and pictures from our biologists and students who are working in the field or at our headquarters, the World Center for Birds of Prey.
Thinking about our friends in Nepal by Munir Virani
On a bright Saturday morning, I sat in my office slightly distracted by watching the resident Little Sparrowhawk from across my window. Larry, as I fondly call him, was chasing a Speckled Mousebird but was unsuccessful. I was trying to enter data in our database from our just completed Kenyan Raptor Road Survey when my phone beeped. My heart almost stopped when I saw the flashing screen read: “Scores injured in Massive Nepal Earthquake”. I could not believe it! I am supposed to be there in three weeks time to survey vultures in the Annapurna Conservation Area.Read more...
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Searching for an owl not recorded in Kenya for over 50 years
I love to hike and I even enjoy the occasional bush-whack. So it was with some excitement that my student Paul Muriithi asked me to accompany him for five days on Mt Kenya to search for the Abyssinian Owl (A.K.A. the African Long-eared Owl). The last confirmed Kenyan record of this species was in 1961, though a pair can be observed in Bale Mountains, Ethiopia. But how do you begin searching for an owl whose life history reads like an exposé of an FBI undercover operation: ‘few data’, ‘little information’, ‘nothing known’. That is where Paul first started in 2012, accompanied only by his tenacity and the occasional rampaging buffalo. Three years on and three pairs of binoculars lost to buffaloes and bush-whacks later, the search for this elusive owl has nearly been concluded.Read more...
Released Philippine Eagle Matatag doing well in the wild
“Yes! Matatag is hunting ok in the wild." These were the words of excited Philippine Eagle Foundation Forest Protection Officer Joshua Donato after showing recent photos of a palm civet carcass that Matatag, a Philippine Eagle, had been consuming in the wild. Prior to this, Matatag was also observed feeding on a lizard.Read more...
Ranthambhore: Haunt of the Royal Bengal Tiger by Munir Virani
Winding down the narrow cobbled road across the gallery of forests with its stunning backdrop of golden-drenched cliffs, it seemed only like yesterday when I first did this same stretch. Spotted deer and peafowl stood along the side of the road oblivious to the speeding open jeeps that carried tourists eager to get even a glimpse of one of India’s enigmatic icons – the Royal Bengal Tiger. As we maneuvered our way through the towering main gate of the impressive fort that also leads to the entrance of the park, I couldn’t help but realize that I have been coming to this magnificent place for the last 14 years. I have bittersweet memories of driving up the same road towards the fort in April 2000 and pointing out dead and moribund Oriental White-backed Vultures.Read more...
A software developer goes to Alaska
In the evening of August 22, I stepped off a plane onto the tarmac of the Nome airport. A life milestone was reached - after many years of dreaming of it, I was finally in Alaska. What brought me, a software developer, to Nome - a place known more for gold and sled dogs than technology?Read more...
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