Keep Calm and Carrion

IAF April 2019 eBulletin

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Conference on "The World of Birds of Prey" held at Warsaw University of Life Sciences

On the 2nd of March 2019, a conference on the world of birds of prey was held at the Warsaw University of Life Science. It's the only conference in Poland of this kind which takes place annually. This year we had the honour of hosting lecturers from various countries of Europe including: Dr Ladislav Molnar – a veterinary expert and head of Clinic at the University of Veterinary Medicine and Pharmacy in Kosice, Slovakia; Stanislav Menclik – a well-known falcon breeder from the Czech Republic; Elisabeth Leix - President of the DFO and her husband, Klaus Leix - vice-chairman of LV Bayern in the DFO.

The polish presentations were given by: Janusz Sielicki - vice-president of IAF and Henryk Mąka - a very experienced falconer. The event was accompanied by a concert of French hunting music performed by the Polish band "Par Force Trompes de Pologne".

The conference concluded with Dr Molnar demonstrating a practical handling session on the veterinary examination of birds of prey. The conference was hosted by the Scientific Club Aves, and the whole event was not for profit, so we would like to thank all the people who helped us, and all the lecturers for their fantastic speeches.

2019 North American Falconers Association Annual Field Meet

Plans are beginning to take shape for NAFA 2019! Mark your calendars for November 17-23, in Great Bend, Kansas. This mid-sized, centrally located city is rolling out the red carpet for falconers and our families. Follow this page for details regarding registration, hotels, and other news in the coming months. Please share and invite others to like this page.


FACE, the federation of European hunting organizations, is pleased to appoint Dr. David Scallan as its new Secretary General. Dr. Scallan previously served as FACE’s Conservation Manager. He received his Ph.D., from the National University of Ireland, Galway, examined the economic, ecological and social place of hunting in rural Ireland. He has a passion to drive FACE’s conservation agenda. David and his team have been good friends to IAF since we became established in Brussels.

Royal Dutch Hunters’ Association – Koninklijke Nederlandse Jagersvereniging – hosted the meeting, which included a conference: ‘Wild’ challenges for hunting and conservation, where a series of high-level panels discussed the hottest topics facing European hunters. These included items of interest to falconers, like ensuring the sustainability of migratory bird hunting and relationships with the parliament and commission in the upcoming European elections.

Each session highlighted opportunities and threats and the need to lead the dialogue in the EU institutions to promote hunting and conservation in Europe and to communicate the crucial role that European hunters play with regard to nature conservation, rural economies, education of younger generations and promoting cultural heritage.

Particularly valuable was Professor Robert Kenward’s talk in the session on “Making the Case for Hunting in the European Institutions”. Robert spoke as co-chair of the IUCN Sustainable Use and Management of Eco-systems expert group, and he extolled the work of falconers and their contributions to conservation over the last fifty years.

Concluding the Members’ meeting, FACE President Torbjörn Larsson, stated: "I’m delighted that FACE has appointed David Scallan to achieve our vision; for sustainable hunting to be widely accepted as an integral part of European culture and as a vital tool for the conservation and management of European nature and wildlife".

Activities of the School Links Programme

Students from Falcon College Falconry Club, giving a falconry talk to students from Quest Africa, a post-school programme

Falconers around the world are encouraged to take part in the IAF Schools Links Project, originally an initiative begun in Mongolia, now spreading all over the globe.This quarter’s activities include: lectures about bird of prey conservation, its importance to students of the Olonlog School, Etugen School and the Elite international school, all in Mongolia; schools communication with USA schools; Facebook & Email communications; discussions on legislation and planning with members of the Mongolian falconry groups; translations and many others.
Falconers and schools are encouraged to make contact with Sarangerel Ichinkhorloo or with the IAF Education Working Group, Julian Mühle

RGI Renewable Grid initiative "Nature and the High Voltage" Workshop hosted by ELIAS, 2nd - 3rd April 2019

Power transmission lines and poles bear a huge risk for birds. The Renewable Grid Initiative Workshop, hosted in Brussels by ELIA, the Belgian transmission system operator for high-voltage electricity, tackled the issue and brought TSOs (transmission system operators) as well as NGOs together to discuss and speak about approaches on how to avoid birds dying from collision with power lines. The attending TSOs all have special departments within their company which are responsible for environmental issues and conduct studies on the topic of. How to avoid the death of birds via collision or electric shock?

Four case studies were presented and all TSOs work together with experts from outside the company, taking also NGO’s work into account . Field studies were conducted on which species are affected the most, where the highest distribution was, which markers can be placed when a line is installed and which marker are the best, among other factors.

Studies showed that the risk of collision is higher when poles are nearby rivers and the sea. Furthermore , especially species such as great bustards, storks, geese and other water birds are affected mostly by collision. Markers are not proven to reduce the risk of collision, however field studies showed that there is a reduction of casualties, furthermore some found to be more effective for nocturnal birds as they seemed to be more affected by collision. In conclusion it can be said that more studies have to be taken and more field work is necessary, especially to find out more about the flight paths of birds in order to reduce the number of casualties. It must also be taken into account that markers can usually only be placed once the lines are installed, however new techniques to install them later are currently being tried out.

The second day handled the problem of vegetation management below and around the poles. By law in many European countries, a certain distance between vegetation, especially trees and woods, and the power lines and poles has to be kept to avoid damage during storms. Those security corridors mark a big amount of unused land and vegetation which has to be managed. Sustainability is important nowadays and several TSOs have started projects on habitat management. Trees below and around the poles must not reach a certain height, but to make the habitat more attractive for several species, small bushes and flowers were planted, or the ground managed in a way that meadow can grow by itself. Studies found that the biodiversity in those areas which are managed are often higher than the one in the woods. In Finland, a cooperation between farmers and the TSO was established to graze the areas with sheep to manage the meadow. The areas may be cut and looked after every 2-5 years depending on the area. Also it is important for TSOs to work together on this with hunters and farmers. Also people in general need to be aware of projects as such in order to ensure a good amount of conservation and biodiversity. Through guidelines people can start to make a difference, save pollinators and generally increase biodiversity.

Both days were very helpful and pointed out the importance of the cooperation between NGOs and TSOs. Furthermore, the importance of sustainability, nature and species conservation was pointed out and it is a great approach to saving birds and nature. It also showed that hard work pays off, not only for others, but especially for us Falconers and the IAF
the Saker falcon project in Mongolia is a great success. Hearing of the approach of TSOs, NGOs and hunters, farmers and municipalities working together on the issue of loosing biodiversity and bird collisions is promising, and a bright step into the future.

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