In East Africa: Empty Skies
March 11, 2013
Steve Zack, WCS's Bird Coordinator, wrote:
I am back in East Africa for the first extended time since completing my graduate research 30 years ago. It's a hugely exciting time to be working with our staff in shaping larger conservation efforts with vultures, flamingos, and African Grey Parrots. Between office and field visits, I witnessed for the first time the most dinosaurian of all living birds: the improbable Shoebill stork.
In my first years in Kenya, it was pointed out how you couldn't look up in the sky and not see birds of prey. I scanned the skies often in those days, never failing to verify that observation. There were augur buzzards, Bateleurs, African fishing eagles, etc., and lots of vultures of several species. Tropical America may have the most species of birds, but savannah East Africa has the most conspicuous diversity of birds in the world. The skies held part of that diversity, yet it is there that I observe the greatest change in the decades since I was last here.