800 seabirds saved

93 volunteers active in Madeira

seabird saved

Over the last month, conservationists and volunteers travelled the islands of Madeira, the Azores and the Canary Islands, saving 800 seabirds that fell to the ground due to artificial lighting according to a report in JM.

The teams, led by the Portuguese Society for the Study of Birds (SPEA) and the Spanish Society of Ornithology (SEO BirdLife), as part of the LIFE Natura@night project, funded by the European Union, involve hundreds of volunteers to help ensure that the Juvenile birds succeed in their first trip to the sea.

Seabird rescue campaign in Madeira

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This autumn, seabird rescue campaigns in Madeira saved 123 birds, thanks to the joint effort of 93 volunteers.

In the Azores, more than 300 volunteers saved 119 birds in Graciosa, 154 in Corvo and 357 in São Miguel, while in the Canaries 31 volunteers helped more than 130 birds reach the sea in Tenerife. Numbers of only 5 islands, out of a total of 20 that form the three archipelagos. This is just the tip of the iceberg of a threat that increasingly concerns conservationists: light pollution.

In these three archipelagos alone, it is estimated that 1,100 seabirds die every year due to light pollution – an especially serious problem given that these are breeding grounds for these species that belong to the most threatened group of birds in the world.

Call for volunteers

For birds like shearwaters, autumn is the time for juveniles to leave the nest and head to sea. For technicians from the Portuguese Society for the Study of Birds (SPEA), it’s time to hit the road to rescue them – but they need help. To help hundreds of birds reach the sea safely, SPEA calls on Madeirans to participate in the Save a Sea Bird Campaign. The campaign runs from October 15th to November 15th.

The figure of 1100 seabirds dying in Macaronesia due to light pollution is particularly relevant considering that seabirds are one of the most threatened animal groups in the world. At this time of year, and because they are not very experienced, these birds are often attracted to lights, becoming dazzled and often ending up colliding with buildings, power lines and vehicles. They remain lying on the ground, unable to take off, and are therefore more susceptible to dangers such as predators or cars. Volunteers will patrol the streets of Madeira and rescue these emblematic birds that are particularly affected during new moon nights.

To volunteer in the Save a Seabird Campaign, simply sign up using the form available on the SPEA website.

“If you cannot volunteer, you can still help save birds by turning off or reducing outdoor lighting, especially between October 15th and November 15th, thus preventing these animals from falling into our cities”, says Elisa Teixeira.

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