Thursday, October 24, 2013

Cory's Shearwater awareness days

Calonectris diomedea borealis. Image: Wikipedia (click for more)
The local administration of Valle Gran Rey on La Gomera is organising an awareness campaign to draw attention to one of the Canary Islands' most emblematic birds, Cory's shearwater, subspecies Calonectris diomedea borealis. Thousands of the seabirds nest in the cliffs towering over the town and at night their loud and very distinct cries puzzle visitors who've never heard them before. The echoes of their cries are used by the birds to locate their nests when they come in from the sea to feed the young who respond with fainter cries. Cory's shearwater, called Pardelas in the Canaries, spend most of their lives far out at sea feeding on small fish and molluscs and they travel huge distances. They are excellent divers but they only come ashore to breed and mostly at night. Modern street lights and other strong artificial light confuse their navigation and often cause them to crash into obstacles. The awareness campaign begins today with a talk in the town hall at 1pm for staff and all interested members of the public. Further talks will be given at colleges, etc. and there will be workshops. If you happen to encounter a crashed or injured bird you should simply call 112 (ask for an Engish-speaking operator) and give its location. If the bird is on the ground, stay nearby to chase away any marauding cats, but stay a safe distance away from the bird which could give you a nasty wound with its powerful beak trying to defend itself in its confusion.

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