August 22, 2009
Birdwatchers asked to look for rare birds
British organizations that seek to protect birds say they have begun a $414,000 effort to save endangered species.
The Royal Society for the Protection of Birds and Bird Life International will pay for scientific expeditions to wherever endangered species are seen, whether in jungles or on remote islands, The London Telegraph reported.The money will also go toward conservation of birds' habitats.
The groups asked British birdwatchers to be on the lookout for endangered species at home and abroad.
Only one of the species on the Royal Society's list of endangered birds is native to Europe, the slender-billed curlew. Many are native to North America, including the ivory-billed woodpecker, rarely seen in recent decades, though there have been reports of sightings in the South.
Birdwatchers are asked to bring back a photograph or a feather, but ornithologists will accept the report of a sighting from an experienced birdwatcher.
The Royal Society says it started the program because many species that were once declared extinct are eventually rediscovered. Since 1600, about 133 species of bird have gone extinct, the society says.