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Meet me at the fair…

The British Birdwatching Fair 2001, is to take place at the usual venue – Egleton Reserve, Rutland Water – between 17th & 19th August and arrangements are now well in hand. (You may spot the Fatbirder there!) Money raised will go to… "Eastern Cuba: Saving a Unique Caribbean Wilderness" The BBF website carries details…

British Birdwatching FairSAVING HUMMINGBIRDS THIS YEAR?S FAIR IS TO HELP THE WORLD?S SMALLEST BIRD IN CUBAThe BBWF organisers also announced that the 2001 Fair will raise funds for an exciting new project in a unique Caribbean wilderness in eastern Cuba that will help to protect the world?s smallest bird, the Bee Hummingbird [4]. The bird with the largest wingspan in the world, the Wandering Albatross, weighs in at 11kg that is 5,500 times heavier than the Bee Hummingbird, which weighs in at only 2 grams.Cuba is perhaps best known for its flamboyant music and political figures Che Guevara and Fidel Castro, but it is also the most important island for biodiversity in the Caribbean. Cuba is home to 350 species of bird including 25 which are endemic.Cuba has approximately 15-18% of its forest cover left due to agricultural expansion, logging and mining. As a result, 15 species of Cuban birds are globally threatened including Cuban Kite (CR), Zapata Rail (EN), Blue-headed Quail-dove (EN) and Giant Kingbird (EN).Poorly known in terms of their birds, these areas have until now been relatively untouched by the expanding human population. These forests and wetlands may be the last strongholds for up to 13 of the globally threatened birds. However, they are now under threat from increasing commercial acitivities.The 2001 British BirdWatching Fair will support a BirdLife International Programme that aims to improve the existing protected areas network in eastern Cuba and secure their long-term conservation, and help catalyse national and regional Important Bird Area (IBA) programmes as previous BBWF-funded projects have done in Brazil and Vietnam.With the resources, training and information provided by this project, effective site-conservation management plans will be developed. Cuba’'s leading ornithologists believe that the areas under threat in Holgu?n, Granma and Guant?namo provinces may contain reservoirs of some of Cuba’'s rarest birds, possibly including the Ivory-billed Woodpecker ? a species presumed extinct but for which there is now possible evidence that it may still be holding on in eastern Cuba ? and an as yet undescribed Siphonorhis pauraque or nightjar.For further information please contact Michael Szabo at the BirdLife International Secretariat on 01223 277318 or 07779 018332 (mobile), or Martin Davies on 01767 680551. You can also visit the British Birdwatching Fair website at www.birdfair.org.uk and the BirdLife International website at www.birdlife.orgSo, if you are coming to the Fair look out for the Fatbirder staffing the Disabled Birders Association stand 33 in Marquee M5!

4th July 2014