06/01/2022 at 09:02 CET
The Montagu’s harrier, the gray shrike and the reddish alzacola, three species associated with agricultural environments and which show an alarming demographic decline in Spain, are the three candidates to be the bird of the year 2022, a distinction awarded by SEO / BirdLife since 1988, accompanied by a communication and conservation campaign. Voting is open to the public until the 13th of this month, at 11:00 a.m., at https://seo.org/eleccion-ave-2022/.
The three chosen species were included in the Red Book of the Birds of Spain due to the risk of extinction, population decline and the conservation threats that threaten them. Specifically, the Montagu’s harrier has been listed as’Vulnerable‘according to IUCN categories, and reddish tail and common shrike as species’In danger‘.
In all three cases the large population decline is mainly due to the loss of natural features in the agricultural landscape, the widespread use of pesticides and earlier harvests. SEO / BirdLife is organizing the Bird of the Year campaign with the aim of drawing attention to the delicate situation of certain Spanish bird species.
With this action, the NGO is focusing on a species that requires special attention for its poor state of conservation or because it symbolizes the urgent need to protect habitats who host it to demand conservation measures from administrations and institutions.
So far, 31 species have been chosen as Bird of the Year.Last year, the common swift was chosen. In previous editions, the birds of the year were the common quail (2020), the plover (2019), the barn owl (2018), the small bustard (2017), the common sparrow (2016) and the European turtledove (2015).
Unprecedented ecological crisis
“It’s a responsibility to give society a voice because that’s what drives us to work for a more sustainable and healthier world,” says Asunción Ruiz, executive director of SEO / BirdLife.
“We are at a crucial time to stop the ecological crisis that we are facing. The birds give us clear red flags on the main environmental issues we face, protecting them we take care of ourselves, ‘adds Ruiz.
“It is only possible to stop biodiversity loss and climate change if we protect our greatest asset, nature.. It is only by protecting our natural heritage that we can guarantee a healthy and quality future, ‘says SEO / BirdLife leader.
“That we see fewer sparrows, fewer swallows or fewer swifts is not anecdotal but a clear and powerful warning signal that we are facing an unprecedented ecological crisis. that this should force us to rethink our relationship with nature, ”explained Asunción Ruiz after the last bird of the year election.
It turns out that most of the birds distinguished by SEO / BirdLife are common species. The explanation, as revealed by data from the SEO / BirdLife Spring Common Bird Tracking Program, is that these birds suffered a huge dropover the past decades.
The three candidates
-The Montagu’s Harrier (Circus pygargus) can make you understand the uniqueness and ecological value of cereal environments where he lives. According to SEO / BirdLife, few birds of prey are as closely linked to human activities as this one, which in Spain depends heavily on large areas cultivated with cereals.
“Thanks to this species, it will be possible to sensitize society, politicians and farmers to seek common solutions that avoid the destruction of nests during harvest season and the maintenance of farming systems that are more respectful of the good state of biodiversity & rdquor ;, specifies the NGO.
-The Common shrike (Lanius senator) is a migratory species mainly distributed throughout the Mediterranean rim, closely related to holm oaks, meadows, holm oaks, arboreal, irrigated and dry crops, open pine forests, scrub with scattered trees, etc.
The boundaries between different lands are essential both as nesting sites and as prey capture sites. It is one of the four species of shrike found in Spain that feeds mainly on insects. “The disappearance of the two elements, boundaries, hedges and insects, may be associated with their decline& rdquor ;, SEO / BirdLife note.
-The reddish tail (Cercortichas galactotes) is a species closely related to the traditional vineyard and to a lesser extent to the traditional olive grove. It is found in Andalusia, Extremadura, Murcia and Alicante. It is a migratory bird which in Spain it appears only during the breeding season, preferably in woody crops, in areas with a dry and hot climate.
“Thanks to this species, it will be possible to disseminate and make known the importance of these traditional woody crops, the need to stop its decline and its potential for conservation and restoration of biodiversity, as demonstrated by the work carried out in (the LIFE program) Olivares Vivos & rdquor;, concludes the NGO.
History of the Birds of the Year from 1988 to 2014: https://seo.org/2014/10/21/la-historia-de-las-aves-del-ano-desde-1988/