The annual campaign to rescue Corey's Shearwater hatchlings begins on October 23, 2023. In the Canary Islands, this seabird is better known as Pardela Cenicienta (and for ornithologists: Calonectris Borealis).
These birds are primarily recognized by their plaintive cry. Here's a short audio recording:
Why a campaign?
The Pardela Cenicienta breeds in colonies on cliffs along the coast, with nesting usually starting around March. After about 2 months of incubation, carried out by both the male and female, the hatchlings are born. They can remain in the nest for up to 3 months. When the hatchlings are nearly fully grown, the parents leave the nest. This means the hatchlings, entirely unprepared, must leave their familiar abode. After all, they need to find food. And that's where the problem begins.
Instinctively, the fully grown hatchlings jump from the cliff and spread their wings for the first time. Typically, they navigate using the light of the stars or the moon toward the open sea."
However, light pollution disrupts this process. Due to urban development and coastal lighting, the hatchlings become blinded and disoriented. Instead of flying towards the open sea, they awkwardly flutter straight towards the coast, often with disastrous consequences. They collide with walls, lampposts, or power lines, crash dazedly, and become prey for predators. Or they end up on the roads, where they get hit by cars. This issue is at the heart of the campaign.
Moreover, the Pardela Cenicienta is a protected seabird, listed in the Red List of vulnerable species. The fledgling hatchlings now have the body of an adult pardela. With a length of 45-56 cm and a wingspan of approximately 120-125 cm, we are indeed talking about a rather large bird with a very sharp beak.
What does the campaign entail?
The Centro de Recuperación de Fauna Silvestre La Tahonilla (Wildlife Recovery Centre “La Tahonilla”, located in La Laguna) coordinates the initiative organized by the Cabildo to reintroduce or care for the hatchlings if they have been injured during a crash landing.
Apart from a large number of volunteers who go out to rescue the hatchlings, there is also an appeal for civilian participation. Afterall, it might happen that you find one of these large birds in your garden one day (I experienced this myself; the beautiful specimen in the photo in this blog spent a day on our terrace).
How can we help?
Fortunately, many of the hatchlings survive the unplanned descent. But what should you do if you find one? It is recommended to proceed as follows:
- Cover the bird with a piece of clothing or cloth to prevent it from biting when it's scared. Once captured, it should be kept in a dark box, preferably made of cardboard, with holes for breathing. I didn't have a cardboard box at home, so I placed the bird very carefully (wearing thick gloves) in a large shopping bag to transport it safely. On my terrace, I released it again, waiting for the animal protection services. However, they were overloaded at that moment, so I took the pardela to the local police myself.
- You can call different numbers:
- 900 282 228: the number for the Centro de Recuperación de Fauna Silvestre (Wildlife Recovery Center).
- 112: the alarmnumber; they will record the details and pass them on to animal protection
- Policía Local: the number varies by municipality. It's best to type Policía Local into Google, followed by the name of the municipality where you found the pardela.
- Since there are many reports and a limited number of volunteers, it can sometimes take up to a day before they come to pick up the hatchling. It's important to keep the hatchling in the meantime in a place with good air circulation and enough shade. And equally important: do not provide food, water, or medication!
If you're on vacation in Tenerife and come across a stranded pardela, you now know it's not a sick bird. You can make the difference in whether this helpless creature survives or not, so I hope I can count on your assistance.
Alternatively, you can inform the hotel staff or a lifeguard. They will take the necessary steps to notify the authorities.
And what happens to the hatchling afterward?
After examination, the hatchlings are released. This takes place at a high point on the cliffs, allowing the birds to spread their wings and soar on the wind. Once in the air, they manage to fly away.
So much for exciting news from Tenerife. Don't forget to subscribe to the Newsletter, stay healthy, and...