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Bird Persecution
More Hooked Birds at Muang Boran Fishponds

On 24th May a visit was made to Muang Boran Fishponds where, unfortunately, more dead and dying birds were found suspended from hooks and caught in mist nets.

Most corpses were too decayed to identify but an apparent Striated Grassbird and a Pied Fantail were found dead in one net. Worse still, a Little Grebe was seen struggling, caught on a suspended hook and a Greater Painted Snipe was also severley injured in this way.

For more information and photos click here: Birds Dying and Dead at Muang Boran Fishponds

Nick Upton, 25th May 2008

Mist Nets at Tung Bang Jak
Tung Bang Jak is an area of rice paddies and reedy areas where a large number of open-country and wetland birds can be found. In the early morning, in particular, the numbers of birds that birders can find is quite impressive. Unfortunately, it now seems that bird catchers are equally impressed by the numbers of birds present as on 19th April 2008, Ashley Banwell and I found a single mist net strung up next to the road, adjacent to an area of rice paddies where numerous birds were feeding.

Mist Net at Tung Bang Jak
(Photo by Nick Upton)

Unfortunately, this practice is rather too commonly encountered whilst birdwatching in Thailand. Birds are captured either for the cage bird trade, for food or for selling at temples where releasing caged birds (usually Munias) is considered "merit making".

Nick Upton, 1st May 2008

Bird Corpses at Muang Boran Fishponds

The number of birds dying in nets and on the end of hooks at Muang Boran Fishponds seems to have increased, with Yellow and Cinnamon Bitterns appearing to suffer in particular from these hazards.

It does not appear that these birds are being trapped for food as the corpses are allowed to decay where they were caught, instead it seems that these measures are designed to protect fish stocks.

For more information and photos click here: Large numbers of dead birds at Muang Boran Fishponds.

Nick Upton, 8th March 2008

Bird Trapping at Chiang Dao Paddies

Although the paddie fields and other agricultural areas close to Chiang Dao are an excellent place to find birds, particularly Grey-headed Lapwing, Wire-tailed Swallow and Oriental Skylark, it was disappointing to see that on both 30th January and 8th February 2008 a line of mist nets existing close to the small crossroads where Wire-tailed Swallows breed.

Whilst no bird corpses were observed in the nets (presumably they had been removed for eating) it was very upsetting to find a large number of feathers belonging to an owl, probably a Barn Owl, by the side of the road at the same location. The feathers were in a pile as if they were the result of plucking on site and had been discarded in a pile.

It is a shame that many places which are good for birdwatching seem to have been discovered by bird trappers as well.

Nick Upton, 27th February 2008

Massive Increase in Bird Trapping at Chiang Saen

A huge increase in the practice of mist netting and other kinds of bird trapping have resulted in at least 300 Snipe corpses for sale at Chiang Saen market, despite these practices being illegal.

Unfortunately this type of persecution remains all too common. For the full story click here: Mass Trapping of Birds at Chiang Saen.

Compiled by Nick Upton, 30th September 2007 from information supplied by Mick Davies.

Apparent increase of fishing methods potentially dangerous to birds at Chiang Saen Lake.

It has been noted that recently the use of long line nets, both in deep water and in shallow areas close to shore, seems to have increased at Nong Bong Khai (Chiang Saen Lake).

Previously, these long line nets were easily detected due to the plastic bottles that were used for buoyancy, however, recently these long line nets have been attached to poles and submerged - a worrying obstacle for diving ducks such as the increasingly uncommon Baer's Pochard.

It has also been noted that groups of people are visiting the lake for a few days and catching large amounts of fish in funnel traps, leaving large amounts of litter in the process. Whilst this is probably a lesser threat directly to bird safety (although rails have been known to become trapped in this type of contraption), it does potentially have a large impact on the overall ecology of the lake if fish stocks are greatly reduced by outsiders who do not rely upon them for part of their livelihood.

Anyone who discovers such activities that appear to be illegal should report them to the Non-hunting Area staff and should not attempt to intervene themselves. Reporting such activities to the Bird Conservation Society of Thailand would also be advisable so that they can monitor the scale of these problems.

Compiled by Nick Upton on 11th September 2007 from information kindly supplied by Mick Davies and Dowroong Damlamajak

More Shooting and Trapping at Muang Boran
Some shooting and two locals trapping White-breasted Waterhens were reported from Muang Boran Fishponds on the 15th January, to remind us that this area is just as good for bird eaters as it is for bird watchers.
Nick Upton, 3rd February 2007.
Mist Nets at Thai Muang Marsh, Phang-Nga
A mist net was reported to be in place at Thai Muang Marsh on the 13th November, with a Booted Eagle hunting precariously closely. It can only be a matter of time before this net becomes full of birds destined for the markets of nearby towns.
Nick Upton, 14th December 2006.
Persecution of Birds at Muang Boran

A recent report of four Black-capped Kingfishers seen caught in a mist net at Muang Boran Fishponds proves that bird persecution is still a problem there. I visited the site on many occasions from May 2000 to April 2004 and frequently saw birds caught on fish hooks suspended above fishponds. It seemed to me that these rows of hooks blowing around in the wind were placed for the specific purpose of catching birds as I only ever saw them on a few of the many ponds at the site and fish were usually collected by draining the ponds.

Over the four years the species I saw caught on these hooks included Common and White-vented Mynas, Asian Pied Starling, Yellow, Black and Cinnamon Bitterns, Black Drongo, Chinese and Javan Pond Herons, Pheasant-tailed Jacana and Common Moorhen. A certain amount of shooting takes place on site also and I have seen Lesser Whistling Duck and Little Cormorant being shot for food. A hunter who I regularly met whilst birding at Muang Boran told me how the flocks of Whistling Ducks used to be in the thousands, but now it is more common to see around 60-70 of this species.

Nick Upton 20th November 2006.
Persecution of Birds at Chiang Saen

Persecution of birds seems to be quite a problem in the Chiang Saen area with Mick Davies and Dowroong Damlamajak observing both mist-netting and shooting recently. With the Mekong bursting its banks for 6 days and flooding large areas to the east of Chiang Saen boats were used as shooting platforms. Fortunately, and rather surprisingly, the police responded and put a stop to this practice;

"We had to call the police to stop people shooting from a boat. I was impressed how quickly the police responded, just 20 minutes, and they were keen to observe some nearby Jerdon's Bushchats."

Mick Davies also commented on the almost total absence of Buntings in the area rating Crested Buntings as "rare" and excepting this species he'd only seen 2 other Buntings in over 1 year at Chiang Saen (although this does include the rainy season when Buntings would not be expected). The practice of mist-netting may contribute to this scarcity of Buntings and could easily affect other small migratory birds.

"Sadly as I expected the area is infested with mist nets and with the arrival of wintering birds this doesn't look good."

Small birds that are sometimes found deep fried in markets across Thailand are likely to include Buntings and it is also likely that many of these trapped birds end up on boats going back upriver towards China either to be eaten or for the cage bird trade.

Compiled by Nick Upton on 17/10/06 from information kindly supplied by Mick Davies and Dowroong Damlamajak.
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Related Pages: Abuse of Wildlife for Tourists , Birds for sale at Chatuchak, Massive Increase in Bird Trapping at Chiang Saen , Large numbers of Dead Birds at Muang Boran Fishponds , Birds Dying and Dead at Muang Boran Fishponds newsletter -
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