Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Human expansion is leaving osprey of Canaries cornered

Date:
November 21, 2013
Source:
Plataforma SINC
Summary:
A team of scientists in the Canary Islands has concluded in a study that human expansion could be one of the main causes of the precarious situation of ospreys in the archipelago, a species at risk of extinction. The osprey, an endangered bird species, has sparse spawning stock in the Canaries.

Pandion haliaetus.
Credit: Beneharo Rodríguez

A team of scientists from the GOHNIC Association in the Canary Islands has concluded in a study that human expansion could be one of the main causes of the precarious situation of ospreys in the archipelago, a species at risk of extinction.

The osprey, an endangered bird species, has sparse spawning stock in the Canaries. Researchers from the Ornithology and Natural History Group of the Canary Islands (GOHNIC) have studied the areas in which non-migratory ospreys (Pandion haliaetus) on these islands currently choose to nest and which ones they used in the past, in order to assess both their density and their habitat selection.

As Beneharo Rodríguez, co-author of the study published in the journal IBIS and researcher at GOHNIC, tells SINC: “According to our prediction models, the Canaries have vast areas of suitable habitats available for these birds, but they are not occupying them. The results of the study imply that human activity could be limiting the settlement and spread of new pairs.”

Comparing the places where they nest most frequently with a random selection of areas where they could potentially rear their young, it was found that most of their nests are on high cliff-tops facing the southwest.

These places are characterised by fewer human pressures and by their proximity to colonies of yellow-legged gulls (Larus michahellis) and rearing areas of the Barbary Falcon (Falco pelegrinoides).

“The osprey’s sparse spawning stock on the Islands has remained stable over the last three decades. However, the population size was larger in the early 20th Century and the sites chosen by the birds to rear their young were generally more accessible,” the scientist notes.

The researchers also discovered changes in some characteristics of the rearing habitat. “Of the 68 nests discovered over the whole archipelago, 29 were occupied on at least one occasion between 2000 and 2008 and the rest remained empty during this same period,” Rodríguez comments.

The density of nests on the coastline of the Canaries was 0.53 nests/km of coast, although this value rose to 3.38 nests/km when the stretch of coast was dominated by cliffs over 50 m high.

Mathematical models for evaluating nesting areas

Comparing the nests that they occupied in the past with the most recent, it was reported that the latter are in higher places, near deeper waters, further from roads and less frequently built in cavities.

“This link could have several causes, one of which is the benefit the osprey gains from the warning provided by the aggressive behaviour of the two species that live with them on the cliffs, when faced with a potential predator of their eggs and their young,” the scientist affirms.

Several pairs of ospreys in the Canary Islands have built new nests within colonies of yellow-legged gulls, even when suitable places free of these birds were available nearby for rearing.

The mathematical models also enabled the suitability of the habitat to be predicted across the entire Canary archipelago. It was observed that there exists a large number of coastal stretches suitable for this species to reproduce.

“The current low density and apparent stagnation of the population over recent decades appear to imply that factors like human disturbance are playing a considerable role in restricting the spread and establishment of new pairs of ospreys in places where they have not nested for years,” they conclude.

Watching for nests and their surrounding areas is, along with the continuous monitoring of each pair, a prime objective to guarantee the conservation of this bird of prey in the Canaries.

 

 


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Plataforma SINC. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Rodríguez, B., A. Rodríguez, M. Siverio & F. Siverio. Conservation implications of past and present nesting habitat selection of the endangered Osprey Pandion haliaetus population of the Canary Islands. IBIS, November 2013

Cite This Page:

Plataforma SINC. "Human expansion is leaving osprey of Canaries cornered." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 21 November 2013. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/11/131121091318.htm>.
Plataforma SINC. (2013, November 21). Human expansion is leaving osprey of Canaries cornered. ScienceDaily. Retrieved April 17, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/11/131121091318.htm
Plataforma SINC. "Human expansion is leaving osprey of Canaries cornered." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/11/131121091318.htm (accessed April 17, 2014).

Share This



More Plants & Animals News

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

The Great British Farmland Boom

The Great British Farmland Boom

Reuters - Business Video Online (Apr. 17, 2014) — Britain's troubled Co-operative Group is preparing to cash in on nearly 18,000 acres of farmland in one of the biggest UK land sales in decades. As Ivor Bennett reports, the market timing couldn't be better, with farmland prices soaring over 270 percent in the last 10 years. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Flamingo Frenzy Ahead of Zoo Construction

Flamingo Frenzy Ahead of Zoo Construction

AP (Apr. 17, 2014) — With plenty of honking, flapping, and fluttering, more than three dozen Caribbean flamingos at Zoo Miami were rounded up today as the iconic exhibit was closed for renovations. (April 17) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Change of Diet Helps Crocodile Business

Change of Diet Helps Crocodile Business

Reuters - Business Video Online (Apr. 16, 2014) — Crocodile farming has been a challenge in Zimbabwe in recent years do the economic collapse and the financial crisis. But as Ciara Sutton reports one of Europe's biggest suppliers of skins to the luxury market has come up with an unusual survival strategy - vegetarian food. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Could Even Casual Marijuana Use Alter Your Brain?

Could Even Casual Marijuana Use Alter Your Brain?

Newsy (Apr. 16, 2014) — A new study conducted by researchers at Northwestern and Harvard suggests even casual marijuana use can alter your brain. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
 
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:  

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:  

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile iPhone Android Web
Follow Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins