Updated 31 October: The Tenerife Cabildo’s Wildlife Centre says that the next few nights are those in which the Cory’s Shearwaters are at greatest risk in the night from being dazzled, and therefore these are the nights that the authorities most ask the public just to switch off any lights that might distract the birds. In particular, the public is asked to switch off whatever outside lights they can. So far, this year, some 500 birds have been rescued and it’s from tomorrow through the weekend that the birds are expected to be flying most actively during the night. There are details below on what to do if you find one on the ground because they can’t take off once they land, they can only launch themselves from heights.
Original post 2 October: 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.
Each 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 El Centro de Fauna Silvestre del Área de Medio Natural prevé que la mayor actividad nocturna de estas aves será los días 1, 2 y 3 de noviembre, por lo que solicita a la población apagar las luces exterioresare 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, even emergency services on 112 – as the poster shows (click to see full size).