All Souls: Green Channel
Saturday 01 November 1997
Seeing pink flamingos in Kenya, grey-sided laughing thrushes in Nepal, or honey buzzards in France has a rather better image than lurking with anorak and Thermos waiting for a rarity on the north Norfolk coast.
The problem is, just as it's becoming acceptable to come out of the bird hide, the birds are disappearing. According to the RSPB and Birdlife International, bird numbers have declined dramatically across Europe and 195 species are in trouble. One way of counteracting this is to go with a tour operator who is involved with conserving birdlife. Honeyguide Wildlife Holidays, for instance, which runs tours to the Spanish Pyrenees, donates pounds 25 per customer to a local ornithological conservation programme that is involved with saving the Spanish Steppes - one of the most seriously threatened bird habitats in Europe.
The problem is not just a European one. World-wide, birds are struggling because of declining habitats following the loss of tropical forests, and drainage of wetlands for agriculture and construction.
Ironically, the development of tourism is often a big part of the problem. Eilat in Israel is a top draw for international bird-watchers, attracting more than 30,000 tourists a year who come to see massive concentrations of the birds that stop off there on their migration route - bluethroats from Russia, lesser whitethroats from England, little stints from the Arctic Circle, among others.
But hotels and lagoons have been carved out of the once-extensive salt marsh and large areas have been converted to farming to serve the growing local and visitor population. The consequence? Destruction of the very habitat that supports the birds - particularly the fruit and flowers that provide them with vital protein after their 2,000-km flight across the desert.
Malaysia Airlines MH17 crash: Pro-Russian rebel 'admits to shooting down plane'
Israel-Gaza conflict: Deadly flechette shells 'used by Israeli military in Gaza Strip’
Malaysia Airlines MH17 crash: Blogger captures footage ‘showing BUK missile launcher that shot down jet’ now back in Russia
Peaches Geldof inquest: Tragic final moments of socialite's life reveal she "lied" to husband about failed drugs tests
Israel-Gaza conflict: The myth of Hamas’s human shields
Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 crash: 'Nine Britons, 23 Americans and 80 children' feared dead after Boeing passenger jet is 'shot down' near Ukraine-Russia border
Malaysia Airlines MH17 crash: Vladimir Putin is given 'one last chance' to end hostilities in Ukraine
The 'scroungers’ fight back: The welfare claimants battling to alter stereotypes
The truth about conspiracy theories is that some require considering
Malaysia Airlines MH17 crash: Ukrainian military jet was flying close to passenger plane before it was shot down, says Russian officer
Malaysia Airlines MH17 crash: victims’ bodies bundled in black bags and loaded onto trains
- 1 Apple has installed security backdoors on 600m iPhones and iPads, claims security researcher
- 2 Malaysia Airlines MH17 crash: Pro-Russian rebel 'admits to shooting down plane'
- 3 Louis van Gaal gets tough with Manchester United players, with Darren Fletcher and Luke Shaw berated in public and Phil Jones left looking bemused
- 4 Is Gideon Levy the most hated man in Israel or just the most heroic?
- 5 Peaches Geldof inquest: Tragic final moments of socialite's life reveal she "lied" to husband about failed drugs tests
£130 - £160 per annum: Randstad Education Leeds: Are you an inspirational, ent...
£90 - £160 per day: Randstad Education Birmingham: Maths Teacher required for ...
£100 - £120 per day: Randstad Education Hull: Randstad Education and recruitin...
£120 - £160 per day: Randstad Education Group: Being the UK market leader, Ran...