The black grouse is found in uplands and in … My journey was a bit scrambled at first as I had to go through a career change from electrical engineering to be where I am today. It has been a wacky rollercoaster ride with how I got into the conservation world to be honest, it seemed like it lasted forever when I was first started out. You may opt-out by. I had the opportunity to travel between Northern Cyprus and Jamaica a lot because my parents were from these countries. New friendships were established, people were getting recognized, and the discussion about racism was circulating everywhere. Open to everyone and held through the Observatory's secure Zoom account, these wonderful workshops will be fun, informal, totally unintimidating, interactive, and free to Observatory members. In response to the incident in New York involving birder Christian Cooper, and ongoing Black Lives Matter demonstrations in USA and worldwide – as well as in encouragement of the first #BlackBirdersWeek – BirdLife staff based in the UK, Senegal & Kenya voice their reflections and advice as birders. Every summer holiday, Aktas spent the season exploring the natural wonder of the region, always studying the animals that call the island home. At first when I was starting out, my attitude was to focus on a particular species and build my career around it. Outdoor sports and recreation are overwhelmingly white, and, in birding, the majority of participants are over 55. The decline in the UK started during the early 1980s and has continued ever since Long-term monitoring shows starling numbers have fallen by … Soft fats can destroy the waterproofing and insulating properties of feathers. Q: So how did you make it in the wildlife conservation world? This global team, united by birds, found an astounding […] During Black Birders Week, the world witnessed many advocates standing up for those that had fallen due to racism, whether it was modern tragedies or tragedies in the distant past. The number one aim of this week is to uplift and recognize black naturalists and create a dialogue surrounding why there are so few of us in natural sciences and outdoor hobbies such as birding. Leftover fat from cooking; Polyunsaturated margarines or vegetable oils. That soon led me to work at Battersea Park Children’s Zoo in London where I was truly introduced to conservation as a few endangered animals lived there. I was always in awe with what I saw around me, alongside my uncle’s farm livestock. TA: I am sure that the journey differs with every individual that is working in the wildlife conservation field, but for me it all started at a local city farm in London, 15 mins walk from my house. It’s very worrying that there are people out there that feel the need to see beautiful and innocent people as a threat, just because our skin color is different. TA: A lot of people in STEM fields were inspired by a white person, myself included, and hopefully through Black Birders Week people are able to be inspired by STEM professionals from all other races too. Enjoy exclusive deals during Black Friday Week from today until the 30th November. Relax later New South Wales. Tolga Aktas holding a bateleur eagle, a species native to Africa and small parts of Arabia. The kidnapped islanders were known collectively as Kanakas (see Kanaka).Blackbirding was especially prevalent between 1847 and 1904. Tolga Aktas is a UK-based conservation biologist who participated in Black Birders Week. This is the common blackbird of open country in the West, often seen walking on the ground with short forward jerks of its head. There are around 65 species of thrushes, which are categorised Credit: Wildlife ACT. African wild dogs are similar to wolves in some respect, smaller build, some similarities in pack behavior and hunting abilities, so I knew I was in for something awesome when I decided to study them. Territories are re-established in the late autumn, and from spring until July they are defended against all other blackbirds. Providing bird food from the ground in an open area could attract some unwanted visitors such as crows too, this can be avoided by providing the food beneath bushes and shrubs. On 17 October more than 32,000 birders from around the world ventured out into backyards and beyond to enjoy birds for October Big Day, joining from 168 countries with more than 460 eBirders in Africa, 1,800 in Asia, 2,300 in Europe, and 3,900 in South America. Rescue pet of the week This week’s rescue pets are Loopy and Rupert, two deaf cats who are brothers. I thought it was a lost cause back then and after I left secondary school with bad grades, I settled with anything that would get me by and this is where I got into electrical engineering. Milk. Credit: Daniel Duna. However, that doesn’t necessarily mean that the issue isn’t present as I was probably just at the right place at the right time. Black Friday is Here! Tolga Aktas exploring the ancient woodland of Epping Forest. Shop now. For a bird that features in the majority of British gardens, the sudden loss of ‘your’ local Blackbird must come as quite a shock. Fatbirder is the premier birders’ web resource about birds, birding and birdwatching. It really gave me a true appreciation of the natural world, even to a point that I traded the use of my Gameboy Advance to my cousin so I could get my hands on a chicken egg. A partial list of our events up to Autumn/Winter 2020. Happening now, Black Birders Week was featured by the Audubon Society and government agencies, including the U.S. In reality, it is not. When I saw that video of Christian Cooper and Amy Cooper in Central Park, it was really a disturbing experience and I think everybody that watched it must have felt as threatened as Christian Cooper. It has been going on for too long and it is a shame that it still occurs today. Michael, 77, and Joan Parkinson, 69, thought the bird was a seagull at first but then realised it was too small. Blackbird: RSPB Blackbirds are members of the thrush family, and like their cousins the song and mistle thrushes, fieldfares and redwings they have a varied diet, eating insects and worms in the summer and fruit in the winter. Now, I am a biologist with the National Park Service in San Diego, CA. During our interview, which has been edited and condensed, Aktas touched on the outdoor experiences that led him on his journey to become a conservation biologist, what Black Birders Week meant to him, and how he would like to empower others to go after their dreams. When I was growing up, I think it would’ve meant everything to have been exposed to a scenario like this when I was a kid. It adapts well to habitats altered by humans, and in places it may walk about on suburban sidewalks or scavenge for crumbs around beachfront restaurants. But all is well. This favours the blackbirds’ instincts to forage around in the undergrowth for food whereas crows are more interested in an easy meal. For a bird that features in the majority of British gardens, the sudden loss of ‘your’ local Blackbird must come as quite a shock. Monday, June 1: Today, you can participate in the #PostABird challenge. Q: What experiences sparked your passion for the natural world? Black Birders Week was launched by the Black AF in STEM group (Black As F**k in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) following an incident in New York City’s Central Park where a white woman called the police when a black man asked her to put her dog on its leash in an area where dogs must be leashed to protect wildlife. I was really moved to see all these different groups forming a community and all supporting each other. “The Black Birders Week movement allowed me to see that there are many Black wildlife heroes out there. Hopefully, things will be different for the generations that are coming forth now, who have the exposure to a much diverse community of nature enthusiasts and people that work in STEM fields. As results from the BTO’s weekly Garden BirdWatch (GBW) survey show, it happens every year – there is always a pronounced ‘trough’ between September and October when Blackbirds are more absent from people’s gardens. Q: What impact has Black Birders Week had on you? I was not part of the organizing team, but when it was posted to social media, I knew it was a topic that was here to stay and make an impact. The Blackbird (Turdus merula) The common European Blackbird is one of the most intensely productive birds in the UK, with approximately 6,000,000 breeding pairs. This allowed me to discover different habitats, ecosystems and fundamentally the wildlife that were native to these countries. Black Birders Week is a way for Black birders, who may have not seen another Black birder, to join together and encourage more participation and diversity in outdoor spaces. Even if you aren't able to attend an event or due to event cancellations outside our control you can still order with us online or call us with your enquiry. Vagrancy to the North Atlantic probably is greater than suggested by the few documented records. I cover the living world, from microbes to ecosystems. This week is black birders week – a mainly North American thing. I always knew I loved wildlife, but when I was younger I didn’t have the resources to push me to do what I am doing today. It would’ve brought things closer to home and I would’ve had more diversity in the people I call my heroes. The hashtag was filled with individuals from Black scientists to nature-lovers showing what they love about nature and how they were introduced to it. Slowly after this my experiences took me to work at The Monkey Sanctuary in Cornwall in the UK, a wolf sanctuary in Reading in the UK, and back to Northern Cyprus to protect sea turtles not too far from my Cypriot village home. Tolga Aktas is a UK-based conservation biologist who participated in Black Birders Week. The Common Pheasant – its status in the UK and the potential impacts of an abundant non-native About half of the European population of the Common Pheasant is found in the UK, where breeding numbers have doubled in the past 40 years.Some 43 million young Pheasants are released into the UK countryside each … When I was growing up, I never saw a Black person presenting wildlife programs or doing other kinds of wildlife work. Night-time singing and early arrivals. I do pray that I don’t have to experience something like this, or that anybody else does as it could really ruin an experience that means the world to them or took a very long time to achieve. In between all of these experiences I have been earning my Animal Biology degree from the University of Gloucestershire. Published 31 Aug 2019, 07:52 BST, Updated 5 Nov 2020, 05:13 GMT. The Blackbird is one of a small number of species that sometimes sing during the night, a behaviour that occurs more often in the presence of street-lighting.Blackbirds have large eyes, relative to their body size, and BTO research has revealed them to be the first species to arrive at garden feeding stations on dark winter mornings. Tolga Aktas attaching a new radio tracking collar to a lion in South Africa. Rest in peace to every angel and solider that has fallen and lost their lives to racism. This week, black birders around the world are rallying around Christian Cooper, a black man and avid birder, who was harassed by a white woman while birding in Central Park. Published on 02 May 2019 in Latest issues. Black Swamp Bird Observatory, the proud host of The Biggest Week, is thrilled to announce a series of workshops for birders of all skill levels. A young Robin redbreast (Turdus migratorius) observed in Spring 2020. Tolga Aktas (TA): It all started with following my uncle at dawn and dusk as he took his sheep and goats out to graze near the mountains in Northern Cyprus. Environment Black Birders Week: Changing the face of bird-watching. Even though we are all scattered geographically around the world, we could produce incredible results. Friday, June 5: After the inspiring events earlier in the week, you can continue to celebrate diversity in the outdoors by following #BlackWomenWhoBird. During this period, territorial drive is low, and many birds will feed outside their territories at abundant food sources. If there was a bird-ranking chart, Lanham says it would be “9.5 out of 10 on the want-list for most birders”. The event aims to increase visibility of Black birders, who face challenges and dangers that non-Black people do not experience when recreating or conducting fieldwork in the outdoors. These dreams were nurtured in Cihangir, a village in Northern Cyprus where his extended family lives. I just hope that these same people stand with us for years to come, and not only during these recent events. After spending a month with the team at Wildlife ACT, tracking wild dogs and lions from dawn and dusk, I knew in my heart that I would be coming the following year to study these species for my university thesis. Identification of Short-tailed Shearwater in the North Atlantic Ocean Short-tailed Shearwater is an abundant species of the Pacific Ocean. Many Biggest Week fans are wondering about the status of the 2021 festival. We need to show them that jobs in these fields are achievable for them too, no matter what color their skin is or where they’re from. Thursday, June 4: Features a livestream discussion on #BirdingWhileBlack from7:00 to 8:30 pm EST. Living in a village there were loads of animals running around, lizards, bugs and snakes. But it has been totally worth it and wouldn’t trade all of my experiences for anything in the world. Whether you are looking for facts about hummingbirds, songbirds, shorebirds or raptors in your backyard or are planning a trip or birding tour anywhere in the world Fatbirder is the site for you. EY & Citi On The Importance Of Resilience And Innovation, Impact 50: Investors Seeking Profit — And Pushing For Change, Michigan Economic Development Corporation BrandVoice, Not Everyone Experiences the Joys of Birding Like Me—A White Woman. When a white woman called the cops on an African American bird-watcher in New York, a group of Black … As results from the BTO’s weekly Garden BirdWatch (GBW) survey show, relax - it happens every year! If you look closely enough, you can almost see the same emotions that us humans share with one another. Dry biscuits as birds may choke on the hard lumps. Published on 01 July 2019 in Latest issues. Small birds cannot eat dry foodstuffs like these. I recall being so fascinated by these animals. The inaugural Black Birders Week will inspire a new generation of birders and nature-lovers. I owe a lot to watching wildlife documentaries when I was younger, because if it wasn’t for those then I probably wouldn’t have embarked on all of the experiences which led me to the position where I am today. The males live up to their name but, confusingly, females are brown often with spots and streaks on their breasts. All Rights Reserved, This is a BETA experience. One of the most common UK birds, its mellow song is also a favourite. This was when I didn’t know much about ecology and biodiversity and its importance in ecosystems. The facts that are posted range from folklore to weird biology facts! A message from Black Swamp Bird Observatory in regard to the 2021 Biggest Week In American Birding and Coronavirus / COVID-19. To many Americans, wilderness represents freedom and a space that should be open to all. TA: Black Birders Week was absolutely fantastic to watch develop. Tolga Aktas: Conservation Biologist | Black Birders Week, AMA with Dr. Russ Mittermeier from “Primates”. Credit: Wildlife ACT. I earned my Ph.D. in biological sciences studying airborne microbes, particularly those that cause disease. Q: As a conservation biologist who focuses on canids, how would you like to use your skills to further the initiative? Tolga Aktas adjusting a radio tracking collar onto an African wild dog. I look forward to seeing what the Black AF in STEM group will achieve next. British Birds May 2019. It still hasn’t hit me that I am finally living my dream, but I am grateful for everything that has been presented to me. I recall watching the video clip with my jaw open, thinking if such an experience happened to me, I don’t know what I would have done or if I would have handled it as well as Christian did. With so much uncertainty about the safety of travel and large gatherings, we have not committed to a decision just yet. But all is well. My research has brought me to scenic environments from deserts to boreal forests. My research has brought me to scenic environments from deserts to boreal forests. Credit: Clint Randall. Bird of the Week: Black Grouse A distinctive eyebrow, a lyre-shaped tail and the 'lek': discover this charismatic upland bird. I am a scientist interested in how tiny microbes make big impacts in ecosystems. A Zino's Petrel is the ultimate reward for the efforts the team put in year on year, and only the third confirmed record away from Madeira. For additional reading on how birding experiences differ dramatically based on race, a fellow Forbes contributor covers how Not Everyone Experiences the Joys of Birding Like Me—A White Woman. Credit: The English School of Falconry. Before I knew it there were brothers and sisters from all races standing up for each other and what is right. They are very clever, highly social and emotionally connected with one another. Currently confirmed events in GREEN.Organiser cancelled events in RED DUE TO CORONAVIRUS.Rearranged dates f Q: During Black Birders Week there were a lot of discussions about racism and interactions with the police, have you ever experienced any challenges or dangers when conducting fieldwork? The inaugural Black Birders Week will inspire a new generation of birders … I think I was around five or six when I first had a sense of the animals and environment around me, and this later led to being exposed to wildlife documentaries where the late Steve Irwin and Sir David Attenborough changed everything for me. It’s Latinate name, Turdus merula is a binomial name deriving from two Latin parts: Turdus ‘thrush’ and merula ‘Blackbird’. My favorite memories were created in Northern Cyprus during my upbringing, as I spent a lot of time away from my cousins in the fields near our homes. Here’s how you can participate and follow along in many inspiring stories straight from Black birders and outdoor enthusiasts, while learning some unforgettable science: Sunday, May 31: Yesterday, Black Birders Week kicked off with the hashtag #BlackInNature to celebrate Black nature enthusiasts everywhere. Credit: The UK Wolf Conservation Trust. Photograph by Gordon Langsbury / RSPB Images This is an elegant, long-legged wading bird with a long beak it uses for probing into water and soft mud to find food, like insects, worms and snails. The first major blackbirding operation in the Pacific was conducted out of Twofold Bay in New South Wales.A shipload of 65 Melanesian labourers arrived in Boyd Town on 16 April 1847 on board the Velocity, a vessel under the command of Captain Kirsopp and chartered by Benjamin Boyd. Black bird watchers are rare birds themselves, and there are special rules that the black birder must observe to remain safe when out in the field chasing rare birds. I have a real soft spot for the wild dogs, and everybody that knows me knows this very well. Fish and Wildlife Refuge System. And, by chance, it comes at the time when there are riots across the USA after the death of George Floyd at the hands, or knee, of a white policeman. I am very excited and thrilled to know that people of all races are using their voices to educate and contribute to making a positive change towards our planet.