Where have all the birds gone? – Peter Alden

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The Costa Blanca Bird Club have been hosting monthly day-trips around local venues since its formation in 2005. During trips in recent years, more and more members are commenting on the reduction in bird numbers on sites that are regularly visited. The following extract of a Yahoo News item may explain a part of the reason.


…..”Millions of birds are being vacuumed up and killed during nocturnal suction olive harvesting in Spain and Portugal. In Spain, 2.6 million birds die every year from being vacuumed, and in Portugal, 96,000 birds die per year. Birds from northern Europe winter in these countries, and are at risk while roosting at night, according to BirdGuides. The noise and light of the machines dazzle the birds, which are sucked into suction olive harvesting machines and killed. Olives are vacuumed at night when it’s cool, to preserve their flavour. Some local governments have already stopped the practice, but countries such as Italy and Portugal have not taken action
Domingos Leitão of the Portuguese Society for the Study of Birds (SPEA), said: ‘They should not be subject to disturbance in the rest period.
‘If the birds in one row of olive trees are frightened, they fly to another; the Birds Directive says that they should not be disturbed during the rest period.’…….”