Annual help the pardela campaign – what to do if you find a fallen “wacka wacka bird”

We are most familiar with the Cory’s Shearwaters – the “wacka wacka birds” (see HERE) – in Spring, when their distinctive call is heard as they return south from their winter migration. It’s this time of the year, however, when this endangered species, called the Pardela here in the Canaries, is most at risk, and none are more in peril than the chicks making their first flights and becoming disoriented and, at night, being dazzled by the lights of buildings on the coast.

14681727_10208636243276659_124268125042803015_nEach year there is a campaign to help them, with environmentalists, police, and bomberos often making difficult rescues of birds who quite regularly get stuck in the wire netting used along roads and cliffs to prevent rockfall while trying to take shelter. Some are found more mundanely in balconies and terraces of apartments, or public gardens or walkways, always near the coast, and once they reach the ground they find it difficult to regain the air because being cliff nesting birds they need to launch themselves into flight from elevated points. Moreover, apart from being unable to fly off when they land on the ground, they also then run the extra risk posed by predators.

And so the public is once again requested to keep an eye out for the birds, and if anyone sees one, try to catch it by covering it with a light towel and put it in a cardboard box which has some air holes made in it. Then call the local police or take the bird to the nearest local police station – the local police themselves have made this request so it won’t be taken amiss. The police will then ensure that the birds are handed over to the Tenerife Cabildo’s wildlife rescue centre, La Tahonilla, based in La Laguna, to be checked over for injuries and released in a safe way to continue their winter’s journey north (see the video below).

Apart from the Local Police, the public can call the Guardia Civil on 062 and ask to be put through to Seprona, or the bomberos, who are the ones most frequently involved in rescuing the birds from roadside netting, or one of the phone numbers on the poster opposite, even emergency services on 112 – as the poster shows (click to see full size).



  1. hi are normal seagulls protected

  2. Author

    not that I’m aware of.

  3. Dear Janet
    Could I please ask you if it is illegal to catch wild parrots and cage them or sell them, the reason I ask this is I feed our local Los Gigantes Conures or some call them Parakeets on my balcony and have done so for over 10 years, you may have seen some posts on Facebook I love Los Gigantes they even have names .
    Every year August, September they have two chicks and as soon as they learn to fly and feed for themselves someone takes them ,,,I know there are preditors Eagles and Kestrels around but I cannot believe they can take the two babies at the same time for the last 5 years.
    We used to have 7 reduced to 5 and now 3 I know also they pair up and fly away to start families of there own but not when they are only out of the nest by weeks.
    I sent e mail to Loro Parque and the Police but never got a reply.
    Regards David Morgan

  4. Author

    yes it is illegal. The relevant police are the Seprona Unit of the Guardia Civil – call 062 (see HERE).

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