For another year running the Adeje council is contributing to the campaign for the conservation and protection of the Cory’s shearwater chicks that will be making their first flights sea-wards in the coming weeks according to the environment councillor Esther Rivero Vargas.
The campaign begins this week and runs until November 15th and the public as well as authorities can take a number of steps. The first is to minimise the impact of artificial light in the night sky as this can disorient the chicks and possible provoke a fall without any chance of finding their wings again. The most likely nights for first flights will be between October 29th and November 1st given the current lunar cycles. This initiative is undertaken in partnership with the Tenerife Cabildo, the centre for the recuperation of fauna, the 112 emergency services and the council boroughs where these birds are known to nest and live.
“We are asking for residents to collaborate with us in this campaign and let us know if they spot chicks that have obviously lost their way or fallen in flight by phoning 112 who will activate the volunteer personnel to collect the chicks”, explained the councillor. The centre for the recuperation of fauna will also take calls on 922 445777. The volunteer teams are easily identifiable and carry a card with Cabildo authorisation.
If you do need to report an incident, call 112 or 922 445777 and give exact information as to the location of the chick so that it can be easily found. You can call and report this in English too.
If you feel able to collect the bird yourself if there is a need to before the authorities arrive, you should wear gloves, cover the bird with a towel or piece of fabric without frightening the creature, place it in a box with breathing holes and leave it in a quiet place until the authorised personnel arrive. Never try to lock the wings in place along the bird’s back. Don’t feed the chick or give it anything to drink.
For another year the Adeje council through the department of the environment, are organising a ‘Nights without Lights for the Cory’s Shearwater’, promoted by the Tenerife.
The nights in question are November 2nd and 3rd, from 10pm to 1am, as these are the days where a large number of young birds are taking their first flight over the sea. The Cory’s Shearwater has actually been declared Bird of the Year 2013 by SEO/Bird Life, and is a bird that lives on the high seas only returning to dry land to breed. They build their nests in caves or cliff niches, with the chicks taking their first tentative flights at night at this time of year, particularly when there is a new moon. The reason we are being asked to reduce or eliminate night lights is that the young birds are easily disoriented and can fly off their path and crash.
This Nights without Lights is, according to councillor Esther Rivero Vargas, “a preservation and conservation campaign for this species which is resident in our borough, and we would ask for the co-operation of as many people as possible in reducing the intensity of the lights in the zones where these birds live and nest and fly, fundamentally in the parts of Adeje close to the cliffs and coasts, although a small number of the birds may also make their way in-land.”
The councillor says they have also prepared an information pack for hotels in the area asking for their co-operation, and are sure that the positive response will be as good as in previous years.
There is a protocol to follow if you find one of these young Cory’s Shearwaters lost or injured – call the Policía Local it its night time or the Protección Civil de Adeje if its daytime.. Alternatively you can contact the Centro de Recuperación de Fauna Silvestre, ‘La Tahonilla’, (922 445 777) which is Cabildo operated, and they have the personnel to treat any injured bird and release it back into wild when appropriate.
According to last year’s statistics, the Policía Local recovered 115 Cory’s Shearwaters in 2012, 221 in 2011 and 204 the year before that. While there is no mention of whether the campaign last year led to the reduction in the number of injured young birds, it would indicate that the campaign definitely has some affect.