The Bonin Islands provide breeding habitat for many species of seabird, but detailed information on breeding sites is unavailable. Here, we describe the recent species composition of breeding seabirds on 66 islands. A total of 15 species (Diomedea immutabilis, D. nigripes, Pterodroma hypoleuca, Bulweria bulwerii, Puffinus pacificus, Oceanodroma tristrami, O. matsudairae, Phaethon rubricauda, Sula leucogaster, S. dactylatra, S. sula, Thalasseus bergii, Sterna fuscata, Anous stolidus and A. minutus) was recorded breeding in the Bonin Islands based on field and literature surveys. The sole nesting record of S. sula was on a small island near Haha-jima, where it has failed to breed since a typhoon struck the island. We did not detect Puffinus lherminieri bannermani, although it bred on Kitaiwo-jima before World War II. S. leucogaster was the most widespread species and bred on 39 islands. The second most widespread species was P. pacificus, which bred on 35 islands. There was a positive relationship between species richness and island area. The distribution of breeding sites may be affected by human settlement and introduced species such as feral goats Capra aegagrus. Introduced animals should be controlled to protect the seabird fauna on the islands.
Between April and June 1997, the hunting behavior of a Grey-faced Buzzard-eagle (Butastur indicus) pair was examined among three types of hunting ground in a satochi-satoyama (traditional Japanese rural landscape) area, Ibaraki Prefecture, central Japan. The proportion of time spent perching, and the frequency of perching and hunting per observation time in cultivated paddy fields were significantly greater than those in mixed paddy fields (both cultivated and uncultivated) and other areas (grassland, lawn grass fields, and park). Their food habits were also examined. Frogs were main prey item at 40.9% (N=18), followed by snakes (15.9%, N=7) and lizards (11.4%, N=5). Other prey items included freshwater crayfish (9.1%, N=4), grasshoppers (6.8%, N=3) and loaches (4.5%, N=2), which all inhabit paddy fields and the neighboring areas. Therefore, it appears that the presence of cultivated paddy fields is important for the conservation of Grey-faced Buzzard-eagles in a satochi-satoyama environment.
A Semipalmated Plover Charadrius semipalmatus was observed in Aisai City, Aichi Prefecture, on 17th and 28th November and 5th December, 2006. The obvious webbing between all front toes clearly distinguished it from the most similar species, the Ringed Plover C. hiaticula. Other features possessed by this individual that are more commonly present in the Semipalmated Plover than the Ringed Plover were: a narrow yellow orbital ring; a short, thick-based bill; at the base of the bill, the border between the dark coloration and white coloration below the eye reached above the gape of the bill. This is the first known record of the Semipalmated Plover in Japan.
We found a pair of Ospreys Pandion haliaetus nesting near to a site of road construction. We attempted to induce them to use an artificial nest away from the construction site so that they can breed safely. In 2004, an artificial nest made of many branches was placed on the top of each of three red pines, Pinus densiflora, located near to the natural nest of the pair. In 2005, the pair utilized one of these artificial nests, which was located 175 m from the natural nest. Our attempt to induce the pair to a safer location succeeded. The conservation by installing an artificial nest can be effective.
In 2006 at Nobeyama plateau, Nagano Prefecture, central Japan, the death of most broods of the Bull-headed Shrike Lanius bucephalus occurred during a period consecutive rainfall. The rain lasted two and a half days from early morning on 17 July to noon on 19 July. Ten occupied nests were found before the rainfall, nine of which contained nestlings. In six nests containing only shrike nestlings, complete brood mortality was noted. However, in one nest with four shrike nestlings and in two nests with a cuckoo nestling the nestlings survived. The failed nests had two to six nestlings of three to eleven days old. Another four surviving nests had four shrike nestlings of three days old, one cuckoo nestling of 14 days old, one cuckoo nestling of about 15 days old, and five eggs, respectively. Of five eggs in the surviving nest, four eggs had hatched on 22 July, but one egg failed to hatch.
In the Yamashina Institute for Ornithology, we have begun discussion on developing a system that supports our loan activity. In order to learn about loan activities and collection management systems, we visited three natural history museums in the United States: the Museum of Texas Tech University, Denver Museum of Nature & Science, and the University of Colorado Museum of Natural History. The loan procedures generally consist of loan requests and applications from researchers, review and approval by curators, loan contracts between institutions, and transportation of specimens. Specimens on loan are wrapped with acid-free paper and packaged carefully to prevent breakage during transit. In case of specimens preserved in ethanol, they must be transported in compliance with laws governing hazardous substances. Tissue samples are preserved frozen with or without ethanol. Frozen tissues for loans are prepared with great attention to maintaining them at a low temperature during the whole process. Tissue samples are also preserved in lysis buffer, which makes it possible to keep samples at a room temperature. Skeletal specimens are usually cleaned with the aid of dermestid beetles, which potentially can turn into harmful pests. Collection managers monitor collection facilities using insect traps and inspecting visually each collection case on a frequent basis, rather than restricting visitor access to collections as has been implemented at the Yamashina Institute. Live pests are exterminated by freezing instead of fumigations. In museums of the United States, specialization of museum personnel into curators, collection managers and registrars seems to function efficiently, due to a definite role each staff member plays in a museum. Museum professionals have taken advantage of formal school education with a degree in the field of museum studies, which also contributes to a high level of museum management.