How to help oiled birds?
Murel Merivee and Agni Kaldma teach how to clean birds with oil contamination. They explain the effects of oil on birds and bring out the ethical dilemma whether or not try to rescue birds at all. Based on the handbook on good practice for the rehabilitation of oiled birds, they list all the necessary actions, precautions and standards involving the rescue.
Oil contamination and rescue event at Sõrve in January, 2008
Agni Kaldma, Murel Merivee and Mati Martinson remember this year’s most serious bird cleaning event and warn against dangers. During the past 18 months, there have been at least 5 findings of oiled birds. In the end of January, over 300 oiled birds were counted on the coast and the decision to start cleaning the birds was made and a bird hospital was quickly set up. Estonia has yet a very short history of experiences with oiled birds. Altogether, 57 birds were hospitalized, 26 of them died and 31 were released healthy. The approximate rehabilitation cost per bird was about 3000 EEK. Sadly enough, in most cases the sources of contamination remain unclear.
Birds and oil contamination
Leho Luigujõe observes the alternatives for bird washing. Most of the oiled birds in our seas are arctic migratory birds and there have been no scientific evidence if the washed birds will actually survive later. Most biologists in Estonia and elsewhere tend to support euthanasia.
Estonian Nature enquires:
Leelo Kukk writes about the activities of the Nature Conservation Center regarding the rehabilitation of oiled birds.
Toomas Jüriado shares his skeptics about washing the oiled birds.
The sensitive karst area of the Harju County
Hella Kink warns against the limestone quarries in Harjumaa: the receivable limestone gravel is not worth the loss of the karst area and the ground water. The author describes the largest karst areas of the county and specifically points out some dangers related to the potential emerge of limestone quarries in the Nabala limestone field. Foremost, the mines can danger the water level and water systems of large surrounding areas.
The information web of the Estonian biological diversity
Reigo Roasto calls for improving and using the new information set of biodiversity. As a part of the set, a nature observations database has been established. The database is used for compiling the distribution maps of species and for different types of research. Any user can save his/her observations on the net. The database also includes a forum for the users.
The worm that cheats birds
Mati Martin describes a flukeworm who can sometimes fool even an experienced researcher, not to mention a simple warbler. Flukeworms are parasites that use snails (Succinea) as intermediary hosts to make themselves attractive for the final hosts – the warblers. Their main habitat is warbler’s liver.
Protected areas: Osmussaar
Marko Valker takes a glance at the peculiarities of the nature and human activities of the Estonia’s most northwestern island. The island has a remarkable limestone cliff and many unique habitats, especially the alvars. Since the island is located on the route of migratory birds, it is also a good bird-watching area.
Don’t take a child that is not you own!
Ivar Ojaste worries about the annual problem of nature conservationists: people think that a found animal child is abandoned and start to rescue it. People are very eager to report on abandoned or hurt animals and birds, while biologists are often convinced that nature should do its job on its own. Moreover, these ”rescue” events are very expensive and take up a lot of time, often proving to be false alarms.
Practical tips: Our mushrooms: Boletes V
Vello Liiv’s fourth picture series focuses on next five species, which all look different, but are excellent edible mushrooms.
Lupins in bakery
Urmas Kokassaar looks at reasons why some bakery products include lupin seeds: are they worth anything? Lupin seeds have been used for food in the Mediterranean area as well as in the Andes. Lupin seeds are rich in protein, but also contain oil and fibers. However, the use of the seeds is scanty, since they don’t contain anything very special.
Interview: Karin Poola, a guide on the trails of nature education.
Toomas Jüriado has interviewed Karin Poola, the biology teacher of the Palade Elementary School in Hiiumaa.
Hiking trail: A hike near the capital city, in cozy forest silence
Anneli Kana calls the readers to a long hiking trail (10 km) in the Harju County, between the villages of Metsanurme and Üksnurme. In addition to enjoying nature amenities, one can see a manor house, a treasure mine, an old oak grove and other interesting sights.
Coastal cliffs á la Lithuania
Tapio Vares recalls his journey to the Nida area in Lithuania, with one of the most important sights, the “coastal cliffs” that have emerged from the sea mud as a result of enormous pressure from the giant sand dunes by the Kura Bay.
Winter Academy: A scientific conference developed from the grass-root level
Kerda Kübarsepp shares her impressions from the annual scientific event of university students.
One world instead of the diverse fauna of the six continents
Invasion ecology 50
Merle Ööpik introduces a book published 50 years ago; the book by Charles Sutherland Elton “The Ecology of Invasions by Animals and Plants” is considered as a beginning of a new discipline.