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Britain’s migratory birds ‘may stop flying south for winter’

migratory birds

Britain’s migratory birds ‘may stop flying south for winter’

Migratory birds including the willow warbler, the garden warbler and the nightingale may eventually stop flying south for the winter as they spend longer in their European breeding grounds.

Analysis of more than 50 years of bird records from the Gambia and Gibraltar has found that some migratory species that cross the Sahara are spending between 50 and 60 fewer days on average in Africa each winter.

The study, published in the journal Global Change Biology, examined changes in arrival and departure dates in the Gambia and Gibraltar alongside changes in climate and vegetation.

While it was previously thought that birds timed their seasonal migration based on daylight hours, the analysis suggests that birds are making more nuanced decisions based on available vegetation and climatic changes.

Records from 1964 to 2019 analysed by scientists at Durham University found that species were arriving at their winter destinations later in the autumn than in the past and also departing these locations earlier in the spring, reducing the amount of time spent in their winter homes.

Over a 27-year period, migratory birds including reed warblers, northern wheatears and common whitethroats were found to increase their time in Europe by 16 days on average.

Lead author Kieran Lawrence at Durham said: “If the trends we have seen in this study continue, we may see that, in time, some birds will spend no time at all in sub-Saharan Africa, and instead spend the full year within Europe.”

Many of these small migratory birds are suffering significant declines in their British populations, with nightingales in danger of extinction and England’s breeding willow warblers down by 45% in the past 24 years. But populations of chiffchaff, a short-distance migrant that mostly overwinters in Europe or north Africa, have increased by 114% over the same period.

While a reduction in migration could help some species survive, Lawrence said there were wider potential implications in both Europe and Africa. “In Europe, the longer presence of traditionally migratory birds could lead to increased competition for autumn/winter food and resources for resident bird species that do not migrate,” he said.

“Meanwhile, in the traditional migration destinations of sub-Saharan Africa, a reduction in the time migratory birds spend there could have implications for ecosystem services such as insect consumption, seed dispersal and pollination.”

Global heating has already changed some patterns of short-distant migration to Britain, with many more blackcaps now spending winter in the country rather than moving to continental Europe. In Europe, the white stork has reduced its migration to Africa, with many birds wintering on the Iberian peninsula rather than moving farther south.

Co-author Clive Barlow, a bird expert from the Gambia, said: “It is very satisfying to see the constructive way the Gambian migrant bird records, collected by dedicated ornithologists over many decades, are now being used to highlight the changing migratory patterns of these species. Until the current research, no one had realised the extent to which migrant birds are spending less of the year in sub-Saharan Africa.”

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Environment

NiMet predicts thunderstorm, rain from Friday to Sunday

The Nigerian Meteorological Agency (NiMet) has predicted thunderstorms and rains from Friday to Sunday across the country.

NiMet’s weather outlook released on Thursday in Abuja envisaged morning thunderstorms on Friday  over parts of Kano State and Kaduna State.

It anticipated thunderstorms over parts of Bauchi State, Gombe State, Zamfara, Sokoto State, Kaduna State, Adamawa and Taraba later in the day.

“In the North Central region, morning thunderstorms and rains are expected over parts of the Federal Capital Territory, Kogi, Benue, Niger and Nasarawa State.

”While later in the day, thunderstorms are anticipated over parts of the Federal Capital Territory, Plateau, Nasarawa, Niger, Kogi and Kwara.

“Morning rains are anticipated over parts of Oyo State, Ogun, Osun, Edo, Ondo State, Lagos State, Akwa Ibom, Cross River, Bayelsa, Rivers and Delta, while intermittent rains are anticipated over the entire Southern region later in the day,” it said.

According to NiMet, morning thunderstorms are anticipated over parts of Kebbi, Kaduna State and Zamfara on Sunday while afternoon and evening thunderstorms are anticipated over parts of Gombe State, Kaduna State and Bauchi State.

The agency forecast thunderstorm and rains over parts of the Federal Capital Territory, Plateau, Nasarawa State and Niger during the morning hours.

NiMet predicted thunderstorms and rains over parts of the Federal Capital Territory, Plateau, Nasarawa State and Benue later in the day.

The agency envisaged morning rains over parts of Ondo State, Ogun, Edo and Lagos State.

It predicted intermittent rains over parts of Osun, Oyo State, Ogun, Ondo State, Lagos State, Delta, Edo, Rivers, Bayelsa, Akwa Ibom and Cross River later in the day.

According to NiMet, morning thunderstorms are anticipated over parts of Jigawa, Kebbi, Kaduna, Adamawa, Taraba, Gombe State and Bauchi State later in the day on Sunday.

The agency anticipated thunderstorms  over parts of Katsina State, Zamfara, Sokoto State and Kebbi.

“In the North Central region, rains are expected over parts of the Federal Capital Territory, Nasarawa State, Plateau and Niger during the morning hours.

“Partly cloudy conditions are also expected over the region during the afternoon/evening hours.

“Morning rains are anticipated over parts of Edo and Lagos State, while in the afternoon/evening hours, intermittent rains are anticipated over parts of Ondo State, Ekiti and Osun” it said.

The agency urged the public to take adequate precaution as strong winds may precede the rains in areas where thunderstorms are likely to occur.

NiMet advised Airline operators to get updated weather reports and forecasts from NiMet for effective planning in their operations.

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Environment

Lagos to reintroduce monthly environmental sanitation

The Lagos State Governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu, has approved the reintroduction of monthly environmental sanitation in the state.

The state Commissioner for Environment and Water Resources, Tokunbo Wahab, who disclosed this to newsmen said the State Executive Council granted the approval. He said the sanitation which would commence in July, would be officially announced by the governor soon.

“Lagos governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu, and the state executive council have approved the re-introduction of the monthly sanitation. The governor will announce it officially for the exercise to commence this month,” Wahab, who spoke in Yoruba language, said in a 21-second clip shared on the Lagos State Environmental Update page on X.

The state government stopped the monthly environmental sanitation exercise in the state in 2016.

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Environment

NEMA activates states’ emergency centres on flood assessment

The Director General National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA), Zubaida Umar has activated all Zonal, Territorial and Operation offices of the agency nationwide, to work with the States’ Emergency Management Agencies (SEMAs) within their area of responsibilities, to carry out rescue operations and conduct assessment of the situation.

The move is in furtherance of its proactive flood risk management.

A statement from the agency on Sunday, said the NEMA Zonal, Territorial and Operation offices are located in Lagos, Ibadan, Ekiti, Abuja, Minna, Jos, Enugu, Owerri, Port Harcourt, Edo, Uyo, Kano, Sokoto, Kaduna, Maiduguri, Yola and Gombe.

At the headquarters, NEMA said it also operates a toll-free emergency contact line: 0800CALLNEMA (080022556362) in addition to all its social media platforms, through which feedback from members of the public can be received nationwide.

Consequently, NEMA said search and rescue officers have been deployed across the states, and have been providing the much-desired support in coordination of rescue operations with SEMAs and other stakeholders in recently flooded areas and communities.

The agency also said it is conducting a rapid assessment to determine any further assistance that may be required in the impacted communities.

It said, “The rescue efforts by NEMA are in addition to the ongoing sensitization and awareness activities being carried out to alert the public of the predicted flood for necessary actions to be taken to avert negative impacts.”

On Wednesday, 3rd July, Umar was in Anambra State on flood advocacy where she discussed with the Deputy Governor who represented the Governor, and religious and community leaders, on measures to avert and mitigate floods in the state which often record severe flooding annually. She has also previously visited several states and stakeholders across the country on the same mission with plans to continue with the advocacy.

It said, “As part of its pre-rainy season flood prevention advocacy, the Agency engaged the media in the placement of flood sensitisation jingles, and held an emergency coordination forum with critical stakeholders to prepare them for the predicted disaster.

The agency also said that soon after the flood prediction, written all state governments with the list of local governments that are at risk and outlined actions required to be taken to avert or mitigate the disaster.

It said, “A number of states that heeded the advisory from NEMA have acknowledged their early actions matched with the warnings and NEMA responses that have made lots of differences.

NEMA reemphasize the flood warning while calling on all stakeholders including the state and the local government, to be prepared for the intensifying of the rain season.

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