Sunday, February 20, 2005

Birdlife International is commencing a 6 month study of the birds of the wetlands in Southern Iraq. Their website has a story about training Iraqi biologists for the survey. The story says a Lesser White Fronted Goose was satellite-tagged in Siberia and showed up this fall in an area east of Baghdad.

So it looks like Iraqi birds will be getting a lot more attention in 2005.
The marshes of S. Iraq were the size of Lake Ontario and were reduced by about 90% by Saddam Hussein's drainage program. These marshes held such great birds as Goliath Heron and the African Darter. A report that came out today says that about half the marsh area has been reflooded and some of the plants and birds are coming back. Other parts have severe salt damage and may not recover.
I came across a few posts by Bigwig on the blog Silflay Hraka. He has been in touch with a birding lieutenant Colonel based at Victory Base near Baghdad Airport. Bigwig wrote 3 posts so far on the birds that LTC Bob has been seeing. He has a post on the Mesopotamian Crow, the White-Cheeked Bulbul and the White-tailed Plover. LTC Bob seems to have a much better camera than I so perhaps some more good pictures are forthcoming. When I was at Victory Base I saw among other birds Black Francolin, Graceful Prinia, Common Babblers, Pied Kingfishers, Pygmy Cormorant and Blue-cheeked Bee-eaters.

If any soldiers or others have Iraqi wildlife observations or pictures that they would like to share, please email me at and I'll post them here.

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