“Growing up, there weren’t many outlets showing diversity, so I was only able to be inspired by white conservationists and naturalists,” Aktas said. TA: Black Birders Week was absolutely fantastic to watch develop. 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. This week is black birders week – a mainly North American thing. Tolga Aktas adjusting a radio tracking collar onto an African wild dog. Outdoor sports and recreation are overwhelmingly white, and, in birding, the majority of participants are over 55. This is the common blackbird of open country in the West, often seen walking on the ground with short forward jerks of its head. A young Robin redbreast (Turdus migratorius) observed in Spring 2020. 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. 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. Let us learn from this to live in unity, harmony, peace and love. New friendships were established, people were getting recognized, and the discussion about racism was circulating everywhere. 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. Dry biscuits as birds may choke on the hard lumps. Tolga Aktas attaching a new radio tracking collar to a lion in South Africa. 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. I have a real soft spot for the wild dogs, and everybody that knows me knows this very well. Milk. 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. Credit: The English School of Falconry. Q: What experiences sparked your passion for the natural world? 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. Published on 01 July 2019 in Latest issues. Tolga Aktas holding a bateleur eagle, a species native to Africa and small parts of Arabia. 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. Published 31 Aug 2019, 07:52 BST, Updated 5 Nov 2020, 05:13 GMT. Leftover fat from cooking; Polyunsaturated margarines or vegetable oils. Tolga Aktas: Conservation Biologist | Black Birders Week, AMA with Dr. Russ Mittermeier from “Primates”. NurPhoto via Getty Images. Fatbirder is the premier birders’ web resource about birds, birding and birdwatching. Credit: Wildlife ACT. 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. It has been going on for too long and it is a shame that it still occurs today. TA: I have been very fortunate to not have experienced any racism during my times conducting fieldwork. The decline in the UK started during the early 1980s and has continued ever since Long-term monitoring shows starling numbers have fallen by … It has always been a dream to explore the natural world, to witness all of the wildlife it has and the wild spaces that we all share. It reassures me that everybody can make a difference towards our planet.” Aktas’s interest in becoming a conservation biologist, storyteller and explorer was not born overnight. Living in a village there were loads of animals running around, lizards, bugs and snakes. Credit: Daniel Duna. 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. Lanham describes the bird as “one of my [holy] grail birds”. Friday, June 5: After the inspiring events earlier in the week, you can continue to celebrate diversity in the outdoors by following #BlackWomenWhoBird. I am a scientist interested in how tiny microbes make big impacts in ecosystems. For a bird that features in the majority of British gardens, the sudden loss of ‘your’ local Blackbird must come as quite a shock. 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. The biggest struggle is overcoming the doubt in ourselves and finding the courage to accomplish our goals, dreams and aspirations. Q: So how did you make it in the wildlife conservation world? Michael, 77, and Joan Parkinson, 69, thought the bird was a seagull at first but then realised it was too small. 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. I just hope that these same people stand with us for years to come, and not only during these recent events. It would’ve brought things closer to home and I would’ve had more diversity in the people I call my heroes. All Rights Reserved, This is a BETA experience. Small birds cannot eat dry foodstuffs like these. 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. 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. Tuesday, June 2: Tomorrow, #AskABlackBirder between 7:00 and 9:00 pm EST on Twitter. At first when I was starting out, my attitude was to focus on a particular species and build my career around it. The bright orange-yellow beak and eye-ring make adult male blackbirds one of the most striking garden birds. 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. Bird of the Week: Black Grouse A distinctive eyebrow, a lyre-shaped tail and the 'lek': discover this charismatic upland bird. Black-tailed Godwit (limosa limosa) has a long beak it uses for probing into water and soft mud to find food. 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. Environment Black Birders Week: Changing the face of bird-watching. Before I knew it there were brothers and sisters from all races standing up for each other and what is right. During this period, territorial drive is low, and many birds will feed outside their territories at abundant food sources. Q: What impact has Black Birders Week had on you? In winter, Brewer's Blackbirds gather in large flocks, often with other blackbirds, and may be seen foraging … 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. 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 … 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. 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. By Caroline Offord. This favours the blackbirds’ instincts to forage around in the undergrowth for food whereas crows are more interested in an easy meal. 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. Thursday, June 4: Features a livestream discussion on #BirdingWhileBlack from7:00 to 8:30 pm EST. Credit: Clint Randall. Rescue pet of the week This week’s rescue pets are Loopy and Rupert, two deaf cats who are brothers. Tolga Aktas is a UK-based conservation biologist who participated in Black Birders Week. Tolga Aktas exploring the natural landscapes in the Cotswolds, United Kingdom. My interest in canid conservation first began in 2016 when I first volunteered with wolves at a sanctuary in the UK. 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. With so much uncertainty about the safety of travel and large gatherings, we have not committed to a decision just yet. The kidnapped islanders were known collectively as Kanakas (see Kanaka).Blackbirding was especially prevalent between 1847 and 1904. 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. 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. British Birds July 2019. 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. Credit: The UK Wolf Conservation Trust. Now, I am a biologist with the National Park Service in San Diego, CA. 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. The facts that are posted range from folklore to weird biology facts! Credit: Wildlife ACT. Fish and Wildlife Refuge System. “The Black Birders Week movement allowed me to see that there are many Black wildlife heroes out there. Kara Jamie Norton (@whereskara) is an independent science journalist based in New York City. 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. Contact the Framlingham & Saxmundham Branch of … If you look closely enough, you can almost see the same emotions that us humans share with one another. One of the most common UK birds, its mellow song is also a favourite. Credit: Wildlife ACT. But all is well. A partial list of our events up to Autumn/Winter 2020. 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. A young Robin redbreast (Turdus migratorius) observed in Spring 2020. A bird's gut is not designed to digest milk and can cause stomach upsets. For a bird that features in the majority of British gardens, the sudden loss of ‘your’ local Blackbird must come as quite a shock. It was through this experience that I learned that other species of canids existed in the wild, and I stumbled across African wild dogs and never looked back. © 2020 Forbes Media LLC. Many Biggest Week fans are wondering about the status of the 2021 festival. I. I am a scientist interested in how tiny microbes make big impacts in ecosystems. Resource about Birds for Birders. As results from the BTO’s weekly Garden BirdWatch (GBW) survey show, relax - it happens every year! Tolga Aktas exploring the ancient woodland of Epping Forest. 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. Blackbirding, the 19th- and early 20th-century practice of enslaving (often by force and deception) South Pacific islanders on the cotton and sugar plantations of Queensland, Australia (as well as those of the Fiji and Samoan islands). 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? 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. Published on 02 May 2019 in Latest issues. It’s Latinate name, Turdus merula is a binomial name deriving from two Latin parts: Turdus ‘thrush’ and merula ‘Blackbird’. But it has been totally worth it and wouldn’t trade all of my experiences for anything in the world. 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. Even though we are all scattered geographically around the world, we could produce incredible results. Once I broke into the wildlife conservation field, I knew that I had achieved some form of success in my life. I think anybody that hasn’t seen the species before in the wild or in captivity and eventually sees them for the first time almost certainly becomes an advocate in protecting them. Happening now, Black Birders Week was featured by the Audubon Society and government agencies, including the U.S. 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. 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. My research has brought me to scenic environments from deserts to boreal forests. Tolga Aktas feeding wolves at a sanctuary in Berkshire, England. The males live up to their name but, confusingly, females are brown often with spots and streaks on their breasts. Monday, June 1: Today, you can participate in the #PostABird challenge. If you have a dream and believe that your story and voice can make a difference towards the natural world, follow your heart, work hard and don’t look back. You may opt-out by. Tolga Aktas is a UK-based conservation biologist who participated in Black Birders Week. 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. When a white woman called the cops on an African American bird-watcher in New York, a group of Black … Currently confirmed events in GREEN.Organiser cancelled events in RED DUE TO CORONAVIRUS.Rearranged dates f Vagrancy to the North Atlantic probably is greater than suggested by the few documented records. I earned my Ph.D. in biological sciences studying airborne microbes, particularly those that cause disease. The male is jet black with a bright orange beak and ring around the eye, and the female is a chocolate brown colour. These dreams were nurtured in Cihangir, a village in Northern Cyprus where his extended family lives. I spent a couple of months there getting valuable work experience. Last week, Black researchers and avian enthusiasts flocked to social media to participate in the first ever Black Birders Week (May 31-June 5). 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. Soft fats can destroy the waterproofing and insulating properties of feathers. I was really moved to see all these different groups forming a community and all supporting each other. I recall being so fascinated by these animals. In between all of these experiences I have been earning my Animal Biology degree from the University of Gloucestershire. Continuing this summer's astonishing trend for uber-rare seabird action, the Scilly pelagics were always likely to score big. 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. British Birds May 2019. I went over to South Africa during my first year at university, when I volunteered with this amazing wildlife conservation organization called Wildlife ACT. 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. Night-time singing and early arrivals. Enjoy exclusive deals during Black Friday Week from today until the 30th November. It was so nice to be put in touch with the many amazing people that work in STEM fields. This allowed me to discover different habitats, ecosystems and fundamentally the wildlife that were native to these countries. 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. New South Wales. Relax later A message from Black Swamp Bird Observatory in regard to the 2021 Biggest Week In American Birding and Coronavirus / COVID-19. I cover the living world, from microbes to ecosystems. 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. This was when I didn’t know much about ecology and biodiversity and its importance in ecosystems. Shop now. Opinions expressed by Forbes Contributors are their own. 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. When you begin to learn about all of this, no matter where you are in the world, you then begin to appreciate every species and the habitats that support them, and realize that you have to focus on the bigger picture. But all is well. 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 black grouse is found in uplands and in … The inaugural Black Birders Week will inspire a new generation of birders … There are around 65 species of thrushes, which are categorised I look forward to seeing what the Black AF in STEM group will achieve next. I have always wanted to go to South Africa ever since I was a child, and I had every reason to go now that I found my new mission to study and protect these animals. They’re doing amazing work over in South Africa, protecting endangered animals like the wild dogs, lions, leopards, elephants, cheetahs, rhinos and vultures. 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. 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. I was always in awe with what I saw around me, alongside my uncle’s farm livestock. Every summer holiday, Aktas spent the season exploring the natural wonder of the region, always studying the animals that call the island home. My research has brought me to scenic environments from deserts to boreal forests. Rest in peace to every angel and solider that has fallen and lost their lives to racism. 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 had the opportunity to travel between Northern Cyprus and Jamaica a lot because my parents were from these countries. 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. The inaugural Black Birders Week will inspire a new generation of birders and nature-lovers. Black Friday is Here! To many Americans, wilderness represents freedom and a space that should be open to all. When I was growing up, I never saw a Black person presenting wildlife programs or doing other kinds of wildlife work. 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. As our species continue to populate the world, and space becomes limited alongside the natural world, my biggest mission now is to build my career around a world where we can co-exist with every species. In reality, it is not. Identification of Short-tailed Shearwater in the North Atlantic Ocean Short-tailed Shearwater is an abundant species of the Pacific Ocean. Territories are re-established in the late autumn, and from spring until July they are defended against all other blackbirds. Tolga Aktas tracking and monitoring for African wild dogs in South Africa. Include a fun fact about the bird you post. 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. If there was a bird-ranking chart, Lanham says it would be “9.5 out of 10 on the want-list for most birders”. 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. 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. This global team, united by birds, found an astounding […] The couple decided to leave sultanas in different spots in … Q: As a conservation biologist who focuses on canids, how would you like to use your skills to further the initiative? 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. 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. 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. 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. Boyd was a Scottish colonist who wanted cheap labourers to work at his large … 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. 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. They are very clever, highly social and emotionally connected with one another.

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