SOS Salamanca Harriers Spain
The local Salamanca SEO Birdlife group is working flat out against the clock to try and save as many harrier chicks as possible - both Hen and Montagu's - from the blades of the combine harvesters. Around 50 nests have now been located in wheat and barley fields, and the farmers have been asked to leave unharvested a 5 x 5m circle around the nests so the chicks can fledge. Wire fences are being put up around the nests so that the chicks are safe from predators once the surrounding crops are harvested. Farmers are paid 20€ per nest and given a campaign tee-shirt.
Unhatched eggs are removed and taken to incubators as the mothers will abandon an exposed nest. A hatching area is also being set up so they can be reared and subsequently released.
All this is done by less than 20 volunteers spending hours in the field at temperatures this week around 38ºC.
This year an exceptionally high number of harrier nests have been located, many of them being Montagu’s, and the winter and spring drought in the region have meant poor crop growth and an early harvest, making it all the more urgent to get out there and protect the chicks.
A crowdfunding campaign has been set up to cover costs for materials, incubators, fuel, farmers' fees and food for chicks. The campaign is due to end in 8 days. You can support the Harrier project by following this link and sponsoring a chick, buying a tee-shirt etc.
And spreading the word!
Vega Bermejo - Birding in Spain's Wild West
16th June 2017