written about the shocking level of bird deaths at Muang
Boran Fishponds in March a visit was made on the morning of
24th May 2008 to see what the current situation was. Whilst there
seemed to be fewer corpses than previously, this probably had a
lot to do with the fact that there are now fewer birds present due
to large numbers of migrants having departed.
there was no evidence that the number of hooks
strung out to catch birds had decreased and indeed one local
man said that the people tending the fishponds had resorted to these
measures because of the large volume of fish that had been lost
to birds; he named Black-crowned Night Heron, Little Cormorant,
Indian Cormorant, Egrets, Pond Herons, Bitterns and Herons as the
species that locals regard as particularly problematic.
It was interesting
to note that one pond, which was one of just a few that employed
the suspended hook method back in 2003-4, was now being protected
by hundreds of lines of fishing line stretched out across the pond
at a height of about 2 metres, with no hooks used. This did seem
to deter the large waterbirds but the pond was still being used
by Pheasant-tailed Jacana, Bronze-winged Jacana, Common Moorhen,
Watercock, Little Grebe and White-browed Crake.
For now though
the situation is still bad and on 24th May not only corpses were
found but 2 live birds were seen struggling, caught by the wing,
on hooks. One, a Little Grebe, was suspended by the left wing and
swimming around desperately, calling in distress. The bird was far
away in deep water so I was unable to help it, however, locals clearing
reeds came over when called and put the bird out of its misery.
Even more upsetting
was a female Greater Painted Snipe hanging by it right wing, again
caught by a hook. As the pool had been drained I was able to wade
out a little way to the bird but without a knife I was unable to
break the line - I had to resort to chewing through the nylon line
to get the bird down. With the bird in the hand I was unable to
get the hook out of its flesh due to the barb so again I chewed
through the line close to the hook. Unfortunately as I bit through
the cord, the bird escaped my clutches and ran away into the reeds.
I guess at least it was able to die in peace instead of hanging
in the hot sun.
although less prevalent than suspended hooks, continue to claim
victims at Muang Boran Fishponds and two of the photos below show
a couple of sad deaths. It is also frustrating to see that a large
proportion of the birds dying by these methods are of no concern
to the fish rearing process.
would ask other birdwatchers visiting Muang Boran Fishponds to note
numbers of dead birds, noting species where possible, and forward
it for publication here and to the Bird
Conservation Society of Thailand and they can decide to take
action, if any. The practice of suspending hooks to deter birds
is used elsewhere too and any reports of other locations where this
is seen would be useful.
was also heard on the 24th May and it seemed that this was being
used as a bird scaring measure rather than for hunting - it certainly
had the effect of clearing one pond of 148 Cattle Egrets.